Thursday, December 15, 2011

[self-perceived goodness]

From Miroslav Volf's book Exclusion and Embrace:
In a profound reading of the Gospels in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche underscored the connection between the self-perceived “goodness” of Jesus’ enemies and their pursuit of his death; crucifixion was a deed of “the good and just,” not of the wicked, as we might have thought. “The good and just” could not understand Jesus because their spirit was “imprisoned in their good conscience” and they crucified him because they construed as evil his rejection of their notions of good (Nietzsche 1969, 229: Westphal 1993, 262f.).

“The good and just,” insists Nietzsche, have to crucify the one who devises an alternative virtue because they already possess the knowledge of the good; they have to be hypocrites because, seeing themselves as good, they must impersonate the absence of evil. Like poisonous flies, “they sting” and they do so “in all innocence” (Nietzsche 1969, 204). Exclusion can be as much a sin of “a good conscience” as it is of “an evil heart.” And Nietzsche’s warning that “whatever harm the world-calumniators may do, the harm the good do is the most harmful harm” may not be entirely out of place (Nietzsche 1979, 100).
Volf, p. 61

n.b. calumniator means "someone who makes malicious or false statements or charges"

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