Nietzsche’s Jewish Problem demonstrates how this is so despite the apparent paradox of the philosopher’s well-documented opposition to the crude political anti-Semitism of the Germany of his day. As Holub explains, Nietzsche’s "anti-anti-Semitism" was motivated more by distaste for vulgar nationalism than by any objection to anti-Jewish prejudice.
A richly detailed account of a controversy that goes to the heart of Nietzsche’s reputation and reception, Nietzsche’s Jewish Problem will fascinate anyone interested in philosophy, intellectual history, or the history of anti-Semitism.
Holub begins his analysis with Nietzsche's views on education, nationhood, and the working-class movement, turns to questions of women and women's emancipation, colonialism, and Jews and Judaism, and looks at Nietzsche's dealings with evolutionary biology, cosmological theories, and the new "science" of eugenics. He shows how Nietzsche, although infrequently read during his lifetime, formulated his thought in an ongoing dialogue with the concerns of his contemporaries, and how his philosophy can be conceived as a contribution to the debates taking place in the nineteenth century. Throughout his examination, Holub finds that, against conventional wisdom, Nietzsche was only indirectly in conversation with the modern philosophical tradition from Descartes through German idealism, and that the books and individuals central to his development were more obscure writers, most of whom have long since been forgotten.
This book thus sheds light on Nietzsche's thought as enmeshed in a web of nineteenth-century discourses and offers new insights into his interactive method of engaging with the philosophical universe of his time.