Nietzsche (was Re: Gymnosophists etc.)

Birgit Kellner kellner at
Mon May 6 18:25:50 UTC 1996

At 16:11 1996-05-06 BST, Lars Martin Fosse wrote:

>RZ mentions Schopenhauer and Nietsche as classical examples of the
>influence of Indic philosophy on European philosophy. Could somebody give
>us a more detailed survey of exactly what this influence was. (Nietsche was
>an acquaintance of Andreas, the Iranianist, but my reading of "Also sprach
>Zarathushtra" (admittedly many years ago) did not impress on me the feeling
>that Nietsche was much influenced the real "Zarathushtrian" thing). So:
>which ideas did N. borrow from India? (I'll readily admit my ignorance of
>the history of ideas here!) 

Wilhelm Halbfass has a section on Nietzsche's alleged borrowing from Indic
traditions, Nietzsche's own comments on such traditions and what esp.
Buddhism 'did for Nietzsche'  in his "India and Europe",  pp. 125. Halbfass
also gives a number of references to other authors who have dealt with the
matter in more detail, and, not to forget, also deals with Schopenhauer,
Hegel, Schelling etc. 
>As for European antiquity, it quite correct that the Romans imitated the
>Greeks. But if you read Cicero, you will find that this was not a matter
>that was easily accepted by all Romans. Cicero comes across as a cultural
>prophet trying to blow some thinking into an intensely practical and
>anti-intellectual culture. This lack of intellectual creativity laid Rome
>open to influences not only from the Greeks, but later on also from the
>Orient. Check out all the Oriental cults (including Christianity) that came
>to Rome in the first centuries of our era!

Just a side-remark, i.e. reference: 
A quite recent book which examines, amongst other issues, "latinitas" and
the function esp. of translation of Greek texts into Latin in the process of
"latinization" is Rita Copeland, _Rhetoric, Hermeneutics and Translation in
the Middle Ages. Academic Translations and Vernacular Texts_, Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press 1991. Copeland gives a lot of material, although
at times, her conclusions seem not too well substantiated by her sources.
Nevertheless, aside from providing useful reading for the Latinization of
Greek philosophy and esp. literature, I found this book very inspiring for
investigating the position of translation in appropriating foreign systems
of thought in general. (No direct consideration of Indian/Oriental
influences, though) 

Birgit Kellner
Department for Indian Philosophy
University of Hiroshima

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