Friedrich Nietzsche--his Life and Thought

by Arlie J. Hoover, Praeger Press, 88 Post Road West,
Westport, CT 06881, 1994, 211 pages

Nietzsche is a true classic. His philosophical system is now over a century old, yet he still sounds contemporary. He needs no translation into the present. His problems are still our problems, his predicament our own. He died on the threshold of the twentieth century, yet his shadow still hangs darkly over our tumultuous era.

This is a summary statement by Dr. Hoover of his conclusion to this book. The influence of Nietzsche on our world and the things that are happening in it cannot be underestimated. Nietzsche was a brilliant man with a great gift to write, but his atheistic bias and his abstract views of truth, morality, and history have made him an enemy of Christianity in many ways. This book is more than a biography--it is an examination of Nietzsche's ideas and where these ideas led him. The author is a professor of history at Abilene Christian University, but the book is not a hatchet job on Nietzsche nor on his ideas. Most of the book is positive and complementary in attitude and approach. Hoover has researched his work exhaustively going to primary sources and has dealt in simple terms with what he calls "hurricane Nietzsche" as a Christian.

The first chapter gets the readers acquainted with Nietzsche's life, influences, style, and mission. The next seven chapters deal with the philosophy and views he held of knowledge, reality, man, God, morality, Christ, the Church, politics, and the future. The last two chapters deal with the causes and implications of Nietzsche's mental illness and connections to modern thought in such areas as existentialism. Hoover does not get into the uses or misuses of Nietzsche's views in such things as anti-Semitism, but does view most of them as abuses.

We recommend this book highly to those who have an interest in philosophy. It will also be useful to people trying to understand modern atheism, especially the history of a lot of atheistic thought.

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, Sep/Oct 1996