The Shadow of the Antichrist: Nietzsche's Critique of Christianity
Stephen N. Williams
Baker Academic, 2006
312 pp., $30.00
Laura C. Miguélez
The Shadow of the Antichrist
In the penultimate chapter, Williams turns to Nietzsche's influence in the 20th century, focusing briefly on Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He then assesses "three notions—good, evil, and morality—from a theological point of view and in light of what Nietzsche says." Here Williams mounts a robust defense of orthodox Christianity in light of Nietzsche's misunderstanding and misrepresentation of it.
Williams' final chapter considers what Christians can learn from Nietzsche. The following statements are representative: "Doubtless, along with an appropriate explanation of how they are using the words, Christians will be ready to agree with Nietzsche that a serious interest in truth and disposition to truthfulness are infrequent enough." Or, again, Nietzsche puts "humans in their place by exposing their vaunted drive to knowledge for what it is. Humans have a propensity to confuse their perspectival self-centeredness with the essence of things." Williams concludes by imagining Nietzsche's response to Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript, and offering his own response to both men: "[M]y objective here is merely to depict in bold relief how the logic of Christianity looks from within Christianity. A consistently Christian will-to-truth will insist that faith stands or falls on the basis of the testimony to the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth recorded in the Christian Scriptures."
By the end of Williams' book, one has a better awareness of and appreciation for one of the 19th century's most formidable opponents to the Christian faith. For those seeking to come to a deeper understanding and appraisal of Friedrich Nietzsche, this is a helpful place to begin.
Laura C. Miguélez is assistant professor of theology at Wheaton College.
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