Nietzsche's Illustration of the Art of Exegesis
This chapter concerns Nietzsche's claim that Genealogy III is a commentary on an aphorism placed in front of it, which illustrates the art of interpretation or exegesis required to decipher aphorisms. A standard view is that the aphorism in question is the epigram from Thus Spoke Zarathustra concerning ‘wisdom is a woman’. The standard view is argued to be wrong both on grounds internal to the text and on grounds of the publication history of the Genealogy. Instead, the aphorism in question is section 1 of Genealogy III itself, concerning the many meanings of the ascetic ideal. The resonances of the metaphor of ‘wisdom as woman’ are discussed. But there is no need to read Nietzsche as putting forward a radical or paradoxical theory of reading and interpretation, nor to connect his view of interpretation here with the metaphor of ‘woman’ as tightly as was once fashionable in feminist theory.
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