Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies


Travis Kroeker




This thesis explores the Dionysian currents in the work of Friedrich Nietzsche through the motifs identified by Catholic philosopher Jean-Luc Marion. Marion's study of Nietzsche, conducted primarily in his text The Idol and Distance, focuses on the interest the latter took in sounding out the idols of the metaphysical tradition. Marion suggests that Nietzsche allows the reader to imagine the possibility of a non-idolatrous encounter with the divine, one characterized by, and taking place across, distance. The remainder of the thesis investigates this claim. First, it looks at Nietzsche's style of writing - a philosophical poetics marked by playful and dangerous experimeritation - in order to suggest that the style itself opens up distance in his work by fostering receptivity and personal abandon. Second, it studies Thus Spoke Zarathustra in order to notice how this important text promotes abandon, receptivity and praise as alternatives to idolatry. In reading Nietzsche through the work of Jean-Luc Marion, this paper contributes to the body of scholarship that considers Nietzsche a deeply religious figure, and questions the sharp distinction between Nietzsche's Dionysus and the Christ.

McMaster University Library

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