She Closes Her Eyes to Herself: Nietzsche, Feminism, and Christianity (thesis)
This paper works to examine the lives and arguments of early Christian female ascetics and modern feminist Christians through the lens of Friedrich Nietzsche. The arguments against orthodox Christianity presented in Nietzsche serve as a foundation for the unorthodox practices of female Christian ascetics in Roman society and of feminist Christians in the 20th century. Themes of life affirmation, self-creation, and freedom from moral judgment connect the women presented in this paper to the work of Nietzsche. Concepts such as the pathos of distance, the master mindset, and affirmation and denial are examined both in the writing of Nietzsche and in the context of Christianity. Nietzsche's writing on the problems and struggles of female existence in patriarchal society are compared to the writing of feminists such as Judith Butler and Margaret Farley. Finally the conceptualization of a new definition of God and of Christianity found in the work of feminist Christians, the lives of the female ascetics, and in Nietzsche is applied to a general 20th century Christian context. This research suggests that Nietzsche's work can be utilized in the context of feminist movements in ways it has not in the past, allowing for a more in-depth understanding of both Nietzsche's relationship to Christianity and unorthodox feminist movements' foundations in philosophy.
Thesis; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]Abbie Nicole Caudill is a member of the Class of 2013 of Washington and Lee University.