Gabriel Marcel and Nietzsche. Existence and Death of God

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Nietzschean thought flows like a current throughout Marcel’s philosophy. Marcel is in constant dialogue with Nietzsche. He wants to give homage to his greatness, making him one of the most eminent representatives of existential thought. Marcel’s enthusiasm is triggered by Nietzsche’s phrase: ‘God is dead’, the Leitmotiv that ties all of the Nietzschean references scattered through Marcelian texts. The death of God is the theme that emphasises both the greatness and simultaneously the tragedy of Nietzsche. Marcel wants to substitute the idea ‘God is dead’ with its original meaning: a tragic-existential characteristic that imitators of Nietzsche seemed to have blurred. An interpretation that Marcel achieves aiming at double target. On one hand, he removes the heavy metaphysical suit from Nietzsche’s aphorisms on the death of God, that his interpreters have made them wear – Heidegger especially. On the other hand, he removes a stratus of trivialisation that takes the aphorisms out of context and transforms them into advertising slogans – and here Sartre becomes the target. Marcel then wipes the slate clean from these two limited interpretations of the declaration of the death of God. This is much more than a metaphysical quarrel and not at all comparable to any advertising slogan. Behind the cry ‘God is dead’ there is the existence of an anguished man who experiences in his own solitude the actual death of God. A man who realises he has killed God with his own hands, haunted by the chill that from now on he will have to live in a completely different way. The death of God, however, is not the end. Marcel spots a new beginning at the point in which nihilism is overcome and the Übermensch is born. Dialoguing with Nietzsche, he notices to being in the presence of a great spirit that has contributed to the renewal of a spiritual horizon. He descends to the most profound depths of his thought, aware that the way out is really far below, in the remotest areas of existence. The ambivalence of Nietzsche does not scare him. Rather such a thought, characterised by contradiction, will simultaneously be infinitely dangerous and infinitely healthy.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)398-409
Numero di pagine12
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2018


  • Death of God
  • Gabriel Marcel
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • L'homme devant la mort de Dieu
  • Nihilism

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