aristocratic polarity of good against bad and the herd polarity of good against evil it was the latter which had prevailed, embodied most importantly first in Judaism and then in that "new Judaic Rome," the Church. What emerged was the victory of a life-denying ascetic ideal which issues in those conceptions of sin, of duty, of conscience, and of the relationship of virtue to happiness which have perpetuated both resentment and rancor and the denial of life. The ascetic ideal, as Nietzsche understands it, assumes many different forms, among them those of nineteenth-century academic scholarship. That scholarship prided itself on its freedom from those theological and other transcendental illusions which had imprisoned inquiry prior to the Enlightenment. Yet that pride was, according to Nietzsche, a mark of the reestablishment of the ascetic ideal in one more unacknowledged, life-destroying form. What Christianity had once purveyed had become the stock in trade of anti-Christianity.
Among those so indicted were the academic historians. Nietzsche had particularly in mind French and German scholars. But his view of nineteenth-century academic history is recognizably a view of the same terrain as that surveyed by the contributors on historical subjects to the Ninth Edition, although from a very different angle of vision. Where they saw a solid progress which displaced the past's understanding of itself in favor of their own understanding of it as an inadequate precursor of their own institutional, legal, and moral arrangements and views, Nietzsche pilloried what he took to be the false claims to objectivity of those who had rejected the teleology of their predecessors and boasted of their own value-neutrality.
Nietzsche thus presents his own narrative in Zur Genealogie der Moral as superior to those of the academic historians precisely in that it enabled him to identify limitations and defects in their writing of which they themselves were unable to become aware. But this claim to superiority is easily misunderstood. For it may well be read, and Nietzsche from time to time gives us some reason to read it, as a straightforward claim to have defeated the academic historians, and indeed the philosophers too, in the light of standards of truth and rationality which may not perhaps be those actually appealed to within academic history and philosophy but which differ from them only in being a corrected and improved version of them, standards that provide a neutral court of appeal for Nietzsche, his adversaries, and his readers. And certainly Nietzsche was gratified by the sympathetic reading which he took himself to have received from such orthodox academics as Jacob Burckhardt and Hippolyte Taine, while at the same time voicing again and again in his letters the thought that his views would have to be unpalatable to the vast majority of the reading public. What he never quite brought himself to say, and perhaps never quite brought himself to think, was that, if his views were not in fact almost universally rejected, they could
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