Speaking in Tongues: Glimpsing Nietzsche’s "Unknown God"
Fredrich Nietzsche and a Pentecostal Pastor may seem like strange travelling companions, but they walk hand in hand at least part way down the road to transcendence. Using the Birth of Tragedy as a guide, I propose to draw parallels between Attic Tragedy as interpreted by Nietzsche and the rites of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, a charismatic, fundamentalist Protestant denomination which practices “speaking in tongues” during its worship services. In doing so, I’ll attempt to explain a mystical experience that I and two other teenagers had at a summer bible camp nearly 30 years ago. For after years of puzzling over its meaning, Nietzsche has at last shown me the path to transcendence that my friends and I took, as well as the fork in the road where we parted ways to end up at separate altars. During this journey, I’ll describe the surprising number of similarities between Attic Tragedy’s psychological dynamics as described by Nietzsche and that of the “Born-Again” Pentecostals. There are a unexpected number of them, which is perhaps why Nietzsche chose to play a referential joke in choosing the name “Dionysiac” for his antichrist.
Keywords: Frederich Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy, Pentecostal Church, Transcendence, Joseph Campbell
Mr. Donald James Hauka
Graduate Student (Master of Arts Degree), Graduate Liberal Studies, Simon Fraser University