Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Deconstructing Dionysus: Re-visioning Nietzsche's Writings as a Polytheistic Odyssey
by Jensen, Erik Thomas, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2018, 277; 10936887
Abstract (Summary)

This hermeneutic study employs the theoretical lens of James Hillman’s archetypal psychology to re-imagine Friedrich Nietzsche’s writings as a polytheistic odyssey, that is to say, as a daring journey into the unknown, informed by an array of archetypal perspectives, each represented by a specific Greek god or goddess. Nietzsche, it is argued, anticipated archetypal psychology, most notably in his employment of the Greek gods, Apollo and especially Dionysus. This study builds on Nietzsche’s limited archetypal field, and considers other gods and goddesses essential to his thought and writing—deities that until now have remained largely unconscious factors. Two gods in particular, Hermes and Ares, are singled out and subjected to extensive analysis. The study specifically explores how these two gods contribute to the experience of reading Nietzsche and also help address the problem of personal alienation. The odyssey begins with Nietzsche’s notion of the death of god, understood psychologically as the loss of an ultimate source of meaning and values. This loss can lead to a profound sense of alienation; however, it also opens up the possibility of discovering new archetypal perspectives, and thereby new ways of meaningfully connecting to life. The study concludes that Hermes, as boundary-crosser and connection-maker, and Ares, in his capacity to fight through adversity and destroy outdated monotheistic structures, play essential roles in this process.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Slater, Glen
Commitee: Parkes, Graham, Zemmelman, Steve
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychology with Emphasis in Jungian and Archetypal Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 80/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy, Psychology
Keywords: Depth psychology, Hillman, James, Nietzsche, Friedrich, Personal alienation, Polytheistic psychology
Publication Number: 10936887
ISBN: 9780438431003
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