Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra and the Quran

11 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2010

Date Written: June 8, 2010


This paper identifies a striking parallelism between headings, imagery, and features of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra and the Quran. Although the parallelism is significant in scope, being manifest, among other things, in about a quarter of Thus Spoke Zarathustra’s chapter headings, it has thus far gone unnoticed in the literature. After listing various structural and thematic correspondences between the works, the paper presents a number of reasons why the Quran was a suitable model for Nietzsche’s undertaking. The allusion to the Quran is intended to highlight the disparity between the underlying messages of the two works, the Quran being an ironic mirror against which Thus Spoke Zarathustra is to be read. The paper also addresses the discrepancy between the book’s ostensible source of inspiration, and its true inspiration.

Keywords: Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Quran, Islam

Suggested Citation

Ben-Menahem, Hanina, Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra and the Quran (June 8, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Hanina Ben-Menahem (Contact Author)

Hebrew University ( email )

Mount Scopus
Mount Scopus, IL 91905

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