Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches), subtitled A Book for Free Spirits (Ein Buch für freie Geister).

First published in 1878.   A second part, Assorted Opinions and Maxims (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche), was published in 1879, and a third part, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten), followed in 1880.

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That which gives the saint his historical value is not the thing he is y but the thing he represents in the eyes of the unsaintly.  It was through the fact that errors were made about him, that the state of his soul was falsely interpreted, that men separated themselves from him as much as possible, as from something incomparable and strangely superhuman, that he acquired the extraordinary power which he exercised over the imagination of whole nations and whole ages.  He did not know himself; he himself interpreted the writing of his moods, inclinations, and actions according to an art of interpretation which was as exaggerated and artificial as the spiritual interpretation of the Bible.  The distorted and diseased in his nature, with its combination of intellectual poverty, evil knowledge, ruined health, and overexcited nerves, remained hidden from his own sight as well as from that of his spectators.  He was not a particularly good man, and still less was he a particularly wise one; but he represented something that exceeded the human standard in goodness and wisdom.  The belief in him supported the belief in the divine and miraculous, in a religious meaning of all existence, in an impending day of judgment.  In the evening glory of the world's sunset, which glowed over the Christian nations, the shadowy form of the saint grew to vast dimensions; it grew to such a height that even in our own age, which no longer believes in God, there are still thinkers who believe in the saint.  

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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