Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Origin of Sin, as it is at present felt wherever Christianity prevails or has prevailed is a Jewish feeling and a Jewish invention; and in respect to this background of all Christian morality Christianity has in fact aimed at "Judaising" the whole world.

To what an extent this has succeeded in Europe is traced most accurately in our remarkable alienness to Greek antiquity a world without the feeling of sin in our sentiments even at present; in spite of all the good will to approximation and assimilation, which whole generations and many distinguished individuals have not failed to display.  "Only when you repent is God gracious to you" that would arouse the laughter or the wrath of a Greek: he would say, "Slaves may have such feelings."  Here a mighty being, an almighty being, and yet are a vengeful being, is presupposed; his power is so great that no injury whatever can be done to him except in the point of honour.  Every sin is an infringement of respect, a crime lasa majestatis divine and nothing more!  Contrition, degradation, rolling in the dust, these are the first and last conditions on which his favour depends: the restoration, therefore, of his divine honour!  If injury be caused otherwise by sin, if a profound, spreading evil be propagated by it, an evil which, like a disease, attacks and strangles one man after another that does not trouble this honour-craving Oriental in heaven; sin is an offence against him, not against mankind!  to him on whom he has bestowed his favour he bestows also this indifference to the natural consequences of sin.  God and mankind are here thought of as separated, as so antithetical that sin against the latter cannot be at all possible, all deeds are to be looked upon solely with respect to their supernatural consequences, and not with respect to their natural results: it is thus that the Jewish feeling, to which all that is natural seems unworthy in itself, would have things.  The Greeks, on the other hand, were more familiar with the thought that transgression also may have dignity, even theft, as in the case of Prometheus, even the slaughtering of cattle as the expression of frantic jealousy, as in the case of Ajax; in their need to attribute dignity to transgression and embody it therein, they invented tragedy, an art and a delight, which in its profoundest essence has remained alien to the Jew, in spite of all his poetic endowment and taste for the sublime.  

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