From Clapham to Bloomsbury: A Genealogy of Morals

Himmelfarb, Gertrude. "From Clapham to Bloomsbury: A Genealogy of Morals." Commentary Magazine, February, 1985.


“For the Englishman,” Nietzsche wrote in 1889, “morality is not yet a problem.” The English thought that religion was no longer needed as a “guarantee of morality,” that morality could be known “intuitively.” But that illusion was itself a reflection of the persistent strength and depth among them of the Christian “ascendancy.” Forgetting the religious origin of their morality, they also forgot the “highly conditional nature of its right to exist.” If Christianity should ever lose that ascendancy, Nietzsche implied, morality would be deprived of even that tenuous hold on reality and would then truly become a “problem.”