Scholarly receptionSociologist Philip Rieff, writing in his (1959), called Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist the best book in English on Nietzsche. Philosopher Richard Schacht writes that the work is a classic and widely read study through which many English-speaking readers became interested in and acquainted with Nietzsche after World War II.
Michael Tanner considers the book an "ill-organized transformation of Nietzsche into a liberal humanist", albeit one that "has its place in the history of Nietzsche reception." Nehamas considers Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist to be a major turning point in Nietzsche's posthumous reputation. He credits Kaufmann's book with reversing the popular image of Nietzsche as a totalitarian anti-semite and making it possible for philosophers to take Nietzsche seriously, suggesting that it is thanks to Kaufmann that Nietzsche's works have a prominent place in the philosophy sections of modern bookstores. Nehamas observes that Kaufmann's view that Nietzsche was an heir to rationalism rather than a Romantic critic of the Enlightenment is the most controversial element of his interpretation.
Nehamas notes that it has been argued that Kaufmann, in trying to reverse the "legend" surrounding Nietzsche, went too far in the opposite direction, over-emphasizing the more acceptable aspects of Nietzsche and minimizing the problematic or disturbing aspects. Nehamas considers the charge valid to some extent, but believes that it does not detract from Kaufmann's accomplishment. He believes that Kaufmann's selective reinterpretation of Nietzsche may have been necessary to make it possible for Nietzsche to be read seriously by both philosophers and the general public, stressing that Kaufmann's book is worth reading and re-reading.