In this article I show how to integrate Nietzsche’s apparently conflicting views on the relationship of philosophers to the ascetic ideal of the ascetic priest. In sections 7 and 8 of GM III, Nietzsche makes philosophers seem fundamentally different from priests; but in sections 9 and 10, he argues that philosophers early on succumb to the ascetic ideal of the priest. The key to understanding how these two aspects of GM III fit together lies in Nietzsche’s ideas about the origins of contemplative life. Priests and their ascetic ideal come first; philosophers come later. Though the ambitions of philosophers are radically unlike those of priests, the two types of contemplative nature share a common predicament in their earliest days, against the background of which it becomes understandable how philosophers as a class could have become more mixed up in the ascetic ideal than is good for them.