The work has received a multitude of citations and references from subsequent philosophical books as well as literary articles, works of fiction, and the like. On the Genealogy of Morality is considered by many academics  to be Nietzsche's most important work, and, despite its polemical content, out of all of his works the one that perhaps comes closest to a systematic and sustained exposition of his ideas.  Some of the contents and many symbols and metaphors portrayed in On the Genealogy of Morality , together with its tripartite structure, seem to be based on and influenced by Heinrich Heine 's On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany .
Polemical writings were common in medieval and early modern times.  During the Middle Ages, polemic had a religious dimension, as in Jewish texts written to protect and dissuade Jewish communities from converting to other religions .  Medieval Christian writings were also often polemical; for example in their disagreements on Islam.  Martin Luther 's 95 Theses , famously nailed to the door of the church in Wittenburg , was a powerful polemic launched against the Catholic Church.  Robert Carliell 's 1619 defence of the new Church of England and diatribe against the Roman Catholic Church – Britaine's glorie, or An allegoricall dreame with the exposition thereof: containing The Heathens infidelitie in religion... – took the form of a 250-line poem.