Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 December 2013
Sed omnia praeclara tam diffidila, quam rara sunt.
[For all excellent things are as difficult as they are rare.]—Spinoza, Ethics
The Revolutionary Rhizome
All eyes, it would seem, are on Spinoza at the moment. Much of the credit for this remarkable renaissance is due to Gilles Deleuze, who wrote two books on Spinoza, and then went even further in his best-selling manifesto What Is Philosophy?, anointing Spinoza both the “prince” and the “Christ” of philosophy. And Deleuze is hardly alone in his attentions. Spinoza now looms large in our understanding of the entire Age of Goethe. The controversy over Spinoza still figures as a minor flap in Lewis White Beck's classic history, Early German Philosophy; but it has become the defining intellectual controversy of the whole age since the publication of Frederick Beiser's influential study The Fate of Reason in 1987. Further, over the past decade, the intellectual historian Jonathan Israel has published three massive tomes asserting that, basically, every significant thinker of the Enlightenment was a closet Spinozist. Skepticism may be in order: on Wall Street, this latest development would be read as a “contrary indicator,” signaling a market top. But the centrality of the Spinozastreit (Spinoza controversy) clearly means that we have to understand both the extent and the import of Spinoza's influence on the Age of Goethe. And the centrality of Spinoza to contemporary discourse is beyond doubt; somehow, he figures in everyone's equations.
To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.
To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.
To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.