Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-rn2sj Total loading time: 0.287 Render date: 2022-08-07T22:58:04.033Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2011

Yitzhak Y. Melamed
Affiliation:
The Johns Hopkins University
Michael A. Rosenthal
Affiliation:
University of Washington
Get access

Summary

Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise was a notorious book in its own time both for what it attacked and for what it advocated. Spinoza did not hesitate to call into question traditional religious – and not only religious – pieties. He attacked the common understanding of prophecy as either a privileged and supernatural form of knowledge or a disguised mode of philosophizing. He denied that miracles, as violations of the Laws of Nature, were possible and claimed that belief in them demonstrated ignorance and undermined any adequate conception of God. Just as he hoped to demystify the content of Scripture, Spinoza sought to call into question its origin. Relying on historical and linguistic analysis, Spinoza argued that Scripture is itself a human artifact written and composed by several authors and editors over time. But Spinoza was not a skeptic about all things. He claimed that prophets used their vivid imaginations to advocate obedience to a social order in which justice and charity were paramount. He believed that the political model of the ancient Hebrews could be imitated in certain key respects. Spinoza's Realpolitik – his identification of right with might – led him to rather surprising conclusions. Unlike Hobbes, whose social contract theory justified absolute monarchy, Spinoza argued that democracy was a preferred form of government. And, finally, he thought that the state would be better off if it granted limited religious toleration and the freedom to philosophize.

Type
Chapter
Information
Spinoza's 'Theological-Political Treatise'
A Critical Guide
, pp. 1 - 10
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org 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.

Available formats
×

Save book 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 Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

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.

Available formats
×