The Garden of Eden

Philosophy and Theology 13 (1):3-51 (2001)
Abstract
Spinoza uses the interpretation of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden to mount a biblical defense of the life devoted to intellectual pursuits. In his philosophic rereading of the biblical story, Spinoza follows the lead of Maimonides in the Guide to the Perplexed Part I, chapter 2. Both philosophers invoked the biblical text to lend authority to the view that moral consciousness, in contrast with the intellectual, marks a decline in the human condition. This paper explores Spinoza’s dependence on the Maimonidean interpretation and also shows where Spinoza parts company with it, giving his own philosophical twist to the tale
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