Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus/Teologinis-politinis traktatas, bilingual edition, Lithuanian translation and introduction by Laurynas Adomaitis, Latin text edition by Fokke Akkerman based on the editio princeps, Vilnius: Jonas ir Jokūbas, 2017, 674 pp. -/- Barucho Spinozos "Teologinis-politinis traktatas" (1670) yra vienas esminių modernios filosofijos tekstų. Pagrindinis "Teologinio-politinio traktato" tikslas yra parodyti dvi esmines politinio gyvenimo ydas: baimę, kuri kliudo aiškiai formuoti mintis ir viltį, kuri trukdo aktyviai dalyvauti politiniame gyvenime. Pasak Spinozos, koja kojon einanti viltis ir baimė paralyžiuoja mąstymą, vaizduotę ir (...) kūną taip paruošdama vešlią dirvą prietarams, pasyvumui ir išnaudojimui valstybėje. Knygos vertėjas Laurynas Adomaitis tikisi, kad Spinozos "Teologinio-politinio traktato" pasirodymas taps kultūriniu ir filosofiniu įvykiu: "Be jokios abejones, ši Spinozos knyga yra viena svarbiausių filosofinės klasikos knygų pasirodžiusių lietuvių kalba per pastarąjį dešimtmetį. Dabartiniame politiniame klimate, kuriame veši populizmas, "Teologinis-politinis traktatas" Lietuvos visuomenei gali pasiūlyti labai daug. Kūrinyje genialiai pristatomi, narpliojami ir dekonstruojami teologiniai, filosofiniai ir politiniai prietarai. Politinė visuomenę yra kviečiama permąstyti savo pamatus, o kartu ir judėjimo kryptį. (shrink)
This study attempts to provide access to the thinking about poverty and the poor reflected in classic rabbinic literature, focusing on a single passage in Leviticus Rabbah that addresses the verse (Lev. 25:25) beginning “should your brother come to ruin.” This passage affords us an opportunity to take a penetrating look into the meaning of poverty, and into its theological and metaphysical contexts, which lie beyond the social and economic issue of poverty. Rabbinic literature comes to us in a variety (...) of genres, which address matters of law, of exegesis, and of midrashic interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. Traditionally we distinguish between halakhic and aggadic midrash, between those midrashic interpretations that seek to reveal biblical law (as the halakhah of Judaism) and those that seek to probe the biblical narrative and reveal the thinking and philosophy behind them. The midrash we will study and examine in this article is part of the collection known as Leviticus Rabbah, an anthology of sermons from the Land of Israel, in Hebrew and Galilean Aramaic, on the book of Leviticus. It appears that the version of Leviticus Rabbah now extant includes an ancient collection from the third century CE, to which were added Amoraic sermons from the fourth and fifth centuries. (shrink)
Chapters 17 and 18 of the TTP constitute a textual unit in which Spinoza submits the case of the ancient Hebrew state to close examination. This is not the work of a historian, at least not in any sense that we, twenty-first century readers, would recognize as such. Many of Spinoza’s claims in these chapters are highly speculative, and seem to be poorly backed by historical evidence (Cf. Verbeek (2003), 126). Other claims are broad-brush, ahistorical generalizations: for example, in a (...) marginal note (to be discussed shortly), Spinoza refers to his Jewish contemporaries as if they were identical with the ancient Hebrews. Projections from Spinoza’s own experience of his Jewish and Dutch contemporaries are quite common, and the Erastian lesson that Spinoza attempts to draw from his “history” of the ancient Hebrew state is all too conspicuous. Even Spinoza’s philosophical arguments in these two chapters are not uniformly convincing, as I will attempt to show. Yet in spite of all these faults, the two chapters are a masterpiece of their own kind: a case study of the psychological foundations of politics and religion. The work that comes closest in my mind is Freud’s 1939 Der Mann Moses und die monotheistische Religion. The two works are similar not only in terms of their chronological subject matter – the Hebrews of Moses’s time – but also in their attempt to reconstruct the communal psyche of the Hebrews in order to demonstrate their respective social theories about the foundation of civilization. Needless to say, there are numerous differences between the two works, not the least of which are their distinct aims and the very different political contexts in which they were produced. (shrink)
Event synopsis: Professor Susan James inverses Leo Strauss’ reading of Spinoza. Whereas Strauss emphasized the hidden subtext of Spinoza’s arguments, James revives the explicit debates of his time within which Spinoza's Theologico-Political Treatise was situated. But this is not a simple historical reconstruction. James’ close reading of the Treatise offers a radically new perspective on Spinoza’s revolutionary book – a reading that presents startling new perspective on the political, metaphysical and theological implications of the book. Given the importance of Spinoza’s (...) political writings in contemporary radical democratic approaches to the state, James intervention has the potential to reshape the way we think of a Spinozan politics. (shrink)
The translations of Holy Scripture to the local European languages in the beginning of Reformation were usually based on Latin Bible. It's language was vastly different from the dialects used by the Old Testament prophets and Christ. By raising the question of the contents of their teachings in A Theologico-Political Treatise, Spinoza underlined the necessity of basing the translations on the sources most approximate to the Hebrew versions of the parables and teachings, initially passed by oral speech only. According to (...) him, the knowledge of the Hebrew language and the traditions of the nation of Israel allowed to distinguish the essence of religion (the contents of the faith) from the tools of providing credibility to the prophecies and from means serving the consolidation of these contents (the religious cult). Up to that point, Jews and Christians alike treated the biblical message as a "sacred" script, not as a record of moral guidelines passed with a simple, common language acommodated to the sensibility of the archaic fishermen, hunters, farmers and merchants. In A Theologico-Political Treatise, Spinoza employed his own method of deciphering the chosen fragments of the Hebrew Bible, sharing the philological and historical knowledge he found useful in bringing out the universal moral guidelines, comprehensible to the "pure mind" and comprising the very meaning of faith. (shrink)
Many pagan, Jewish, Christian and Muslim philosophers from Antiquity to the Enlightenment made no meaningful distinction between philosophy and religion. Instead they advocated a philosophical religion, arguing that God is Reason and that the historical forms of a religious tradition serve as philosophy's handmaid to promote the life of reason among non-philosophers. Carlos Fraenkel provides the first account of this concept and traces its history back to Plato. He shows how Jews and Christians appropriated it in Antiquity, follows it through (...) the Middle Ages in both Islamic and Jewish forms and argues that it underlies Spinoza's interpretation of Christianity. The main challenge to a philosophical religion comes from the modern view that all human beings are equally able to order their lives rationally and hence need no guidance from religion. Fraenkel's wide-ranging book will appeal to anyone interested in how philosophy has interacted with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious traditions. (shrink)
Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise was published anonymously in 1670 and immediately provoked huge debate. Its main goal was to claim that the freedom of philosophizing can be allowed in a free republic and that it cannot be abolished without also destroying the peace and piety of that republic. Spinoza criticizes the traditional claims of revelation and offers a social contract theory in which he praises democracy as the most natural form of government. This Critical Guide presents essays by well-known scholars in (...) the field and covers a broad range of topics, including the political theory and the metaphysics of the work, religious toleration, the reception of the text by other early modern philosophers and the relation of the text to Jewish thought. It offers valuable perspectives on this important and influential work. (shrink)
Yitzhak Y. Melamed - Radical Protestantism in Spinoza's Thought - Journal of the History of Philosophy 45:2 Journal of the History of Philosophy 45.2 333-334 Muse Search Journals This Journal Contents Reviewed by Yitzhak Y. Melamed University of Chicago Graeme Hunter. Radical Protestantism in Spinoza's Thought. Aldershot, UK–Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005. Pp. vii + 196. Cloth, $89.95. If this book's announced and modest aim—"to present the Christian dimension of Spinoza's thought positively and directly" —were all the author meant to achieve, (...) he was clearly successful. Any reader of the Theological Political Treatise cannot fail to see that Spinoza engaged seriously with Christianity, its sacred texts, and its internal divisions and disputes. Throughout his mature life, Spinoza lived among the Collegiants, the radical Dutch reformers, and it is clear that his dialogue with this circle played a significant role in shaping his writing on religion, Judaism, and.. (shrink)
In Between Philosophy and Religion Volumes I and II, Brayton Polka examines Spinoza's three major works—on religion, politics, and ethics—in order to show that his thought is at once biblical and modern. This book and its companion volume are essential reading for any scholar of Spinoza.
Context -- A Jew in Amsterdam -- Conflicts and communities -- Christian philosophy? -- A Bible gallery -- Religion and politics in the TTP -- Miracles, meaning, and moderation -- Christian pluralism -- Ethics reconsidered -- Providence, obedience, and love -- Spinoza and Christianity.
This paper discusses Spinoza's critique of religion as a visible moment of a radically occluded materialist Judeo-Arabic Aristotelian philosophical tradition. While the prevailing (Christo-Platonic) tradition begins with the familiar gesture to metaphysics as first philosophy, Spinoza's thought (and thus, this Other Tradition) takes politics as its point of departure with its concrete emphasis on a critique of dogma. This paper will show-by way of differing readings of Spinoza-how this materialist tradition becomes occluded by the prevailing tradition, even in the work (...) of such careful materialist Spinoza commentators as Etienne Balibar. (shrink)
Daniel H. Frank - Spinoza and the Irrelevance of Biblical Authority - Journal of the History of Philosophy 40:2 Journal of the History of Philosophy 40.2 263-264 Book Review Spinoza and the Irrelevance of Biblical Authority J. Samuel Preus. Spinoza and the Irrelevance of Biblical Authority. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Pp. xvi + 228. Cloth, $54.95. This book is the history of ideas at its best. In lesser hands, volumes in the genre tend to be reductionist to the (...) point of redundancy and irrelevance, forcing the reader to wonder about the originality of the thinker under discussion and the ideas in question. If the relevant ideas are no more than those of others, then why should one take an interest in them ? Accounting for originality and genius bedevils the history of ideas. Preus is well aware of the problem of reductionism and redundancy throughout his book and works hard to show how Spinoza is.. (shrink)
My essay explores the connections between Spinoza’s theory of biblical interpretation and his conception of prophecy, linking the two through what he calls “moral certainty.” The question of what prophecy conveys is connected to the question of how to read Scripture because readers are in a similar position to both the prophets, who attain sure knowledge of some matter revealed by God, and the audience of prophecy, who have access to this knowledge only through faith. Like prophets, readers are interpreters (...) of something that can not be known by way of reason alone; hence the effort to secure certainty involves factors other than purely rational ones (the history of the text, for readers; a vivid imagination, signs, and virtue for the prophet). But like the prophet’s audience, the knowledge of texts that we can attain is not always “sure,” since texts “transcend” us in a certain sense. That is, they introduce novelties---laws, customs, histories---that we wouldn’t know without reading them, and we therefore have to take their authors, prophets in this case, at their word-as it were, on faith. While most of the focus on Spinoza’s concept of biblical interpretation has centered on his maxim that “the method of interpreting Scripture is no different from the method of interpreting Nature,” I hold that it is just as crucial to investigate his claims concerning the nature of prophecy, and in particular to allow prophetic knowledge to shed light on Spinoza’s concepts of words, history, and the corruption and incorruptibility of texts. (shrink)
In a work that draws on an impressive array of scholarly resources and an extensive study of Spinoza’s teaching, Steven Smith’s recent book examines the status of Spinoza as “the first emancipated Jew” in the broader context of “the Jewish Question”. The author’s interest is to relate Spinoza’s treatment of the theologico-political problem to his advocacy of liberalism and commercial republicanism in the Tractatus theologico-politicus. The authority of the doctrine conveyed in that work is reflected in the championing of religious (...) toleration, political liberalism, and popular education that was embraced during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Indeed, as Smith acknowledges, “it was the Enlightenment, above all, that made the case for Jewish emancipation and Bildung that is the theme of this book”. In particular, the author seeks to establish the “profound and determinative influence” of Spinoza’s Tractatus on the thinking of Mendelssohn, Lessing, Kant, and Hegel. (shrink)
This is a study of what Spinoza intended to be the refutation of orthodox Judaism, and indeed, of all religious orthodoxy. The recovery of that refutation, as Strauss illustrates in his preface to this translation, is needed by theology because the progressive liberalization of religion has now reached the point where theology is hardly able to distinguish itself from sundry civil moralities. Owing to this beginning, both in its plan and execution this study has little in common with historical studies (...) of the origin of religious liberalism. Part I distinguishes the classical or Epicurean critique of religion, which did not entail enlightenment, from the modern critique, whose origin Strauss finds in Hobbes. Part II examines Spinoza's critique of orthodoxy, the critique of Calvin, the teaching on the relation between religion and politics, and the concept of Bible criticism. Since Strauss' guiding concern is to discover whether the critique of orthodoxy can be met from the grounds of orthodoxy, he takes great care to specify precisely the assumptions of each argument and the belief against which it is directed. When completed, this effort becomes the articulation of the conflict between reason and revelation. That conflict is shown as it is understood by each side, and Strauss assesses the vulnerability of each to the other.—H. C. (shrink)