Review of Metaphysics 20 (2):380-380 (1966)

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.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1966202387
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