Spinoza: Democracy and Revelation

Filozofski Vestnik 29 (2) (2008)

Abstract
The question of whether Spinoza's political philosophy is radical is explored in the paper by focusing on the question of how successfully Spinoza solved the troubling relation between religion and public authority in his work Tractatus theologico-politicus (TTP). This is a burning political issue today and was a pressing political concern in Spinoza's time as well as for Spinoza himself. After the examination of this problematic in TTP it is clear that Spinoza does not provide a coherent and compelling argument against revealed religion having a role in the founding of the state and in statecraft. A minimalist conclusion would be that Spinoza allows for a role of revealed religion in democracy. A more daring conclusion would point at the affinity between republican democracy and theocracy. In either case, with the TTP's help, we cannot avoid either theological politics or political theology
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