Spinoza's Dogmas of the Universal Faith and the Problem of Religion

Philosophy and Theology 13 (1):53-72 (2001)
I argue that in the seven “dogmas of the universal faith,” which are introduced in chapter XIV of the Theological-Political Treatise, Spinoza reinterprets the traditional view of a minimal credo required for salvation. The dogmas are dialectical propositions that are true insofar as they are practically useful. Instead of obtaining salvation for the soul, the dogmas aid in the preservation of the body, particularly through the regulation of religion within the state. I show that reading the dogmas in light of Spinoza’s method of interpreting Scripture is crucial to the understanding of their function in religion. In conclusion, I claim that the dogmas do not lead to the abolition of traditional religion, as some have claimed, but rather support the toleration of diverse religious practices
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 0890-2461
DOI 10.5840/philtheol20011317
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