Spinoza and Popular Philosophy

In Yitzhak Y. Melamed (ed.), A Companion to Spinoza. Chichester, UK: Wiley. pp. 568–577 (2021)
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Abstract

The study of highly imagistic representations of Spinoza's philosophy found in popular, extra‐academic literature is essential for building a rational view on Spinoza's philosophy. Popular literature on Spinoza is an ineliminable condition of academic literature on Spinoza. The cementing of Spinoza's popularity belongs to a larger history of Spinoza's reception. This chapter examines two late‐nineteenth and early‐twentieth century works on Spinoza. Jules Prat's idiosyncratic blend of Spinozism and left‐wing French Republicanism stands out as a historically and philosophically rich approach to Spinoza that has hardly been studied thus far. The chapter also examines the fiction of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Bernard Malamud. One common feature to Singer and Malamud is the way that they root their Spinozists in a Jewish world. In this, they are forerunners of the ongoing popular preoccupation with Spinoza's own relation to Judaism.

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Jack Stetter
Loyola University, New Orleans

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