Manual Spinoza on Philosophy, Religion, and Politics: The Theologico-Political Treatise

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Your points will be added to your account once your order is shipped. Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Spinoza's Theologico-Political Treatise is simultaneously a work of philosophy and a piece of practical politics. It defends religious pluralism, a republican form of political organisation, and the freedom to philosophise, with a determination that is extremely rare in seventeenth-century thought.

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But it is also a fierce and polemical intervention in a series of Dutch disputes over issues about which Spinoza and his opponents cared very deeply. Susan James makes the arguments of the Treatise accessible, and their motivations plain, by setting them in their historical and philosophical context.

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She identifies the interlocking theological, hermeneutic, historical, philosophical, and political positions to which Spinoza was responding, shows who he aimed to discredit, and reveals what he intended to achieve. The immediate goal of the Treatise is, she establishes, a local one. Spinoza is trying to persuade his fellow citizens that it is vital to uphold and foster conditions in which they can cultivate their capacity to live rationally, free from the political manifestations and corrosive psychological effects of superstitious fear.

At the same time, however, his radical argument is designed for a broader audience. Appealing to the universal philosophical principles that he develops in greater detail in his Ethics , and drawing on the resources of imagination to make them forceful and compelling, Spinoza speaks to the inhabitants of all societies, including our own. Only in certain political circumstances is it possible to philosophise, and learn to live wisely and well.

Susan James's book on Spinozaas Theological-Political Treatise is a magnificent work of historical and contextually focused philosophical scholarship. Anyone interested in Spinoza, the Dutch Republic, or early modern philosophy would profit by reading it.

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James richly situates Spinozaas Treatise in its proper context and thereby illuminates Spinozaas thought in a profound way. The Spinoza that emerges here is not the abstract metaphysician of the Ethics, but a savvy political thinker addressing the particulars of his time and place.


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Religious practice, unlike philosophical thought, is subordinated to the political authority. The vulnerable point in that argument obviously consists in that the citizens should be completely free to think and believe, but this freedom of thought does not necessarily entail their right to act freely in line with their convictions. Spinoza was aware of the difficulties of this argument, namely that the precise borderline between speech and acting is not always easy to draw.

Read the entire essay here. Charles Gelman is a contributing editor of The Immanent Frame and an associate editor of Frequencies.

Rethinking public religion: Word, image, sound

A former program assistant at the Social Science Research Council, he is currently a doctoral student in comparative literature at New York University. He earned his B. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Paul Bagley - - Brill.

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Tractatus Theologico-Politicus - Wikipedia

Melamed - - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Susan James - - In Yitzhak Y.

Rosenthal eds. Cambridge University Press. Spinoza on the Politics of Philosophical Understanding.

A Theologico-Political Treatise (FULL Audiobook)

Eric Schliesser - - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 3pt3 Spinoza's Critique of Religion. Leo Strauss - - University of Chicago Press. Spinoza on the Political Value of Freedom of Religion. Edward Halper - - History of Philosophy Quarterly 21 2 Added to PP index Total views 28, of 2,, Recent downloads 6 months 26 29, of 2,, How can I increase my downloads? Sign in to use this feature.