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    Spinoza on philosophy, religion, and politics: the theologico-political treatise

    James, Susan (2012) Spinoza on philosophy, religion, and politics: the theologico-political treatise. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199698127.

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    Susan James offers an interpretation of a work that is itself about interpretation Spinoza's Theologico‐Political Treatise. By setting the Treatise in its seventeenth‐century Dutch context, and identifying the wide range of philosophical, theological, hermeneutic, historical, and political debates to which Spinoza was responding, she elucidates the character of his argument and the ends it was designed to achieve. Although the Treatise engages with many opponents, the most central because most powerful were the conservative theologians of the Dutch Reformed Church and their political allies, who continued to oppose Cartesian philosophy throughout Spinoza's lifetime, and resisted what was known as the freedom to philosophize. Appealing both to philosophical arguments that he develops in more detail in the Ethics, and to a theory of biblical interpretation, Spinoza aims to comprehensively discredit the Church's theological doctrines. At the same time, he sets out to undercut its political commitment to a mixed constitution where power is divided between secular and religious authorities. In the United Provinces, Spinoza claims, the best way to secure freedom is to uphold a republican form of government in which the people are sovereign, and where, within certain limits, individuals are free to worship and philosophize as they wish. At first glance, the sinuous argument of the Treatise appears to lack unity, and many commentators focus on one part of it at the expense of others. Once its context is taken into account, however, it emerges as an integrated defence of philosophical, religious, and political freedom, firmly situated within the framework of Spinoza's philosophical system.


    Item Type: Book
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Spinoza, philosophy, religion, politics, hermeneutics, Theologico‐Political Treatise, Ethics, freedom
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2013 09:12
    Last Modified: 11 Oct 2013 09:12


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