Spinoza s Heresy

Author: Steven Nadler
Publisher: Clarendon Press
ISBN: 9780191529979
Format: PDF, Kindle
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At the heart of Spinoza's Heresy is a mystery: why was Baruch Spinoza so harshly excommunicated from the Amsterdam Jewish community at the age of twenty-four? In this philosophical sequel to his acclaimed, award-winning biography of the seventeenth-century thinker, Steven Nadler argues that Spinoza's main offence was a denial of the immortality of the soul. But this only deepens the mystery. For there is no specific Jewish dogma regarding immortality: there is nothing that a Jew is required to believe about the soul and the afterlife. It was, however, for various religious, historical and political reasons, simply the wrong issue to pick on in Amsterdam in the 1650s. After considering the nature of the ban, or cherem, as a disciplinary tool in the Sephardic community, and a number of possible explanations for Spinoza's ban, Nadler turns to the variety of traditions in Jewish religious thought on the postmortem fate of a person's soul. This is followed by an examination of Spinoza's own views on the eternity of the mind and the role that that the denial of personal immortality plays in his overall philosophical project. Nadler argues that Spinoza's beliefs were not only an outgrowth of his own metaphysical principles, but also a culmination of an intellectualist trend in Jewish rationalism.

Spinoza in der j dischen Aufkl rung

Author: Jan-Hendrik Wulf
Publisher: Walter de Gruyter
ISBN: 3050060425
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Kaum ein anderer Denker hat die jüdische Moderne in einem so hohen Maße beeinflusst wie der Philosoph Baruch Spinoza. Als eine intellektuelle Grenzfigur, die nach ihrer Verbannung aus der jüdischen Gemeinde Amsterdams im Jahre 1656 in die christlich-abendländische Gelehrtenwelt eintrat, inspirierte er jene Aufklärer der Haskala, die ein gutes Jahrhundert später nach einem eigenen jüdischen Weg in die europäische Moderne suchten. Diese Denker trafen dabei auf eine nichtjüdische Gelehrtenwelt, in der sich mit dem Namen des niederländischen Philosophen ebenso idealisierende intellektuelle Erwartungen wie irrationale Ängste gegenüber dem in Spinoza identifizierten intellektuellen Idealtypus des Jüdischen verbanden. Somit ist die Geschichte der jüdischen Rezeption Spinozas seit dem Zeitalter der europäischen Aufklärung stets ein Indikator dafür, welchen Stand das wechselhafte Verhältnis zwischen jüdischer und nichtjüdischer Welt gerade erreicht hatte. Im Nachvollzug der Verlaufsformen der jüdischen Spinoza-Rezeption vom 17. bis ins 20. Jahrhundert zeigt die vorliegende Studie, wie sich jüdisches Selbstbild und Fremdzuschreibung immer wieder wechselseitig bedingt haben.

Spinoza and Medieval Jewish Philosophy

Author: Steven Nadler
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107037867
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The first of its kind, this essay collection offers an extensive examination of Spinoza's relationship to medieval Jewish philosophy.

Light Against Darkness

Author: Armin Lange
Publisher: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
ISBN: 3525550162
Format: PDF, Docs
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Light Against Darkness is comprised of articles that put on display the power and pervasiveness of dualistic thought. Dualism has proved a potent cultural tool for clarifying and ordering reality. Particularly in times of social stress and psychological insecurity, it can offer a valuable conceptual grid that provides orientation to the world and a clear sense of identity. At the same time, though, there are important questions to be asked about the social effects of binary thinking. As history amply illustrates, dualistic notions can readily be deployed to legitimate cultural demonization and to rationalize violence. At a deeper level, a dualist worldview can also obscure the possibilities to be found in multiplicity. The articles in this volume treat Dualism across a wide historical spectrum and from multiple methodological perspectives. The studies are organized around the religious and cultural contexts of Ancient Judaism and they include contributions from leading voices on ancient Persia, Israel, Greece, and Egypt. Experts on modern religious and philosophical thought not only lend context to concepts applied to the ancient world, but engage recent European and American experiments in binary thought. All of the studies contribute to a richer and more complete portrait of dualism in ancient Judaism.

Creating Judaism

Author: Michael L. Satlow
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231509111
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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How can we define "Judaism," and what are the common threads uniting ancient rabbis, Maimonides, the authors of the Zohar, and modern secular Jews in Israel? Michael L. Satlow offers a fresh perspective on Judaism that recognizes both its similarities and its immense diversity. Presenting snapshots of Judaism from around the globe and throughout history, Satlow explores the links between vastly different communities and their Jewish traditions. He studies the geonim, rabbinical scholars who lived in Iraq from the ninth to twelfth centuries; the intellectual flourishing of Jews in medieval Spain; how the Hasidim of nineteenth-century Eastern Europe confronted modernity; and the post-World War II development of distinct American and Israeli Jewish identities. Satlow pays close attention to how communities define themselves, their relationship to biblical and rabbinic texts, and their ritual practices. His fascinating portraits reveal the amazingly creative ways Jews have adapted over time to social and political challenges and continue to remain a "Jewish family."

A Book Forged in Hell

Author: Steven Nadler
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400839513
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When it appeared in 1670, Baruch Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise was denounced as the most dangerous book ever published--"godless," "full of abominations," "a book forged in hell . . . by the devil himself." Religious and secular authorities saw it as a threat to faith, social and political harmony, and everyday morality, and its author was almost universally regarded as a religious subversive and political radical who sought to spread atheism throughout Europe. Yet Spinoza's book has contributed as much as the Declaration of Independence or Thomas Paine's Common Sense to modern liberal, secular, and democratic thinking. In A Book Forged in Hell, Steven Nadler tells the fascinating story of this extraordinary book: its radical claims and their background in the philosophical, religious, and political tensions of the Dutch Golden Age, as well as the vitriolic reaction these ideas inspired. It is not hard to see why Spinoza's Treatise was so important or so controversial, or why the uproar it caused is one of the most significant events in European intellectual history. In the book, Spinoza became the first to argue that the Bible is not literally the word of God but rather a work of human literature; that true religion has nothing to do with theology, liturgical ceremonies, or sectarian dogma; and that religious authorities should have no role in governing a modern state. He also denied the reality of miracles and divine providence, reinterpreted the nature of prophecy, and made an eloquent plea for toleration and democracy. A vivid story of incendiary ideas and vicious backlash, A Book Forged in Hell will interest anyone who is curious about the origin of some of our most cherished modern beliefs.

The Young Spinoza

Author: Yitzhak Y. Melamed
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199971684
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Ex nihilo nihil fit. Philosophy, especially great philosophy, does not appear out of the blue. In the current volume, a team of top scholars-both up-and-coming and established-attempts to trace the philosophical development of one of the greatest philosophers of all time. Featuring twenty new essays and an introduction, it is the first attempt of its kind in English and its appearance coincides with the recent surge of interest in Spinoza in Anglo-American philosophy. Spinoza's fame-or notoriety-is due primarily to his posthumously published magnum opus, the Ethics, and, to a lesser extent, to the 1670 Theological-Political Treatise. Few readers take the time to study his early works carefully. If they do, they are likely to encounter some surprising claims, which often diverge from, or even utterly contradict, the doctrines of the Ethics. Consider just a few of these assertions: that God acts from absolute freedom of will, that God is a whole, that there are no modes in God, that extension is divisible and hence cannot be an attribute of God, and that the intellectual and corporeal substances are modes in relation to God. Yet, though these claims reveal some tension between the early works and the Ethics, there is also a clear continuity between them. Spinoza wrote the Ethics over a long period of time, which spanned most of his philosophical career. The dates of the early drafts of the Ethics seem to overlap with the assumed dates of the composition of the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect and the Short Treatise on God, Man, and His Well Being and precede the publication of Spinoza's 1663 book on Descartes' Principles of Philosophy. For this reason, a study of Spinoza's early works (and correspondence) can illuminate the nature of the problems Spinoza addresses in the Ethics, insofar as the views expressed in the early works help us reconstruct the development and genealogy of the Ethics. Indeed, if we keep in mind the common dictum "nothing comes from nothing"-which Spinoza frequently cites and appeals to-it is clear that great works like the Ethics do not appear ex nihilo. In light of the preeminence and majesty of the Ethics, it is difficult to study the early works without having the Ethics in sight. Still, we would venture to say that the value of Spinoza's early works is not at all limited to their being stations on the road leading to the Ethics. A teleological attitude of such a sort would celebrate the works of the "mature Spinoza" at the expense of the early works. However, we have no reason to assume that on all issues the views of the Ethics are better argued, developed, and motivated than those of the early works. In other words, we should keep our minds open to the possibility that on some issues the early works might contain better analysis and argumentation than the Ethics.