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

Paperback | January 23, 2014

bySusan James

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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-centurythought. 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. She identifies the interlocking theological, hermeneutic, historical, philosophical, and political positions to which Spinoza was responding, showswho 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 onthe 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.

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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-centurythought. But it is also a fierce and polemical ...

Susan James is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College London, and the author of several books, including Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy, also published by Oxford University Press. Her main areas of interest are early-modern philosophy, feminist philosophy, political philosophy, and the intersec...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:360 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:January 23, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198701217

ISBN - 13:9780198701217

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Spinoza's ProjectPart 1. Revelation2. The Meaning of Prophecy3. What Divine Law Is Not4. What Divine Law Is5. WorshipPart 2. Demystifying the Bible6. The Meaning of Scripture7. Putting the Proper Interpretative Method to WorkPart 3. Meeting the Demands of a Religious Life8. True Religion9. Theology and PhilosophyPart 4. The Politics of True Religion10. Life in a Republic. The Lessons of Philosophy11. Life in a Republic. The Lessons of Theology12. Sovereignty and FreedomBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"James's style is elegant, and her reading of Spinoza's text is both perceptive and thorough ... a serious and important work in which the author reads Spinoza's text very closely." --Yitzhak Y. Melamed, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews