A Theologico-Political Treatise Epub à A

A Theologico-Political Treatise Epub à A


A Theologico-Political Treatise (Illustrated) [PDF / Epub] ☉ A Theologico-Political Treatise (Illustrated) By Baruch Spinoza – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk Illustrated with unique illustrationsBaruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Jewish origin Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza s work was Illustrated withunique illustrationsBaruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Jewish origin Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza s work was not fully realized until years after his death Today, he is considered one of the great rationalists of th century philosophy, laying the groundwork for the th century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism By virtue of his magnum opus, the posthumous Ethics, Spinoza is also considered one of Western philosophy s definitive ethicists.

    Kindle Welcome to the Kindle ereader store considered one of Western philosophy s definitive ethicists."/>
  • Kindle Edition
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  • A Theologico-Political Treatise (Illustrated)
  • Baruch Spinoza
  • English
  • 10 July 2018

About the Author: Baruch Spinoza

Baruch Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher The breadth and importance of Spinoza s work was not fully realized until many years after his death By laying the groundwork for the th century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and, arguably, the universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of th century philosophy His magnum opus, the posthumous Ethics, in which he opposed Descartes mind body dualism, has earned him recognition as one of Western philosophy s most important thinkers In the Ethics, Spinoza wrote the last indisputable Latin A Theologico-Political Epub / masterpiece, and one in which the refined conceptions of medieval philosophy are finally turned against themselves and destroyed entirely Philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said of all contemporary philosophers, You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all.



10 thoughts on “A Theologico-Political Treatise (Illustrated)

  1. Owlseyes Owlseyes says:

    God is nature, and nature is God An in depth incursion, by an excommunicated Jew , into the authorship of the Pentateuch and other Old Testament books Moses at the stake An insightful analysis of the language, by an expert in Hebrew language, as Spinoza was The writings of the Apostles are approached too Finally, the analysis of the foundations of the State, the nature of the Law.and the main point of Baruch Spinoza the King is not above criticism, but he may be the object o God is nature, and nature is God An in depth incursion, by an excommunicated Jew , into the authorship of the Pentateuch and other Old Testament books Moses at the stake An insightful analysis of the language, by an expert in Hebrew language, as Spinoza was The writings of the Apostles are approached too Finally, the analysis of the foundations of the State, the nature of the Law.and the main point of Baruch Spinoza the King is not above criticism, but he may be the object of.ON TABLIT QUE DANS UN TAT LIBRECHACUN A LE DROIT DE PENSER CE QU ILVEUT ET DE DIRE CE QU IL PENSE Sentence of Excommunication quote Espinoza be put to the herem ban and banished from the nation of Israelby the decree of the Angels and the word of the Saints we ban, cut off, curse and anathematize Baruch de Espinozawith all the curses written in the Torah July 27, 1656 It s established that in a free State each one has the right to think whatever he she wants and to say whatever he she thinks.Satirical Note edicts including an injunction to stop using WhatsApp in

  2. Satyajeet Satyajeet says:

    One quote review.An excerpt from the book The affirmations and the negations of God always involve necessity or truth so that, for example, if God said to Adam that He did not wish him to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it would have involved a contradiction that Adam should have been able to eat of it, and would, therefore, have been impossible that he should have so eaten, for the Divine command would have involved an eternal necessity and truth But since Scripture neverthe One quote review.An excerpt from the book The affirmations and the negations of God always involve necessity or truth so that, for example, if God said to Adam that He did not wish him to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it would have involved a contradiction that Adam should have been able to eat of it, and would, therefore, have been impossible that he should have so eaten, for the Divine command would have involved an eternal necessity and truth But since Scripture nevertheless narrates that God did give this command to Adam, and yet that none the less Adam ate of the tree, we must perforce say that God revealed to Adam the evil which would surely follow if he should eat of the tree, but did not disclose that such evil would of necessity come to pass Thus it was that Adam took the revelation to be not an eternal and necessary truth, but a law that is, an ordinance followed by gain or loss, not depending necessarily on the nature of the act performed, but solely on the will and absolute power of some potentate, so that the revelation in question was solely in relation to Adam, and solely through his lack of knowledge a law, and God was, as it were, a lawgiver and potentate From the same cause, namely, from lack of knowledge, the Decalogue in relation to the Hebrews was a law We conclude, therefore, that God is described as a lawgiver or prince, and styled just, merciful, etc., merely in concession to popular understanding, and the imperfection of popular knowledge that in reality God acts and directs all things simply by the necessity of His nature and perfection, and that His decrees and volitions are eternal truths, and always involve necessity The key words in the excerpt are solely through the lack of knowledge the whole anthropomorphic domain of law, njunction, moral command, et cetera, is based on our ignorance and the proposed ontological ethics are deprived of the deontological dimension._______________________________Also, Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health But that is not prohibited obviously Nothing is, nothing can be you re just informed of a c usal link

  3. Mary Mary says:

    The Enlightenment book on tolerance Argues that scripture is not just interpreted subjectively but was written subjectively, because God can communicate to men only elliptically, using symbolism and cultural tropes Calls for intellectual freedom all over the place P eople must be governed in such a way that they can live in harmony, even though they openly hold different and contradictory opinions We cannot doubt that this is the best way of ruling, and has the least disadvantages, since it The Enlightenment book on tolerance Argues that scripture is not just interpreted subjectively but was written subjectively, because God can communicate to men only elliptically, using symbolism and cultural tropes Calls for intellectual freedom all over the place P eople must be governed in such a way that they can live in harmony, even though they openly hold different and contradictory opinions We cannot doubt that this is the best way of ruling, and has the least disadvantages, since it is the one most in harmony with human nature In a democratic state which is the one closest to the state of nature all men agree, as we showed above, to act but not judge or think according to the common decision That is, because people cannot all have the same opinions, they have agreed that the view which gains the most votes should acquire the forces of a decision A Free State 14.Here Spinoza is making his argument for philosophical freedom, and simultaneously placing limits of freedom to break the laws of a state Freedom to think, but not to act This passage is interesting to me, in part, because I ve just finished reading Walter Benn Micheal s The Trouble with Diversity , in which he ridicules among other things the idea of diversity of thought Should we let our business board meetings include people who think the business shouldn t exist Should we let hard core creationists teach high school biology No, he says Ideas aren t identity ideas should battle each other to the death In the ideal world, there wouldn t be Democrats or Republicans because we ve just have Government No politics, only policies.Spinoza s tack is rather different He suggests the kind of pluralism where people openly hold different and contradictory opinions despite the way that they agree to act Spinoza doesn t seem to spend a lot of time talking about how these opinions might interface with people s compliance to act, except where he says earlier that pious dogmas don t have to be true, not only such as are necessary for inculcating obedience i.e those that confirm the mind in love towards our neighbor Faith and Philosophy 8 This seems to imply and I might be making a leap here that as long as your opinions don t break down society into violent chaos, that you can think what you d like Like Michaels, Spinoza expects these ideas to have to battle it out, except not for philosophical dominance, but in political The tyranny of the majority can force a decision, but only a decision of action, not a decision of opinion, which remains stubbornly individual.Two books or one book Your quote about that everything happens according to natural laws, and to say that everything is ordained by the decree and ordinance of God, is the same thing was also something that I was thinking about, because not just that nature and scripture are equal, but scripture is only an expression of nature.Even God is an expection of nature God acts and governs all things from teh necessity of his own nature On divine law As you said, and Spinoza, the prophetic gift was not peculiar to the Jews, but common to all peoples On the vocation of the Hebrews , and only the phenomena of nature we understand clearly and sitinctly that enhance our knowledge of God and reveal as clearly as possible the will and decree of God On miracles 7 , SO, then my question becomes this is prophetic natural law expressed or created I think this will lead into the political questions that Spinoza foreshadowing will address later what is the purpose of society Is it to just desire that to which nature points them On ceremonies and narratives

  4. Kelly Head Kelly Head says:

    Like Nietzsche, who adored Spinoza and called him the purest philosopher, and Hobbes, whom Spinoza had read and admired, there is a certain brutal honesty in Spinoza s philosophy that comes through vividly in the Theological Political Treatise This short work, produced in Amsterdam in the 17th century at the height of Calvin s influence, was actually written after hisfamous Ethics, though published before it Spinoza here describes his views of the relationship between Scripture, the St Like Nietzsche, who adored Spinoza and called him the purest philosopher, and Hobbes, whom Spinoza had read and admired, there is a certain brutal honesty in Spinoza s philosophy that comes through vividly in the Theological Political Treatise This short work, produced in Amsterdam in the 17th century at the height of Calvin s influence, was actually written after hisfamous Ethics, though published before it Spinoza here describes his views of the relationship between Scripture, the State, God, and Nature In many ways, Spinoza is the first modern biblical scholar as he takes the Bible as his data points for reconstructing the actual history behind the text He was excommunicated from the Jewish community in Amsterdam for his heretical views, e.g miracles do not occur and Moses did not write the entire Torah, and he elaborates on these views in the TTP Because Spinoza equates Nature with God and the divine law with the natural law, there are times when he seems to endorse power as the ultimate organizing force of life and society At other times he says things like the most natural state of society is democracy, the only commandments to love God and love your neighbor, and true piety consists merely in justice and charity He claims that Jesus is the Voice of God and yet God is depicted as being remote and impersonal There is a duplicity here that I can t quite put my finger on like he wants to preserve a sense of goodness while neutralizing everything under the will to power exercised by nature and political sovereigns My motto is beware of the philosophers of COLD HARD TRUTH As William James said, What has concluded, that we should conclude about it

  5. Joe Joe says:

    Review June 2007Philosophy, the Elite, and the Future Men would never be superstitious, if they could govern all their circumstances by set rules, or if they were always favored by fortune Thus begins one of the greatest books in the history of philosophy Spinoza is an esoteric writer he doesn t shout everything he has to say, though an attentive reader has a chance, however slight, to discern at least part of it The existence of this philosophical political esotericism, first adequately Review June 2007Philosophy, the Elite, and the Future Men would never be superstitious, if they could govern all their circumstances by set rules, or if they were always favored by fortune Thus begins one of the greatest books in the history of philosophy Spinoza is an esoteric writer he doesn t shout everything he has to say, though an attentive reader has a chance, however slight, to discern at least part of it The existence of this philosophical political esotericism, first adequately described by Leo Strauss in Spinoza s Critique of Religion , is now on the verge of becoming generally accepted For a very good example of this new, but qualified, acceptance of Spinoza s esotericism from a left postmodern perspective, check out the recent collection of essays, The New Spinoza , edited by Montag Stolze, especially the essay by Andre Tosel But the history of Spinoza reception is another story and another review Many modern readers of Spinoza speak with vague unease about Spinoza s elitism , supposing it to be but another slight of the poor, weak and uneducated we can perhaps begin to gauge the full length, breadth and depth of this philosophical elitism , and its true target, in a focused reading of the opening pages of the Preface to the Theologico Political Treatise The human mind is readily swayed this way or that in times of doubt, especially when hope and fear are struggling for the mastery, though usually it is boastful, over confident, and vain Thus the problem with Man is not, strictly speaking, merely a lack of knowledge and therefore the problem is not merely a lack of education but also, and perhaps most importantly, a lack of self control Immediately, Spinoza follows this sentence by saying, t his as a general fact I suppose everyone knows, though few, I believe, know their own nature There is a disconnect not only between knowing and doing but also between knowing in general and knowing oneself In order to do good how important is it to know yourself There are several ways to understand this One possible way is to say that even those sainted elites that know are, nevertheless, unable to control their emotional behavior Perhaps it is even this emotiveness that is especially vulnerable to superstition But men, in prosperity, are so over brimming with wisdom that they take every offer of advice as a personal insult Still, we are not surprised to read that superstition s chief victims are those persons who greedily covet temporal advantages Note that it is not chiefly ordinary people that greedily covet temporal advantages nor is it said that they are in prosperity And, a little later, we learn that these people are wont with prayers and womanish tears to implore help from God Indeed, Spinoza, when giving an example of this despicable behavior under duress turns to no less an exemplar than Alexander the Great and his superstitious seeking of advice from seers Now, the use of Alexander in this regard is a vital clue in our attempt to understand Spinoza s esotericism i.e., his political philosophy The question is this If Spinoza is indeed an elitist, exactly what is the position that can look down on not only the common people but also the actual elite i.e., the religious and political leaders Well, of course, Spinoza is a philosopher indeed he is one of the greatest This understanding of philosophy, as the heights from which one looks down on everyone, is an old one See, for instance, Averroes in the so called Decisive Treatise for an overt example of the philosophical attempt to control a faction of the medieval elite i.e., the theologians with another faction of the medieval elite the Islamic Jurists Also, one should of course consider Machiavelli s Prince for a somewhatcircumspect or covert example of philosophy attempting to control the direction of politics and the political elite Spinoza s decision to view politics and theology or politicians and theologians as dangers that need to be moderated philosophically is thus not unprecedented Also, on this line of thought one should perhaps also take into account Nietzsche who, in the Genealogy of Morals , seems to go so far as to present history itself as a struggle between priestly and warrior noble castes In electing to use Alexander as an example of superstition Spinoza is indicating that philosophy is above both religion and politics Indeed, Spinoza continues in a ahem Nietzschean vein and says, that prophets have most power among the people, and are most formidable to rulers, precisely at those times when the state is in most peril I think this is sufficiently plain to all, and will therefore say noon the subject Well perhaps not entirely plain this basically says, for those that have ears to hear Statesman Either satisfy the common people or forfeit your right to rule to the prophets and their theologians Thus the war between priestly and warrior castes was quietly noted, by Spinoza, long before Nietzsche As an aside I should perhaps note that one also finds oneself perhaps nervously asking, at this point, are people today satisfied Kojeve, the architect of the most recent apotheosis of the political i.e., the Universal Homogenous State , seems to confirm this interpretation in his Introduction to the Reading of Hegel by saying that as long as History continues, or as long as the perfect State is not realized the opposition of these two points of view the philosophical and the religious or theological is inevitable Of course Kojeve, following a Hegel that never existed, attempts to convince us that politics and philosophy are exactly the same and that theology was ever nothing His mistake, from the viewpoint of philosophy, can perhaps be said to be that he took sides in the interminable war between elites But that is another story However, Kojeve is correct insofar as he is understood to be maintaining that there is an unbridgeable gulf between the political and the religious Back to Spinoza Satisfying the common people seems to be easier said than done In a terrifyingly memorable passage that is both a diagnosis and a prophecy Spinoza writes, f or, as the mass of mankind remains always at about the same pitch of misery, it never assents long to any one remedy, but is always best pleased by a novelty which has not yet proved illusive Thus, given the perpetual emotional dissatisfaction of the people, Spinoza seems to be indicating that no one ever rules for long He also seems to be indicating that emotions at least among the mass of mankind are uncontrollable and that the people are, in the long run, unsatisfiable So exactly what is Enlightenment and exactly why is Spinoza supporting it Hmmm Superstition, then, is engendered, preserved and fostered by fear , Spinoza had earlier said But fear is an opportunity for philosophy, I mean for philosophical intervention Machiavelli in The Prince , chapter 6 , after all, had already confirmed that the oppression, dissatisfaction and dispersal of the people was, above all, an opportunity for the creative One Spinoza says that, Prophets have most power among the people, and are most formidable to rulers, precisely at those times when the state is in most peril The fundamental argument and struggle , of course, between philosophers and the political religious elites, seems to be over the exact identity of the creative One For the religiously inclined the creative one is God and those who act in his name, for the politically pious the creative one is the hereditary, patriotic or revolutionary Prince For Machiavelli, Spinoza, and Nietzsche one suspects that, behind the scenes and between the lines , the creative one the bringer of New Modes and Orders, to quote Machiavelli can only be the philosopher Spinoza continues, quoting Curtius the historian of Alexander The mob has no rulerpotent than superstition, and Spinoza immediately adds, and is easily led, on the plea of religion, at one moment to adore its kings as gods, and anon to execrate and abjure them as humanity s common bane Thus superstition would seem potentially to be either a weapon of the religious or the political This is a warning but to exactly whom seems to be a bit unclear I should mention that it is not impossible to read Machiavelli, with his high praise of ancient pagan religion, to be indicating much the same that is, the necessary permanence of superstition But, exactly what can and can t be done with superstition The way out of this seemingly unpredictable and uncontrollable mess One possible solution, according to Spinoza, is given by the Turk They have instituted a system that invests religion, whether true or false, with such pomp and ceremony, that it may rise superior to every shock Of course, as Spinoza indicates, this absolutism leaves no room for either individual freedom or a thoughtful philosophy But then Spinoza adds, yet in a free state nomischievous expedient could be planned or attempted So, after discussing and discounting the possibility of theocracy the Turks Spinoza advocates the system allegedly reigning in Amsterdam freedom and commerce Whew Now, in case some have been asleep for the past 300 years, I will point out that the rise of democracy was not always accomplished peaceably, nor, after its rise, has it been able to always maintain the peace The test of being able to maintain the peace that Spinoza flings in the face of the Religion of his times can today, with equal appropriateness, be flung in the face of politics I of course mean all politics But that too is another book and another review Spinoza can be said to here begin a process that leads to us I hope I have begun the process of showing that the target of Spinoza s contempt was not the common people, but the ignorance and weakness of all their tormenters I also want to note, given both the nature of these elites and also the perpetual suffering of the people, that all solutions are transient And that the early modern philosophical turn to the politicos, made in the teeth of ceaseless religious war, was only a maneuver Over the past century philosophy found itself again in an era of civil wars, revolutions and world wars one wonders where philosophy will now turn in its never ending struggle to moderate elites Who will write the next Theologico Political Treatise that will do to political Ideology what Spinoza here does to religious Revelation Where is the next novelty

  6. Griffin Wilson Griffin Wilson says:

    Classic work in philosophy, politics, and theology which laid the groundwork for modern biblical criticism Obviously his speculations of the authorship of the Old Testament are now quite outdated, but his thoughts concerning interpretation and philosophy of religion are still quite relevant and interesting.Spinoza takes a third way when it comes to interpreting the scriptures One school Augustine, Maimonides, Ibn Rushd etc advocated making the scriptures subservient to reason if they do n Classic work in philosophy, politics, and theology which laid the groundwork for modern biblical criticism Obviously his speculations of the authorship of the Old Testament are now quite outdated, but his thoughts concerning interpretation and philosophy of religion are still quite relevant and interesting.Spinoza takes a third way when it comes to interpreting the scriptures One school Augustine, Maimonides, Ibn Rushd etc advocated making the scriptures subservient to reason if they do not agree with reason interpretallegorically while the other Luther, Al Ghazali, etc advocated to make reason subservient to the scriptures interpretliterally.Spinoza wants to divorce philosophy and theology in claiming that they operate in their own, completely separate, realms theology and revelation is meant to inspire obedience and piety in the people while philosophy is meant to inspire reason and truth Currently I am in favor of some version of this argument, although I think Kant did a better job than Spinoza at banishing philosophy from theology and theology from philosophy

  7. Buck Buck says:

    The most radical kind of Liberalism you will ever be able to survey from 17th century thought, maybe

  8. Diyar Ahmed Diyar Ahmed says:

    If you wanna read an extraordinary research on religion, prophets, miracle, scriptures based on philosophical arguments this book is the right choice It is also an analysis of the bible by a science called philology Spinoza argues that the bible we see today is not the actual revelation of god rather it is just telling stories of the prophets after hundreds of years of their death And finally it talks about the style of ruling of Jews from the days of Moses and the factors that made their emp If you wanna read an extraordinary research on religion, prophets, miracle, scriptures based on philosophical arguments this book is the right choice It is also an analysis of the bible by a science called philology Spinoza argues that the bible we see today is not the actual revelation of god rather it is just telling stories of the prophets after hundreds of years of their death And finally it talks about the style of ruling of Jews from the days of Moses and the factors that made their empire not c0llpase forthan a thousand years

  9. Otto Lehto Otto Lehto says:

    If there ever was a philosopher capable of endearing himself to the devoted and skeptical alike, it was Spinoza Through his courageous example, we can learn to love God Nature Truth, and love to use our reason.The philosopher s work on the Bible is a groundbreaking exposition of the historical conditions that underlie religious texts It explains the Bible in strikingly modern, critical terms, and in line with Spinoza s other work, it provides an interpretation of God in rational, naturalistic, If there ever was a philosopher capable of endearing himself to the devoted and skeptical alike, it was Spinoza Through his courageous example, we can learn to love God Nature Truth, and love to use our reason.The philosopher s work on the Bible is a groundbreaking exposition of the historical conditions that underlie religious texts It explains the Bible in strikingly modern, critical terms, and in line with Spinoza s other work, it provides an interpretation of God in rational, naturalistic, pantheistic terms These two aspects Biblical criticism and original theological insight ultimately lead to humanistic and liberal conclusions about Spinoza s ideal state, under which liberty of conscience and freedom of speech are to be firmly protected, so that the true religion of rational piety can be exercised without obstruction and persecution.Those who are familiar with Spinoza will know that he takes God and religion very seriously But they will also know that he opposes all forms of superstition, and sees no place for boring miracles, clever tricks and divine subterfuges Unfortunately he sees the popular imagination as being prone to interpret everything according to their hazy notions of divinity The masses areimpressed by magic tricks and wild claims than by the rational beauty of God s creation, and Spinoza saw the Bible as being tailored to their uncultured and unscientific tastes and worldviews He laments the superstitions and weaknesses of the preliterate people for whom the Bible was written, but the same goes even for his contemporaries The Theological Political Treatise could best be understood as an attempt to illuminate the educated reader that every man should think what he likes and say what he thinks ch XX At its best, the book clearly exposes the all too human origins of prophecies and divine texts He sees the Bible as a collection of inspired texts, encapsulating the history and theology of the Jewish nation, selected from a large selection of texts, some of which have not survived, bound together at a much later date by Jewish scholars, originally written by prophets and evenlikely courtly historians The language of the book s ranges from prosaic to poetic, reflecting the different styles and aims of their authors, and it is exceedingly difficult to tell which of its stories are supposed to be true and which are only metaphorical and allegorical or downright false due to the poor scientific understanding of the time Spinoza argues that Moses was a lawgiver because he re founded the nation of Israel, and that is why he spoke of religion in terms of law, punishment, reward, nation state, etc Some of the other prophets, on the other hand, were people of vivid imagination , who saw dreams and visions of God, and conveyed their theological insight in a way that wasmetaphorical and poetic Thus God was different things to different people, and Spinoza was acutely aware of the contradictions and tensions in the Bible Some of the most detailed and advanced arguments in the book deal with self contradictory chronologies and other internal discrepancies, where Spinoza shows, step by step, that a literal reading of the Bible is doomed to fail This is why critical Biblical scholarship owes a huge deal to Spinoza s groundbreaking work.That said, the detail oriented approach of the book can become heavy, at times The philosophical insights of the book are copious, but they are hidden beneath a barrage of facts, explanations, textual exegesis and tangential asides In addition, some of the Biblical scholarship has naturally been superseded long ago bymodern interpretations Spinoza s far fetched theories about the authorship of the books of Moses are hardly supported by most scholars today But let me be clear it is not like Spinoza sounds tame even by today s secular standards Some of his arguments would probably shock even the most intrepid scholar.So, although the book occupies a strange place, since it is neither as succinct or philosophically focused as the Ethics, nor as up to date and rigorous as contemporary scholarship on the Bible, it sheds crucial light on many important aspects of Spinoza s philosophy, and it offers a magnificent example of the power of reason, capable of loving God, applied to the very important and very contentious topic of popular religion.By looking at Christianity critically, it allows us to discover what is perennially valuable in its message, and what is merely the accidental result both understandable and lamentable of its historical context

  10. Kamran Swanson Kamran Swanson says:

    Summary Published anonymously in 1670 Netherlands, Spinoza s attempt here is to address and critique the widespread religious beliefs and biblical interpretations that people use to justify various moral and political beliefs Spinoza s ultimate stance is that the Bible is written by human hands, that prophets have insight to divine will but dress their stories in human imagination, that miracles are a testament to our own ignorance rather than supernatural intervention, and that the only true Summary Published anonymously in 1670 Netherlands, Spinoza s attempt here is to address and critique the widespread religious beliefs and biblical interpretations that people use to justify various moral and political beliefs Spinoza s ultimate stance is that the Bible is written by human hands, that prophets have insight to divine will but dress their stories in human imagination, that miracles are a testament to our own ignorance rather than supernatural intervention, and that the only true commandment is to love you neighbor and act with justice For Spinoza, the true religion is accessible through reason alone, and is not the sole province of Judaism, Christianity, or any other major world religion God exists, but is nothing but nature Divine law and natural law are coextensive Spinoza s final chapters argue for a sort of absolutist democracy, where the people themselves are the absolute sovereigns of the state Though this sovereign power should have absolute right to place laws and restrictions on actions whatever is for the benefit of the state , the state should not exercise any laws or actions that restrict speech or thought As such, it is one of the earliest defenses of free speech of the modern era Review This is such a wonderful and therapeutic book for the polluted way in which both the religious and non religious hold the value of the Bible and religion I m an atheist, but was inspired to read the Bible after Spinoza s critique I believe he is attempting a sort of dialectic critique on his audience s dogmatic beliefs, initially critiquing his audience s beliefs about prophets and prophecies, then moving on to miracles, and finally engaging in a thorough critique of biblical interpretation itself If a reader has read the book seriously, I believe many traditional religious beliefs would have been undermined or cast into a new light by the end of Chapter 7 From there, the critique continues until the full implications of his critique of religion are revealed by Chapter 15 I left this book feeling both inspired to becharitable of the Bible, and resolved in my belief that the majority of religious beliefs are disloyal to the true moral law of justice and neighborly love, and that the adherence to traditional religions is nothing but destructive to a free and healthy society

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