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A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza's Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age
     

A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza's Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age

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by Steven Nadler
 

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ISBN-10: 069113989X

ISBN-13: 9780691139890

Pub. Date: 10/09/2011

Publisher: Princeton University Press

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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691139890
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
10/09/2011
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.54(h) x 0.94(d)

Table of Contents


Preface xi Acknowledgments xvii Chapter 1: Prologue 1
Chapter 2: The Theological-Political Problem 17
Chapter 3: Rasphuis 36
Chapter 4: Gods and Prophets 52
Chapter 5: Miracles 76
Chapter 6: Scripture 104
Chapter 7: Judaism, Christianity, and True Religion 143
Chapter 8: Faith, Reason, and the State 176
Chapter 9: Libertas philosophandi 200
Chapter 10: The Onslaught 215
A Note on Texts and Translations 241
Abbreviations 243
Notes 245
Bibliography 267
Index 277

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A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza's Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
rtj525 More than 1 year ago
I am not a philosopher or student, just an interested reader. I came to this book via Jonathan Israel's A REVOLUTION OF THE MIND (another thought provoker). While reading this book, I decided to read deeper into Spinoza's TREATISE and ETHICS. If you have an interest in how thought evolved, this may be of interest.