Jewish Themes in Spinoza's Philosophy

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Breaking new ground in the study of Spinoza's philosophy, the essays in this volume explore the extent to which Spinoza may be considered a Jewish thinker. The rich diversity of Spinoza scholarship today is represented here by a wide range of intellectual methods and scholarly perspectives-from Jewish philosophy and history, to Cartesian-analytic and Continental-Marxist streams of interpretation, to the disciplines of political science and intellectual history. Two questions underlie all the essays: How and in ...
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Overview

Breaking new ground in the study of Spinoza's philosophy, the essays in this volume explore the extent to which Spinoza may be considered a Jewish thinker. The rich diversity of Spinoza scholarship today is represented here by a wide range of intellectual methods and scholarly perspectives-from Jewish philosophy and history, to Cartesian-analytic and Continental-Marxist streams of interpretation, to the disciplines of political science and intellectual history. Two questions underlie all the essays: How and in what measure is Spinoza's a Jewish philosophy, and what is its impact on the project of Jewish philosophy as a living enterprise now and for the future? The contributors' varied perspectives afford a highly nuanced vision of the multifaceted Judaic tradition itself, as refracted through the Spinozist lens. What draws them together is the quest for enduring insights that emerge from the philosophy of Spinoza.

Author Biography: Heidi M. Ravven is Professor of Religious Studies at Hamilton College. Lenn E. Goodman is Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of many books, including Jewish and Islamic Philosophy: Crosspollinations in the Classic Age, and the editor of Neoplatonism and Jewish Thought, also from SUNY Press.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Explores the influences and reflections of Jewish philosophy in Spinoza's writing. The ten papers propose that Spinoza grafted together the parallel shoots of Jewish monotheism and Western philosophical monism, found in the Hebrew language seeds for the distinctive categories of his metaphysics and ethics, and borrowed the Ancient Jewish Commonwealth for his model of a modern and democratic state. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
“This is the first serious attempt to offer a sophisticated look at Spinoza’s relationship to Jewish philosophy and religion. It is an excellent collection of essays, and absolutely central to understanding Spinoza and his place in the history of Jewish philosophy.” — Steven Nadler, author of Spinoza: A Life

“Without imposing upon themselves or Spinoza a single definition of Judaism or ‘Judeity,’ the authors manage to refresh inquiry in three fields: the history of European thought, premodern Jewish intellectual history, and the scope of Jewish culture in postmodernity.” — Kalman P. Bland, author of The Artless Jew: Medieval and Modern Affirmations and Denials of the Visual

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791453094
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Series: SUNY series in Jewish Philosophy Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Heidi M. Ravven is Professor of Religious Studies at Hamilton College.

Lenn E. Goodman is Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of many books, including Jewish and Islamic Philosophy: Crosspollinations in the Classic Age, and the editor of Neoplatonism and Jewish Thought, also from SUNY Press.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Pt. I Laying the Groundwork
1 Introduction 3
2 What Does Spinoza's Ethics Contribute to Jewish Philosophy? 17
Pt. II Metaphysics
3 Love of God in Spinoza 93
4 Spinoza's Metaphysical Hebraism 107
5 Maimonides, Spinoza, and the Problem of Creation 115
6 "That Hebrew Word": Spinoza and the Concept of the Shekhinah 131
Pt. III Theology and Epistemology
7 Maimonides, Spinoza, and the Book of Job 147
8 Spinoza's Rupture with Tradition - His Hints of a Jewish Modernity 187
9 Why Spinoza Chose the Hebrews: The Exemplary Function of Prophecy in the Theological-Political Treatise 225
Pt. IV The Historical Setting
10 Spinoza's Excommunication 263
About the Contributors 281
Index 283
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