Jewish Themes in Spinoza's Philosophy

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Explores Jewish aspects of Spinoza's philosophy from a wide variety of perspectives.
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Editorial Reviews

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

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 (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791453100
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Series: SUNY Series in Jewish Philosophy
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (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


Part I. Laying the Groundwork

1. Introduction
Heidi M. Ravven and Lenn E. Goodman

2. What Does Spinoza's Ethics Contribute to Jewish Philosophy?
Lenn E. Goodman

Part II. Metaphysics

3. Love of God in Spinoza
Lee C. Rice

4. Spinoza's Metaphysical Hebraism or Hebraic Metaphysics
Warren Zev Harvey

5. Maimonides, Spinoza, and the Problem of Creation
Kenneth Seeskin

6. “That Hebrew Word”: Spinoza and the Doctrine of the Shekhinah
Warren Montag

Part III. Theology and Epistemology

7. Maimonides, Spinoza, and the Book of Job
Edwin M. Curley

8. Spinoza's Rupture with Tradition—His Hints of a Jewish Modernity
Heidi M. Ravven

9. Why Spinoza Chose the Hebrews: The Exemplary Function of Prophecy in the Theological-Political Treatise
Michael A. Rosenthal

Part IV. The Historical Setting

10. Spinoza's Excommunication
Richard H. Popkin

About the Contributors


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