Spinoza's Heresy: Immortality and the Jewish Mind

Spinoza's Heresy: Immortality and the Jewish Mind

by Steven M. Nadler
     
 

"At the heart of Spinoza's Heresy is a mystery: why was Baruch Spinoza so harshly excommunicated from the Amsterdam Jewish community at the age of twenty-four?" "In this philosophical sequel to his biography of the seventeenth-century thinker, Steven Nadler argues that Spinoza's main offence was a denial of the immortality of the soul. But this only deepens the… See more details below

Overview

"At the heart of Spinoza's Heresy is a mystery: why was Baruch Spinoza so harshly excommunicated from the Amsterdam Jewish community at the age of twenty-four?" "In this philosophical sequel to his biography of the seventeenth-century thinker, Steven Nadler argues that Spinoza's main offence was a denial of the immortality of the soul. But this only deepens the mystery. For there is no specific Jewish dogma regarding immortality: there is nothing that a Jew is required to believe about the soul and the afterlife. It was, however, for various religious, historical and political reasons, simply the wrong issue to pick on in Amsterdam in the 1650s." Aftering considering the nature of the ban, or cherem, as a disciplinary tool in the Sephardic community, and a number of possible explanations for Spinoza's ban, Nadler turns to the variety of traditions in Jewish religious thought on the post-mortem fate of a person's soul. This is followed by an examination of Spinoza's own views on the eternity of the mind and the role that the denial of personal immortality plays in his overall philosophical project. Nadler argues that Spinoza's beliefs were not only an outgrowth of his own metaphysical principles, but also a culmination of an intellectualist trend in Jewish rationalism.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199268870
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
02/26/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
1Cherem in Amsterdam1
2Abominations and Heresies16
3Patriarchs, Prophets, and Rabbis42
4The Philosophers67
5Eternity and Immortality94
6The Life of Reason132
7Immortality on the Amstel157
Conclusion182
Notes185
Bibliography213
Index223

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