By Steven Nadler

ISBN-10: 069113989X

ISBN-13: 9780691139890

While it seemed in 1670, Baruch Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise was once denounced because the most deadly ebook ever published--"godless," "full of abominations," "a e-book solid in hell . . . by way of the satan himself." spiritual and secular professionals observed it as a hazard to religion, social and political concord, and daily morality, and its writer was once virtually universally considered as a non secular subversive and political radical who sought to unfold atheism all through Europe. but Spinoza's booklet has contributed up to the assertion of Independence or Thomas Paine's logic to fashionable liberal, secular, and democratic considering. In A e-book solid in Hell, Steven Nadler tells the attention-grabbing tale of this awesome e-book: its radical claims and their history within the philosophical, spiritual, and political tensions of the Dutch Golden Age, in addition to the vitriolic response those principles inspired.

It isn't really demanding to determine why Spinoza's Treatise used to be so very important or so arguable, or why the uproar it triggered is among the most important occasions in eu highbrow historical past. within the booklet, Spinoza grew to become the 1st to argue that the Bible isn't really actually the observe of God yet quite a piece of human literature; that real faith has not anything to do with theology, liturgical ceremonies, or sectarian dogma; and that non secular specialists should not have any position in governing a contemporary nation. He additionally denied the truth of miracles and divine windfall, reinterpreted the character of prophecy, and made an eloquent plea for toleration and democracy.

A brilliant tale of incendiary principles and cruel backlash, A booklet solid in Hell will curiosity someone who's thinking about the beginning of a few of our so much adored sleek ideals.

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

Sample text

What one does results less from the random way that external things happen to affect one and more from one’s grasp of the truth about the world. The free individual described in the Ethics acts from knowledge, not emotion. The Treatise is an extended plea for freedom in the civic realm: freedom of thought and expression, and especially freedom of philosophizing and freedom of religion (at least to the extent that it does not involve public activities). These latter two freedoms are most definitely not to be confused with each other: one regards the pursuit of truth, the other is about encouraging moral behavior.

People will experience envy, jealousy, love, hate, hope, and fear as they compete for the things they value. The virtuous person who is governed by reason, however, will not only see that these transitory goods contribute nothing to real happiness but will also recognize that his own well-being is best fostered when he is surrounded by other virtuous people who are living according to reason—that is, other people who know what the true goods are and pursue them, and who therefore are flourishing.

Composed not only of political liberals and philosophical progressives, his audience ranged from atheists to pious believers, from democrats to monarchists. It was, above all, a Christian audience. Lest he alienate any segment of it, he had to be careful in how he made his points in a work intended to effect a radical rethinking and bring about serious theological-political change. , postmedieval) product. This is because the problem it addresses—the theological-political problem—arises in Europe with the greatest urgency at the political and religious crossroads of the sixteenth century.

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

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