Susan James

in Spinoza on Philosophy, Religion, and Politics

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199698127
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740558 | DOI:

Show Summary Details


The introduction sets out a distinctive methodological approach to the study of the Theologico‐Political Treatise. In contrast to the stances taken by many other commentators, this book illuminates the argument of the Treatise by setting it in the historical context of the political and theological debates of the Dutch Republic to which Spinoza is contributing. The work emerges as a highly critical intervention in a series of interconnected disputes. Spinoza aims to discredit a range of influential parties and redirect the course of power. At the same time, he attempts to analyse the conditions in which Dutch citizens can best progress towards the good life that he outlines in his Ethics. His argument is conducted on two levels, the philosophical and the imaginary, each of which has its own authority. To understand the Treatise, it is vital to be sensitive to these registers and to Spinoza's continual shifts from one to the other.

Keywords: methodological approach; political context; theological context; relation of Tractatus Theologico‐Politicus to Ethics; imagination; philosophy

Chapter.  2714 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.