Chapter

The Meaning of Prophecy

Susan James

in Spinoza on Philosophy, Religion, and Politics

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199698127
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740558 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199698127.003.0003
 							The Meaning of Prophecy

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Spinoza's critique of false or superstitious religion initially focuses on the interpretation of the Bible. The first six chapters of the Treatise use a mixture of philosophical and biblical arguments to show what Scripture does not determine, and thus what philosophy is free to investigate. Much of this argument hinges on the analysis of prophecy or revelation with which Spinoza begins. Once prophecy is properly understood, he contends, it becomes clear that the prophets were not competent to speak authoritatively about philosophy, and thus that their views on philosophical topics do not have to be accepted. This chapter shows how Spinoza's position relates to his other philosophical commitments, particularly to the division between imagination and reason. It also indicates what is distinctive in his view, by contrasting it with those of the Dutch Calvinist theologians such as Voetius, against whom he is writing.

Keywords: prophecy; revelation; Voetius; imagining; reasoning; prophecy and philosophy

Chapter.  13395 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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