Chapter

Strauss's Spinoza

in Reading Leo Strauss

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780226764023
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226763903 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226763903.003.0004
Strauss's Spinoza

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Leo Strauss observed that the reception of Spinoza had undergone various stages, from condemnation as a soulless atheist and materialist, to canonization by the German romantics, who saw him as a mystical pantheist and “God intoxicated man,” and finally to neutrality by the scholars who had come largely to accept the results of his historico-critical approach to the Bible. According to Strauss, the official reception of Spinoza was possible only once the famous querrelle des anciens et des modernes had been decided in favor of the moderns and the legitimacy of modern thought had been accepted. It was this that permitted Spinoza to enter “the small band of superior minds” which Strauss, following Nietzsche, referred to as the “good Europeans.” Spinoza's philosophy stands or falls by its claim to have refuted the authority of biblical orthodoxy with its belief in such things as the creation of the world ex nihilo, the revealed character of the Law, and the possibility of miracles.

Keywords: Spinoza; Leo Strauss; German romantics; Bible; biblical orthodoxy; good Europeans

Chapter.  8059 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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