Review van "Spinoza and Medieval Jewish Philosophy"

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Daniel H. Frank, Professor of Philosophy at Purdue
University; Director, Jewish Studies Program [
cf.] verzorgde voor de NDPR de recensie van

Steven Nadler (ed.), Spinoza and Medieval Jewish Philosophy,
Cambridge University Press, 2014. [cf. op dit blog méér]


Ik neem hier (zonder voetnoot) de eerste en laatste alinea over:


The connective
'and' in the title of this collection does considerable work. It serves to
bridge Spinoza with his predecessors in Jewish philosophy in a variety of ways,
both comparative and more directly chronological. For some decades now,
commencing with Warren Zev Harvey's classic 1981 article, "A Portrait of
Spinoza as a Maimonidean", there has been much work done on tracing
Spinoza's philosophical lineage beyond that of so-called "continental
rationalism". The lens is wider than that. More and more we see Spinoza as
indebted (
malgré lui) to Maimonides and
Gersonides no less than to Descartes and Hobbes. And such indebtedness,
carrying in its train a salutary muddying of the historiographical story we
tell our students, allows us to see Spinoza as really a Janus-faced figure,
much as Harry Wolfson discerned. Spinoza may well be seen as both the last of
the medievals and the first of the moderns. We usually give the foundational
prize for 'father of modern philosophy' to Descartes, but if we change, perhaps
not unreasonably, the regnant criterion from epistemology to political
philosophy and philosophical theology, we may begin to pause. Hobbes begins to
loom very large from this angle, but even he signaled the radicality of
Spinoza, when, upon reading Spinoza's
Tractatus
Theologico-Politicus
(1670), he uttered that he (Hobbes himself)
"durst not write so boldly." In sum, Spinoza is more than a critic of
Cartesian dualism; he is also a critic of medieval religious philosophy
generally. And from this latter vantage point he, not Descartes, may be seen as
the culmination of one epoch and, by virtue of his radicality, the commencing
of something new.