Theological-Political Treatise Background

Theological-Political Treatise Background

Theological-Political Treatise is a work by the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza. Spinoza knew that his work would attract unwanted criticism and censorship, so he published it anonymously in 1670 and the publisher also used an alias. In addition, the work was written in New Latin, not Dutch, so that the government would not censor it. In Theological-Political Treatise, Spinoza writes his most organized and extensive criticism of Judaism and all religion in general.

Spinoza believes that theology and philosophy must be separate, and not even religion and the reading of scripture can combine the two. While theology breeds obedience, philosophy encourages seeking rational truth. Therefore, since the scripture (the holy word for a religion) is can’t be both, then either the meaning will be distorted or people cannot be forced to conform to it. As a result, the meaning of scripture will darken because of the prejudices of people of that religion that came before. This work was a defense that was published before another work, Ethics, which was published after Spinoza died in 1677.

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