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Article

Of Prophecy and Piety: Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus between al-Farabî and Erasmus

Department of Philosophy, University of Amsterdam, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Academic Editors: Henri Krop and Pooyan Tamimi Arab
Philosophies 2021, 6(2), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020051
Received: 23 April 2021 / Revised: 24 May 2021 / Accepted: 15 June 2021 / Published: 20 June 2021
In this contribution, I discuss some less well-known premodern and early modern antecedents of Spinoza’s concepts and claims in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. On the one hand, I will argue, Spinoza’s notion of prophecy owes more to Moses Maimonides than to any Christian author; and through Maimonides, Spinoza may be linked to the discussion of prophecy in The Virtuous City by the tenth-century Islamic philosopher al-Farabî. Spinoza’s concern with prophecy as a popular formulation of the Divine Law may be fruitfully seen in the light of these two authors. On the other hand, Spinoza’s notion of pietas has arguably been shaped by a number of early modern authors from the Low Countries, including Thomas a Kempis and Erasmus: it does not consist in merely obeying the law, but also has a clear devotional and theist dimension of love for God and for one’s neighbors. As such, it may be associated with recent ideas on philosophy and spiritual exercises. These findings have a number of non-trivial implications for Spinoza’s place in the rise of modern, academic Western philosophy. I will discuss these implications in the context of Pierre Hadot’s influential views on philosophy as a way of life and Michel Foucault’s notion of spirituality. View Full-Text
Keywords: Spinoza; Jewish philosophy; Islamic philosophy; prophecy; spiritual exercises Spinoza; Jewish philosophy; Islamic philosophy; prophecy; spiritual exercises
MDPI and ACS Style

Leezenberg, M. Of Prophecy and Piety: Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus between al-Farabî and Erasmus. Philosophies 2021, 6, 51. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020051

AMA Style

Leezenberg M. Of Prophecy and Piety: Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus between al-Farabî and Erasmus. Philosophies. 2021; 6(2):51. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020051

Chicago/Turabian Style

Leezenberg, Michiel. 2021. "Of Prophecy and Piety: Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus between al-Farabî and Erasmus" Philosophies 6, no. 2: 51. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020051

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