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Political TheologiesPublic Religions in a Post-Secular World$
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Hent de Vries and Lawrence E. Sullivan

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226443

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226443.001.0001

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Levinas, Spinoza, and the Theologico-Political Meaning of Scripture

Levinas, Spinoza, and the Theologico-Political Meaning of Scripture

(p.232) Levinas, Spinoza, and the Theologico-Political Meaning of Scripture
Political Theologies

Hent de Vries

Fordham University Press

In his 1955 “The Case of Spinoza”, Emmauel Levinas accepts Jacob Gordin's summary verdict: “Spinoza was guilty of betrayal”. Levinas gives as the main reason for his condemnation that Baruch Spinoza sought to overcome Judaism with Christianity, then Christianity with a philosophical wisdom considered to represent the proper—that is, the intellectual—love of God. However, the harsh judgment about Spinoza's “betrayal” is mitigated and qualified in importantly nuanced ways, to the extent that Levinas praises Spinoza's writings, especially the Theologico-Political Treatise and the Ethics (despite their major blind spot in a probable ignorance of rabbinic literature, especially the Talmud), for their remarkable, albeit largely latent, “anti-Spinozism”. Levinas's anti-Spinozism has a remarkable element of Spinozism. This chapter examines what Levinas comes to call “interiorization” and to what extent it presupposes an interrogation of the theologico-political meaning of Scripture.

Keywords:   Emmanuel Levinas, Baruch Spinoza, Scripture, theologico-political meaning, Judaism, Christianity, Talmud, Spinozism, anti-Spinozism, interiorization

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