Spinoza's hermeneutics: Some heretical thoughts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Scopus citations


The biblical scholarship Spinoza deploys in his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) stands in a long tradition of humanist philology. The radical thrust of the book lay not so much in the techniques as in the conclusions which Spinoza, spurred by his philosophical agenda, allowed himself to draw from the results. His historical contextualization of the biblical Sitz im Leben resembled what humanist philologists like Joseph Scaliger had done long before: a reconstruction of the circumstances in which a text was produced, with an eye to time, space, and culture. The central chapters in the Tractatus also show that Spinoza was not the most outstanding representative of this scholarly tradition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationScriptural Authority and Biblical Criticism in the Dutch Golden Age
Subtitle of host publicationGod's Word Questioned
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780198806837
StatePublished - Nov 23 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Biblical criticism
  • Historical contextualization
  • Humanist predecessors
  • Rabbinic sources
  • Spinoza


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