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Radical EnlightenmentPhilosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750$
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Jonathan I. Israel

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206088.001.0001

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(p.158) (p.159) 8 Spinoza
Radical Enlightenment

Jonathan I. Israel

Oxford University Press

Spinoza emerged as the supreme philosophical bogeyman of Early Enlightenment Europe. No one else during the century 1650–1750 remotely rivalled his notoriety as the chief challenger of the fundamentals of revealed religion, received ideas, tradition, morality, and what was everywhere regarded, in absolutist and non-absolutist states alike, as divinely constituted political authority. Having dedicated himself fully to philosophy, Spinoza endeavoured not just to find the ‘highest good’ for himself but also, he intimates at the end of the Korte Verhandeling, to teach the path to ‘salvation’ to others, his object being, to paraphrase Marx, not just to meditate but to change the world, a goal in which eventually — and in a most extraordinary manner — he succeeded.

Keywords:   philosophy, Early Enlightenment, Spinoza, salvation

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