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Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Volume VII$
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Daniel Garber and Donald Rutherford

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198748717

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198748717.001.0001

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Spinoza and Reformed Theologians on God

Spinoza and Reformed Theologians on God

Chapter:
(p.123) 4 Spinoza and Reformed Theologians on God
Source:
Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Volume VII
Author(s):

Daniel Pedersen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198748717.003.0004

This chapter examines several ways in which Spinoza’s account of God and divine freedom resembles that of theologians in the Reformed Christian tradition, the tradition to which his Dutch contemporaries belonged. The chapter argues, in contrast to received wisdom, that agreement between Spinoza and these theologians is much greater than most realize. In spite of the ire he provoked from theologians, neither on account of his so-called pantheism, nor his understanding of God’s freedom as the necessary act of the divine nature, nor his denial of final causes in divine action does he contradict the teaching of his Reformed neighbors. In fact, in many ways what Spinoza taught was in continuity with that tradition. On each topic the chapter shows that Spinoza’s account so closely resembles that of the Reformed that his criticism of particular theological accounts cannot have been an attack on theological notions of God tout court.

Keywords:   Spinoza, Reformed Christian theology, God, pantheism, freedom, necessity, final causes

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