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

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198829294

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829294.001.0001

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Spinoza on Turning the Other Cheek

Spinoza on Turning the Other Cheek

(p.96) 4 Spinoza on Turning the Other Cheek
Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Volume VIII

Keith Green

Oxford University Press

Spinoza rejects ‘turning the other cheek’ where humans live in civic community, and denies that piety ever requires it under those circumstances. Yet he argues that Jeremiah and Jesus counsel it under the exceptional circumstances where civic community collapses, and one is exposed to oppression. Spinoza defends his view by appealing to the love command—one must love one’s neighbor as one loves oneself. This chapter shows how turning the other cheek when one cannot count on others to do likewise can be rational on Spinoza’s terms and how he resolves the apparent tension of his claim that one must not turn the other cheek when one lives under the rule of civil law with his claims that hatred is always bad, and that anyone who ‘lives by the guidance of reason’ endeavors to ‘repay another’s hatred with love or nobility’.

Keywords:   Spinoza, love, love commands, hate, justice, civil law, peace

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