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Our Readers — June 1974 Print PDF
To the Editor: I must take exception to Milton Himmelfarb’s view that Spinoza was an ex-Jew [“Spinoza and the Colonel,” March]. The fact that the great philosopher of Amsterdam became a “citizen of the world” did not in the least diminish his Jewishness; nor did the ban pronounced against him by the leaders of the Amsterdam congregation which forced him to live outside the ghetto mean that he was not a Jew. Spinoza was as Jewish as Maimonides, Don Isaac Abravanel, Moses Mendelssohn, and Martin Buber, and he never forswore or renounced his Jewish faith. Mr. Himmelfarb falls victim to a fallacy common to Jewish scholars of the 19th and early 20th centuries which, strangely enough, was never shared by their non-Jewish colleagues. George Santayana, for example, speaks of the “genuine Hebraism” of Spinoza. . . . The confusion about Spinoza’s attitude toward Judaism stems from a widespread misconception about its genuineness. Following the lead of the German-Jewish historian Heinrich Graetz, rabbis, scholars, and historians shunned and despised the Kabbalah, the
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As is widely recognized by now. It follows. Ironically enough. if not complete identity.Forward JOHN PODHORETZ Lessons to be learned from an election without substance. the Arab Spring. Fac ebook s oc ial plugin Was Promoting Democracy a Mistake? JOHN AGRESTO Milton Himmelfarb writes: In Spinoza’s time Judaism was not yet a multifarious. who anticipated the philosopher of Amsterdam in proclaiming the intellect the highest good. no being a Jew culturally or sentimentally or metaphorically. subjective thing. Break Up the Banks JAMES PETHOKOUKIS The great missed opportunity of 2012 could be a new opportunity for conservatives going forward. the pantheistic suggestions of the first and third book of the Zohar were of the highest significance for Spinoza. that Spinoza was never an ex-Jew but rather the most Jewish of philosophers. . There was no liberal Judaism. no secular Jewishness.642 people like Commentary D om A ndy Bob A Post-Mortem on Post-Mortems ANDREW FERGUSON After the election The GOP’s Broken Machine BENJAMIN DOMENECH The technological gap between Romney and Obama was also a leadership gap. the close relationship between Spinoza and the Kabbalah was recognized very early. Henry Walter Brann Tacoma Park. that we are a people only by virtue of the Torah. significance of which has been rediscovered only in the last two decades. in Saadya Gaon’s formulation. That is to say. The most striking resemblance. mainly through the studies of Gershom Scholem. Maryland _____________ Commentary on Faceb Like 6. . Spinoza shares the idea of the intellectual union with God with Maimonides. the Torah created the Jews. amor Dei intellectualis. . . Leibnitz mentioned it in his Theodicy as early as 1708. Moreover. . and the mugging of neoconservatives -. between the theories of the Ethics and the doctrines of the Kabbalah occur in the area of body-mind relations. . . or things. . and of the Torah as a cultural creation of the people. Even the mysterious concept of Spinoza’s. Now. . What Spinoza knew to be the undisputed Jewish doctrine was. . thirty-one years after Spinoza’s death.com . stems from the second book of the Zohar. then. . Nowadays most Jews think of Judaism as the civilization of the Jewish people.With a response by Abe Greenwald Sign Up! open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. . He proclaimed what we have learned today to consider the genuine character of Judaism. and not GET OUR FREE NEWSLETTER Your Email Address: Liberalism. Spinoza’s concept of God is based primarily on kabbalistic ideas.
the Will and Promise STEPHEN DAISLEY A review of Danny Danon's "Israel" and Daniel Gordis's "The Promise of Israel. as if that were not enough. was “genuine Hebraism” an unambiguous compliment? He did not mean to compliment Morris Raphael Cohen when he called him an Oriental philosopher. and in any event we must learn to live with new ones. and adherent of Bible criticism. said no. arguendo. for one. but also human of a rather inferior sort. or Byron’s poetry. people only by virtue of the Torah. that does not make him a Jew. that the old Jewish self-definition was wrong. In Jewish law and in the eyes of the Jewish community a Jew who denied this did not cease to be a Jew. he need no longer fear excommunication. philosopher. that he was influenced by Kabbalah. There can be no mystical interpretation of human documents: the Declaration of Independence. Hermann Cohen. However far kabbalistic readings may go in the direction of heterodoxy. they always take it for granted that the Torah is a divine document. There were Christian kabbalists—Pico della Mirandola. he was only a bad or sinful Jew. Of course it was also the undisputed Jewish doctrine that the Torah was divine.Hispanic Panic LINDA CHAVEZ The GOP has gone off the rails on immigration issues. Even granted. With Santayana. He denied that Spinoza was a good Jew. In recent years the late David Ben-Gurion was only the most prominent of many calling for the rehabilitation of Spinoza the Jew. Excommunicated. the Torah created the Jews. or the collected addresses of Felix Adler. the most Jewish of philosophers? Fiction Sandy in Her Tub JOSEPH EPSTEIN The short story for December Politics & Ideas Abrahamism HILLEL FRADKIN A review of Jon D. liberal Jew. In his own eyes the Jew who denied this had necessarily ceased to be a Jew. Kabbalah is mystical interpretation of the Torah." About the Author Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API Warfare on Shabbat: The Legacy of the Maccabees pdfcrowd. not human. Spinoza treated the Bible as a human document (and is therefore the founder of modern Bible criticism). and not the Jews the Torah. A prudent man will hesitate to bet that a reference to the Jew Karl Marx or to the Judaism or Jewish emotion of Karl Marx is friendly. That is to say. or the Code Napoléon. A generation earlier German Jews had called for it. Nowhere does Spinoza say what liberal or secular Jews were to say after him.com open in browser PRO version . The great philosopher Spinoza was an ex-Jew of singular courage and probity. For Spinoza the Torah was not only human. He could have said this if he had wanted to." Makers and Takers JEREMY ROZANSKY A review of Nicholas Eberstadt's "A Nation of Takers. Levenson's "Inheriting Ab raham" The Thing with Feathers ANDREW ROBERTS A review of Dennis Prager's "Still the Best Hope" PURCHASE PAST ISSUES Israel. Why should we ask for more? Why must we also have it that he was as Jewish as Maimonides or.
Burton TERRY TEACHOUT BLOG BY DATE December 2012 M T W T F S 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 S 2 9 A review of Chris Williams's "The Richard Burton Diaries" A Post-Mortem on Post-Mortems ANDREW FERGUSON 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 « Nov After the election Threat Assessment America Talks. the Centrifuges Spin JONATHAN S.Takers.com ." Culture & Civilization Tantra Tantrum CHRISTINE ROSEN Email Print Like 0 Share Do you want to respond to this article? Click here. Ezra and Nehemiah were so successful in instilling Shabbat observance that Jews refused to take up arms on Shabbat to defend themselves—with disastrous results. to write a letter to the Editor. TOBIN A monthly compendium open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Read more » Enter your email to receive the latest from JEWISH IDEAS DAILY in your inbox every morning! E-MAIL A review of Naomi Wolf's "Vagina" Meddling with Mettle NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY A review of Paul Tough's "How Children Succeed" The Devil & Mr.
Personalized Crystal Awards & Plaques Etched Crystal Awards & Crystal Plaques open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. McClay's "When Is Religion Bad Religion?" The Future of American Jewry OUR READERS Responses to Jack Wertheimer's "First New York’s Jews.com .Letters Tax Cuts and the American Economic Boom OUR READERS Responses to Arthur Herman's "How America Got Rich" It’s All About the First Freedom OUR READERS Responses to Wilfred M. Then America’s?" Phone Cards International Phone Cards DIY Awards .
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