Spinoza and Secular Jewish Culture
The philosopher Baruch Spinoza was excommunicated in 1656, branded a heretic by the Amsterdam Jewish community. He denied Providence and a personal God, and demanded to secularize the state, the Bible, the study of nature, the interpretation of history and the sources of morality and political authority. A century and a half later, Jewish life in the West started to undergo secularization in several degrees and shapes. These developments gave rise to new, secularized forms of Jewish life and culture – in literature, language, biblical studies, history, and art, as well as in social organization, daily lifestyles, and politics.
The lecture will surveyed these developments both independently and in relation to Spinoza's work and case.
Yirmiyahu Yovel, Professor Emeritus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and winner of the 2000 Israel Prize in philosophy, is currently the Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York. His two volume Spinoza and Other Heretics(Princeton University Press, 1989) has been widely translated and acclaimed. Fall 2008 Princeton Press published his new book on the Marranos (Marranos: The Other Within–An Essay on Split Identity and Proto-Modernity). He was the editor-in-chief of the encyclopedia New Jewish Time: Jewish Culture in the Era of Secularism (Zeman Chodesh Yehudi).
Catherine Audard-Montefiore teaches moral and political philosophy at the London School of Economics. She is also the Chair and co-founder of the Forum for European Philosophy.
In association with the Posen Foundation of Lucerne, Switzerland
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