Chapter 2 More on Spinoza and the Authorship of the Pentateuch

In: The Philosophers and the Bible
Pina Totaro
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The Bible is an essential reference for all of Spinoza’s writings, but it is above all in the Theological-Political Treatise that the philosopher engages in an analytical examination of the biblical text. Among the various “prejudices of the theologians” that Spinoza proposes to amend and eliminate with his Treatise, the erroneous belief relating to the “true writers of the holy books” appears to him to be among the most radical and widespread. The attribution to Moses of the first five books of the Bible had already been called into question by other authors, who had identified various inconsistencies in the texts, linguistic problems, and semantic difficulties. I present here an interpretation of the differences in Thomas Hobbes’s and Spinoza’s thinking on the crucial point of the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch.

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The Philosophers and the Bible

The Debate on Sacred Scripture in Early Modern Thought

Series:  Brill's Studies in Intellectual History, Volume: 333