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Abstract

This chapter aims to highlight Descartes’s different views on the relationship between philosophy and theology and the influence of his statements on Dutch Cartesianism. Despite a consolidated historiographical tradition, I will argue that there is no absolute separation between philosophy and theology in Descartes and the Dutch Cartesians. Undoubtedly, they take part in the philosophical and scientific movement, claiming philosophy and science to be independent of theology. Nonetheless, independence does not imply extraneity or opposition, but coexistence or even cooperation between these two subjects. However, a mere concordist interpretation of the Cartesian relationship between these disciplines is fundamentally wrong, being Descartes clearly claiming that he is accommodating theology to his own philosophy. Such a design grants a leading role to philosophy, thus genuinely defying the traditional subordination of philosophy to theology. His Dutch disciples accepted this challenge in their own way and transferred it into a different cultural and religious context, paving the way for a debate in which Spinoza was to take part not long afterwards.

In: The Philosophers and the Bible
In: Descartes in the Classroom
The Debate on Sacred Scripture in Early Modern Thought
The Bible is the crucible within which were forged many of the issues most vital to philosophy during the early modern age. Different conceptions of God, the world, and the human being have been constructed (or deconstructed) in relation to the various approaches and readings of the Holy Scriptures. This book explores several of the ways in which philosophers interpreted and made use of the Bible. It aims to provide a new perspective on the subject beyond the traditional opposition “faith versus science” and to reflect the philosophical ways in which the Sacred Scriptures were approached. Early modern philosophers can thus be seen to have transformed the traditional interpretation of the Bible and emphasized its universal moral message. In doing so, they forged new conceptions about nature, politics, and religion, claiming the freedom of thought and scientific inquiry that were to become the main features of modernity.

Contributors include Simonetta Bassi, Stefano Brogi, Claudio Buccolini, Simone D’Agostino, Antonella Del Prete, Diego Donna, Matteo Favaretti Camposampiero, Guido Giglioni, Franco Giudice, Sarah Hutton, Giovanni Licata, Édouard Mehl, Anna Lisa Schino, Luisa Simonutti, Pina Totaro, and Francesco Toto.
In: The Philosophers and the Bible