Nancy Levene reinterprets a major early-modern philosopher, Benedict de Spinoza - a Jew who was rejected by the Jewish community of his day but whose thought contains, and critiques, both Jewish and Christian ideas. It foregrounds the connection of religion, democracy, and reason, showing that Spinoza's theories of the Bible, the theologico-political, and the philosophical all involve the concepts of equality and sovereignty. Professor Levene argues that Spinoza's concept of revelation is the key to this connection, and above all to Spinoza's view of human power. This is to shift the emphasis in Spinoza's thought from the language of amor Dei (love of God) to the language of libertas humana (human freedom) without losing either the dialectic of his most striking claim - that man is God to man - or the Jewish and Christian elements in his thought. Original and thoughtfully argued, this book offers new insights into Spinoza's thought.
"Because she is so clear about the stakes of her project...and offers a persuasive account of why the relationship between religion and politics must be difficult, her contribution to philosophy of religion, Jewish studies, and political theology is enormous. Those who have sorely missed the voice of Gillian Rose in the years since her death will be especially grateful to hear Levene's." Modern Theology Martin Kavka, Florida State University