A Primer to Giordano Bruno: New Age Prophet, Mystic and Heretic (The Essential Giordano Bruno Book 1)


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Its initiators were Germans and it appeared as a Sonderausgabe of a German newspaper. Spinoza had nothing in common with the German nation. The Germans, however, were the first to manifest serious interest in him. Their first great philosopher Leibniz went to seek his advice and his counsel; they were the only ones to invite him to lecture at their university. Even though Leibniz concealed him from the world, the Germans revealed him to the world.


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The generation of their greatest philosophers and poets from the second half of the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries grew up under his influence. Goethe read him together with Charlotte von Stein , and even read him together with her in Latin. To Hegel, Spinoza was "der Mittelpunkt der modernen Philosophie".

List of works about Baruch Spinoza

It is true that Bayle attempts to refute Spinoza though some have doubted the sincerity of his intentions but unlikely that so much space would be dedicated to refuting a neglected philosopher—unlikely, indeed, that Spinoza's relevance would wane once this high-profile entry had been published about him. Zedler 's Grosses Universal Lexikon —54 gives a similar impression, devoting to Spinoza a five-page discussion.

Descartes, by comparison, is discussed in one page. Hume, Locke, Hobbes, and Plato are equally dealt with in one page or less each. Diderot and J. The attention they devoted to Spinoza ensured him a place at the heart of Enlightenment debate. It would be impossible for any educated reader to avoid contact with Spinoza's ideas.

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It would be easy for every metaphysician to get a grasp on the system of the Ethics. And it would be tempting, for every philosophically inclined thinker, to read Spinoza for themselves. Melamed: " Spinoza's teachings were already known outside of Holland during the final years of his life [approximately in his late 30s to early 40s].

So fast did his fame spread that at a time when no Jew could occupy an academic position in Central and Western Europe he was invited to fill the chair of philosophy in the University of Heidelberg [], one of the most important seats of learning of the time in Germany. Wodehouse , William Wordsworth , Irvin D.

Note that in his book Story of Philosophy , Will Durant called Spinoza "the greatest of modern philosophers,". Retrieved 11 January Yitzhak Y. Melamed : "Spinoza is a highly systematic thinker, but still I do not think I can offer a single key for all things Spinozistic. A philosopher who received five times more attention than Descartes or Locke in Bayle 's Dictionnaire , Diderot and J. During what was clearly a transformational period, he used his time in Holland to talk with other independent thinkers who had been hounded into exile by the governments and churches of their own countries.

Although Spinoza was dead, Locke certainly met many of the philosopher's admirers and enemies. He was well acquainted with nonconformist Protestant Collegiants, and his later writings would advocate complete toleration for all forms of Protestantism. At the time of Locke's death, his library contained all of Spinoza's published works as well as many political and religious disputations, in many languages, in which Spinoza's ideas were vigorously debated.

Locke, like Hobbes , Adam Smith , and David Hume , is much more widely recognized than Spinoza in the United States as an influence upon the Enlightenment views of the American founders, but the more radical Spinoza's voice can be heard in both the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. It is not surprising that Thomas Jefferson 's library contained Spinoza's collected works, which were more readily available at the end of the eighteenth century than in Locke's time.

Selected, with Introduction and Commentary. Oriens Extremus 22 1 : 29— New York: W. Matthew Stewart : "[When Leibniz and Spinoza met in The Hague in ] The encounter between the two greatest philosophers of the seventeenth century in fact extended over several days. From a letter Leibniz posted to the Duke of Hanover's secretary from Holland, it is possible to infer that the courtier arrived in The Hague on or before November 18 and remained for at least three days and possibly as much as one week. Leibniz later told his Parisian friend Gallois that he had conversed with Spinoza "many times and at great length".

New York: Oxford University Press, Before visiting Holland, Leibniz lived for a while in Paris, where he met Baron Ehrenfried Walter von Tschirnhaus , one of Spinoza's most acute correspondents. L'immagine di Spinoza in Germania da Leibniz a Marx. And besides, one could certainly maintain that Mr.

Schelling borrowed more from Spinoza than Hegel borrowed from Schelling. If Spinoza is some day liberated from his rigid, antiquated Cartesian, mathematical form and made accessible to a large public, we shall perhaps see that he, more than any other, might complain about the theft of ideas.

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Here we come to the main point of the German Philosophy of Identity, which in essence differs in no way from the doctrine of Spinoza. No matter how violently Mr. Schelling may protest that his philosophy is different from Spinozism, that it is rather "a living amalgam of the ideal and the real," that it differs from Spinozism "as the perfection of Greek sculpture differs from the rigid Egyptian originals," nevertheless I must declare most emphatically that in his earlier period, when he was still a philosopher, Mr. Schelling did not differ in the slightest from Spinoza. He merely arrived at the same philosophy by a different path.

I shall illustrate this later when I tell how Kant entered on a new path, how Fichte followed him, how Mr. Schelling in turn continued in Fichte's footsteps and, wandering lost in the forest darkness of nature philosophy, finally found himself face to face with the great figure of Spinoza. The first element is metaphysically disguised nature separated from man; the second is metaphysically disguised spirit separated from nature; the third is the metaphysically disguised unity of both, real man and the real human species.

In consequence of the Kantian criticism of all speculative theology, the philosophisers of Germany almost all threw themselves back upon Spinoza, so that the whole series of futile attempts known by the name of the post-Kantian philosophy are simply Spinozism tastelessly dressed up, veiled in all kinds of unintelligible language, and otherwise distorted In Hegel, Spinoza reached the height of his influence upon the German mind. Hegel was the most influential, although not the most original, German philosopher since the days of Kant.

His system was more an absorption of other systems than an original creation. Therein lies the secret of his influence. He brought all the philosophical tendencies and moods of his time to a conclusion. With him the pantheism of his period attained its highest development and became the conscious and necessary connection of the mind and the world. During his entire philosophical career, Hegel constantly wrestled with Spinoza and for a time was entirely in his clutches.

It was while under this influence that Hegel said that in order to refute Spinoza one must first accept him.


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  4. In his lectures on the history of philosophy he says, "That Spinoza is the main point in modern philosophy, it is either Spinozism or no philosophy at all. In his later years, however, when he became more conservative, he changed his attitude toward Spinoza. Spinoza's absolute monism, reviving the early Greek philosophers, provides Hegel with the necessary substrate and beginning of all philosophy.

    Beiser : "Hegel turned fully to Spinoza only in his early Jena years during his collaboration with Schelling, who had been especially inspired by Spinoza, and who, even during his Fichtean phase, declared himself to be a Spinozist. But Hegel's turning toward Spinozism was not simply the result of Schelling's influence. It fitted hand-in-glove with his own intention to find some rational foundation for his organic vision. After all, there were some deep affinities between Spinoza's doctrines and Hegel's mystical pantheism; Hegel could only have admired Spinoza's monism, his immanent religion, and his intellectual love of God.

    It was indeed Spinoza who had first attempted to find a rational foundation and technical vocabulary for such doctrines. It is no accident, then, that we find Hegel's first metaphysical writings in the Jena years replete with Spinozist vocabulary and full of sympathetic references to Spinoza. He later professes his own Spinozism in bold terms. For as we saw above, when man begins to philosophize, the soul must commence by bathing in this ether of the One Substance in which all that man has held as true has disappeared.

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    Wirth : "Right from the beginning, Spinoza was a decisive philosopher for Schelling. This may now sound like yet another dusty little truth in the museums and archives of philosophy, but in Schelling's day, to embrace Spinoza was to dance with the devil and pantheism was the witches' brew served at this demonic party. Eine Untersuchung zur metaphysischen Wirkungsgeschichte des Spinozismus in Deutschland. Indeed, it is important and interesting to study the question of whether there is something in common between the philosophical ideas of Marx and Engels on the one hand, and Spinoza's on the other.

    That conviction, incidentally, is based on Engels's personal testimony. For almost a whole week, I had the pleasure of having long talks with him on a variety of practical and theoretical subjects. When, on one occasion, we were discussing philosophy, Engels sharply condemned what Stern had most inaccurately called "naturphilosophische materialism". Note that in saying this, Feuerbach stands close to Spinoza, whose philosophy he was already setting forth with great sympathy at the time his own breakaway from idealism was taking shape, that is, when he was writing his history of modern philosophy.

    And it was the standpoint of this kind of Spinozism, which Feuerbach had freed of its theological pendant, that Marx and Engels adopted when they broke with idealism. However, disencumbering Spinozism of its theological appendage meant revealing its true and materialist content. Consequently, the Spinozism of Marx and Engels was indeed materialism brought up to date.

    The radical young Hegelians brought man back to Spinoza's natura from what they saw as the abstract heights of Hegel's Geist , and proclaimed a unity of spirit and matter which was considered an essential Spinozistic principle and which led some of them to socialist conclusions. Unquestionably, Feuerbach thought of himself in the same terms. Spinoza appealed to left-Hegelians both in his negative and his positive philosophy. Less clear is the significance of this fact, and the extent of Spinoza's influence on Marx's thought. But it was not until Hess established the link between Spinoza and the socialist agenda of the post-Hegelian left that Spinoza gained critical significance for Marx.

    It was this link that enabled Marx to formulate a concept of praxis that moved beyond the parameters Hegel and Feuerbach had established. I have a precursor, and what a precursor! I hardly knew Spinoza: that I should have turned to him just now, was inspired by 'instinct'. Not only is his overtendency like mine — namely, to make all knowledge the most powerful affect — but in five main points of his doctrine I recognize myself; this most unusual and loneliest thinker is closest to me precisely in these matters: he denies the freedom of the will, teleology, the moral world-order, the unegoistic, and evil.

    Even though the divergencies are admittedly tremendous, they are due more to the difference in time, culture, and science. In summa: my lonesomeness, which, as on very high mountains, often made it hard for me to breathe and make my blood rush out, is now at least a twosomeness.

    I hold up before myself the images of Dante and Spinoza, who were better at accepting the lot of solitude. Of course, their way of thinking, compared to mine, was one which made solitude bearable Four pairs it was that did not deny themselves to my sacrifice: Epicurus and Montaigne , Goethe and Spinoza, Plato and Rousseau , Pascal and Schopenhauer.

    With these I must come to terms when I have long wandered alone; they may call me right and wrong; to them will I listen when in the process they call each other right and wrong. Perhaps no two philosophers are as akin as Spinoza and Nietzsche, yet no two are as opposed. If Spinoza initiated the modern philosophy of immanence and undergirds it throughout, then Nietzsche brings it to its most radical conclusion—and, as we shall see, turns this conclusion against Spinoza himself.

    Nietzsche explicitly recognizes his debt and kinship to Spinoza. Speaking of his "ancestors," Nietzsche at various times gives several lists, but he always mentions Spinoza and Goethe—and always as a pair. This is no accident, for Nietzsche sees Goethe as incorporating Spinoza and as anticipating his own "Dionysian" ideal.

    Now, if instituting comparisons in both directions, we place the lowest and most ape-like men the Austral Negroes, Bushmen, and Andamans, etc. Translated from the German by E. Ray Lankester; New York: D. Appleton, Haeckel: "It was not until the middle of the seventeenth century that pantheism was exhibited in its purest form by the great Baruch Spinoza; he gave for the totality of things a definition of substance in which God and the world are inseparably united.

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    The clearness, confidence, and consistency of Spinoza's monistic system are the more remarkable when we remember that this gifted thinker of two hundred and fifty years ago was without the support of all those sound empirical bases which have been obtained in the second half of the nineteenth century. In his stately pantheistic system the notion of the world the universe, or the cosmos is identical with the all-pervading notion of God; it is at one and the same time the purest and most rational monism and the clearest and most abstract monotheism.

    I would be writing more as to the possible advantages there might be in presenting to the public Spinoza's system in its true form and according to the intrinsic coherence of its parts. Its spectre has been haunting Germany for lo these many years, in all shapes and sizes and is regarded with reverence by believers and doubters alike. I am speaking not just of the petty-minded but of people with the finest minds.

    Lawson and C. German Life and Letters 62 4 : — Breslau: Druck von O. Da Spinoza a Goethe. La poesia dell'infinito. If this happened by chance, I suffered agonies. Herder often used to say mockingly that I had learned all my Latin from Spinoza, for that was the only Latin book he had ever seen me reading. He did not realize how carefully I had to guard myself against the classics, and that it was sheer anxiety which drove me to take refuge in the abstractions of Spinoza. Letters from Italy , — Translated from the German by W. Happily, I had already prepared if not fully cultivated myself on this side, having in some degree appropriated the thoughts and mind of an extraordinary man, and though my study of him had been incomplete and hasty, I was yet already conscious of important influences derived from this source.

    This mind, which had worked upon me thus decisively, and which was destined to affect so deeply my whole mode of thinking, was Spinoza. After this, the pair fell silent. I saddened at the thought of the exhausting, obstinate toil that Joyce had put into his book, which had no other chance than to be regarded by both his contemporaries and posterity as a genial caprice His last work seems to me a wrecked ship, incapable of delivering its cargo to anyone Such, more or less, was the burden of my silence, from which I could not rouse myself.

    Joyce was whistling thoughtfully some sort of tune that I did not recognize. I asked, 'What is that you are whistling? I didn't know at the time that it contained more or less the hidden source and the very title of his curious work. Joyce appeared exhausted. He paid, we left, and I called a taxi for him.

    It would be indiscreet. After my death it won't do any harm; it will become part of the scholarship business, which will probably never let me out of its grip. Tuesday, 26 November Finnegans Wake 'can satisfy more readers than any other book'! Joyce's biggest delusion about Finnegans Wake was that he was writing it for a mass audience.

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    Full text of "Life of Giordano Bruno,"

    In , he told Adolf Hoffmeister: All Wakeans should read this book! I don't think that the difficulties in reading it are so insurmountable. Certainly any intelligent reader can read and understand it, if he returns to the text again and again. He is setting out on an adventure with words. Some readers will be interested in the exploration of words, the play of technique, the philological experiment in each poetic unit.

    Each word has the charm of a living thing and each living thing is plastic. Adolf Hoffmeister, 'Portrait of Joyce', in Portraits of the Artist in Exile ed Willard Potts Joyce thought that by packing as much stuff as possible into the book he was widening its appeal: 'You are not Irish', he said, ' and the meaning of some passages will perhaps escape you. But you are Catholic, so you will recognize this or that allusion.

    You don't play cricket; this word may mean nothing to you. But you are a musician, so you will feel at ease in this passage. When my Irish friends come to visit me in Paris, it is not the philosophical subtleties of the book that amuse them, but my memories of O'Connell's top hat.

    Joyce told Max Eastman that he 'liked to think how some far day, way off in Tibet or Somaliland, some lad or lass in reading that little book would be pleased to come upon the name of his or her home river. Following on from the post about Robert Anton Wilson here's another synchronicity. Newer Posts Older Posts Home.

    A Primer to Giordano Bruno: New Age Prophet, Mystic and Heretic (The Essential Giordano Bruno Book 1) A Primer to Giordano Bruno: New Age Prophet, Mystic and Heretic (The Essential Giordano Bruno Book 1)
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    A Primer to Giordano Bruno: New Age Prophet, Mystic and Heretic (The Essential Giordano Bruno Book 1) A Primer to Giordano Bruno: New Age Prophet, Mystic and Heretic (The Essential Giordano Bruno Book 1)
    A Primer to Giordano Bruno: New Age Prophet, Mystic and Heretic (The Essential Giordano Bruno Book 1) A Primer to Giordano Bruno: New Age Prophet, Mystic and Heretic (The Essential Giordano Bruno Book 1)
    A Primer to Giordano Bruno: New Age Prophet, Mystic and Heretic (The Essential Giordano Bruno Book 1) A Primer to Giordano Bruno: New Age Prophet, Mystic and Heretic (The Essential Giordano Bruno Book 1)
    A Primer to Giordano Bruno: New Age Prophet, Mystic and Heretic (The Essential Giordano Bruno Book 1) A Primer to Giordano Bruno: New Age Prophet, Mystic and Heretic (The Essential Giordano Bruno Book 1)
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