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Veneration vs. Equality

Veneration vs. Equality

(p.51) Two Veneration vs. Equality
Maimonides and Spinoza
Joshua Parens
University of Chicago Press

This chapter shows that eliminating wonder and veneration goes hand in hand with promoting materialism, especially about God and human beings. Many of the technical details of Spinoza's view of God as corporeal will be reserved for the next chapter. The primary focus here is on the relation between that view and the attack on wonder and veneration. Before turning to the substance of this relation as discussed in the Ethics, the discussion first considers the nature of esotericism in Spinoza's thought and the relation between the Theologico-Political Treatise and the Ethics. It is argued here that Maimonides is elitist and that Spinoza is egalitarian, especially about interpreting scripture. The following sections discuss how Spinoza's egalitarianism can be reconciled with his apparent elitism.

Keywords:   wonder, veneration, materialism, esotericism, god, egalitarian

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