Hermann Cohen's Love/Hate Relationship with Spinoza, 1867-1915

In 1910 Hermann Cohen asserted that the ban against Spinoza, pronounced more than 250 years earlier, was fully justified. This was a controversial thesis, given the widespread movement among liberal Jews to reclaim Spinoza for the Jewish tradition and to proclaim him the "first modernJew."...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Jewish studies quarterly
Main Author: Beiser, Frederick C. 1949-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2018]
In:Jewish studies quarterly
Year: 2018, Volume: 25, Issue: 2, Pages: 101-120
Further subjects:B 19TH-CENTURY ANTI-SEMITISM
B Pantheism
B THEORY OF IDEAS
B Zionism
B SPINOZA BAN
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
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Summary:In 1910 Hermann Cohen asserted that the ban against Spinoza, pronounced more than 250 years earlier, was fully justified. This was a controversial thesis, given the widespread movement among liberal Jews to reclaim Spinoza for the Jewish tradition and to proclaim him the "first modernJew." It was all the more surprising, given that in his early years Cohen was a Spinozist himself. Why did Cohen become a Spinoza antagonist? This article shows that, when placed in context, Cohen's reinvocation of the ban is understandable. He perceived that the Spinoza enthusiasm of hisday was walking into a trap laid by anti-Semites, who, like Spinoza, presented Judaism as an exclusivist political doctrine, bereft of universal moral significance because it was a religion by and for Jews alone, and that Zionism was based on the belief that the Jews are God's elect and havea right to dominate other peoples.
ISSN:1868-6788
Contains:Enthalten in: Jewish studies quarterly
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1628/jsq-2018-0004