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My favorite pantheistic philosopher, Baruch (or Benedictus) Spinoza is a giant who Bertrand Russell described as “the noblest and most lovable of the great philosophers.” His concepts are easy to understand, his writing is not. Definitely a fun (if challenging) read.

He was among the first to do scholarly literary criticism of the Bible, and did a lot to popularize the pantheistic view that everything is God. His principle argument for a pantheistic view was that if God is a perfect, infinite being, then for anything to NOT be part of God would mean that God had limitations and was not infinite. Nothing CAN be separate from God as that would imply a limitation of God. Interesting POV.

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

His thought combines a commitment to Cartesian metaphysical and epistemological principles with elements from ancient Stoicism and medieval Jewish rationalism into a nonetheless highly original system. His extremely naturalistic views on God, the world, the human being and knowledge serve to ground a moral philosophy centered on the control of the passions leading to virtue and happiness. They also lay the foundations for a strongly democratic political thought and a deep critique of the pretensions of Scripture and sectarian religion. Of all the philosophers of the seventeenth century, perhaps none have more relevance today than Spinoza.

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Posted on Friday, August 29th, 2008

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