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On The Concept And History Of Philosophical Religions

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains how the pattern works in a number of representative authors in late antiquity and in the early Middle Ages. Plato?s political philosophy in the middle and late dialogues provided the conceptual framework for this interpretation, although concepts from other intellectual traditions were integrated into it, most importantly Aristotelian and Stoic concepts, and, in Spinoza?s case, early modern concepts as well. The chapter examines Spinoza, who is well known for his astute critique of the medieval interpretation of Judaism as a philosophical religion. The fact that Christian philosophers in late antiquity did propose such an interpretation shows that there is nothing in the nature of Christianity that would preclude it from the outset. The interpretation of religious traditions as philosophical religions is not entirely confined to antiquity and the early Middle Ages.

Keywords: Aristotelian; Christianity; early Middle Ages; Judaism; late antiquity; philosophical religions; Plato; Spinoza



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