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Suppress Or Refute? Reactions To Spinoza In Germany Around 1700

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Chapter Summary

The issue of censorship seems to be of little interest if applied to the works of Spinoza in Germany. This chapter first deals with the debate in theology and philosophy on how to appropriately react to dangerous ideas from abroad, especially those of Spinoza, starting immediately after the publication of the Tractatus theologico-politicus (TTP) in 1670. It then discusses the State reactions to the publication of those books which were held to contain Spinozism or at least Spinozistic ideas. The chapter considers as examples the two authors who were held to be the first 'German Spinozists', i.e. Friedrich Wilhelm Stosch and Theodor Ludwig Lau. Next, it deals with the circumstances and the publishing strategy of the first book of Spinoza published in Germany, the German translation of the Ethics by Johann Lorenz Schmidt in 1744. In a final remark, the chapter explains why censorship against Spinoza and Spinozism finally failed.

Keywords: Ethics; Friedrich Wilhelm Stosch; Germany; Spinoza; Theodor Ludwig Lau; Tractatus theologico-politicus



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