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The Spinozist Shift: Magnifying Divine Intellect

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Chapter Summary

According to Melchior Leydecker, Benedictus de Spinoza was convinced that the inference of the first Cause from the contingent causation of secondary causes was true. In one of his earliest works, the Short Treatise on God, Man, and his Well-Being, Spinoza presents a proof for divine existence that turns on necessary causation. Presenting Spinozas views from the Short Treatise, the author frequently refers to relevant passages in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, the Ethics, and Spinozas correspondence. This chapter mainly tries to establish Spinozas relationship to Reformed thought. Reactions from Orthodox Reformed theology to Spinoza have been little studied; additionally, it is generally overlooked that Spinozas Short Treatise contains a detailed criticism of Reformed thought that seems to have played a major role in the constitution of the foundations of his own thought. The chapter comments on the relation between divine knowledge and will, and then considers Leydeckers reaction.

Keywords: Benedictus de Spinoza; divine intellect; Melchior Leydecker; necessary causation; Reformed thought; Short Treatise



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