Philosophical Religions from Plato to Spinoza PDF/EPUB

Philosophical Religions from Plato to Spinoza [Download] ➶ Philosophical Religions from Plato to Spinoza ✤ Carlos Fraenkel – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk Many pagan, Jewish, Christian and Muslim philosophers from Antiquity to the Enlightenment made no meaningful distinction between philosophy and religion Instead they advocated a philosophical religion Many pagan, Jewish, from Plato eBook ´ Christian and Muslim philosophers from Antiquity to the Enlightenment made no meaningful distinction between philosophy Philosophical Religions PDF \ and religion Instead they advocated a philosophical religion, arguing that God is Reason and that the historical forms of Religions from Plato PDF ☆ a religious tradition serve as philosophy s handmaid to promote the life of reason among non philosophers Carlos Fraenkel provides the first account of this concept and traces its history back to Plato He shows how Jews and Christians appropriated it in Antiquity, follows it through the Middle Ages in both Islamic and Jewish forms and argues that it underlies Spinoza s interpretation of Christianity The main challenge to a philosophical religion comes from the modern view that all human beings are equally able to order their lives rationally and hence need no guidance from religion Fraenkel s wide ranging book will appeal to anyone interested in how philosophy has interacted with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious traditions.


10 thoughts on “Philosophical Religions from Plato to Spinoza

  1. robin friedman robin friedman says:

    A Study Of Reason And ReligionMany philosophers have thought about the relationship between two broad and difficult to define concepts religion and reason They are frequently considered in opposition In his learned and thoughtful book Philosophical Religions from Plato to Spinoza Reason, Religion, and Autonomy 2012 , Carlos Fraenkel, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Judaic Studies at McGill University, aims, in his words, to lay the groundwork for understanding and tracing the histo A Study Of Reason And ReligionMany philosophers have thought about the relationship between two broad and difficult to define concepts religion and reason They are frequently considered in opposition In his learned and thoughtful book Philosophical Religions from Plato to Spinoza Reason, Religion, and Autonomy 2012 , Carlos Fraenkel, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Judaic Studies at McGill University, aims, in his words, to lay the groundwork for understanding and tracing the history of what I call a philosophical religion Perhaps the most succinct and evocative statement of what Fraenkel means is his brief autobiographical comment about his three years of graduate study at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem Fraenkel writes that he was both puzzled and intrigued by scholars who combined a Spinozistic mindset with strict religious observance In a sense this book is an attempt to solve what then seemed like a paradox to me Fraenkel works to define the nature of a philosophical religion, to trace its development through a series of thinkers culminating in Spinoza, and to offer brief comments on the continued importance of offshoots of philosophical religion Philosophical religion sees religion and philosophy as identical Philosophy and thought show the nature of reason and goodness in the universe which is shared by human beings at their best when they are being faithful to themselves Reason and God are identical and form the basis for contemplation and study the most worthy activities of human life Traditional religions, such as Greek polytheism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, are full of anthropomorphic gods, stories and myths, and rewards and punishment Practitioners of philosophical religion view these traditional religions as showing philosophical truths imaginatively for the great majority of human beings who are incapable of or have no interest in following philosophical demonstrations They reinterpret the texts and practices of traditional religions to show how their underlying insights are those of philosophical religion.On this view, there are a plurality of different and equally legitimate traditional religions, which develop based on differences in culture, time, and temperament, but only one philosophical religion the religion of reason Philosophical religion thus accounts for and respects pluralism and diversity There is a heavily political component to philosophical religion In its historical form, it presupposes that only a small percentage of people have the capability of philosophical understanding It leads to a tendency to organize societies in non egalitarian ways based on the insight and knowledge of therational people Following the Enlightenment, Fraenkel argues, moral ideas of egalitarianism, equality, and the responsibility of each individual for his or her own life and choices he or she makes undercut the presuppositions of philosophical religion Fraenkel suggests that many of the insights of philosophical religion may be restated to meet modern ideals of individualism and changes in the character of science as well, but these possible changes are only discussed briefly.Fraenkel s historical study begins with Plato and emphasizes the Republic and the Laws Fraenkel studies Plato s concept of nous or mind which later became translated as logos In the Republic Plato objected to the stories of the gods and suggested that children above the age of 10 should be taken away from their families to gain a true understanding In the Laws, Plato modified his position He suggested that philosophers and rulers could work with the existing myths and stories and reinterpret them Reinterpretation would show the congruence between imagination and philosophical truth without the radical step of what Fraenkel calls a cultural revolution Harmonizing traditional religion with reason through interpretation, as Fraenkel reads Plato in the Laws, forms the basis for philosophical religion in Fraenkel s account.In the following chapters of his book, Fraenkel describes how philosophers used and modified Plato s philosophical religion to show how the Abrahamic faiths constituted philosophical religions He offers detailed and close interpretations of Philo of Alexandria, who interpreted Jewish Biblical texts allegorically in accordance with Platonic teachings of Alexandrian Christian students of Philo including Clement and Origen who expanded both Plato and Philo to read Christianity as a philosophical religion.Fraekel then gives close attention to the Islamic philosophers Al Farabi and Averroes to show their understanding of the relationship between philosophy and Islam from the standpoint of what was called falasafa Islamic teachings were reinterpreted and understood in accordance with Plato s teachings of reason to make a philosophical understanding of religion The great Jewish philosopher and codifier Maimonides also was a falasafa, heavily influenced by Islamic thinkers in creating a philosophical understanding of Judaism and its teachings Together with these thinkers, Fraenkel considers the little known Jewish thinker Elijah Delmedigo as a bridge figure to understand Spinoza s relationship to his medieval predecessors.Fraenkel offers a controversial interpretation of Spinoza which emphasizes medieval components of his thoughtthan is usually done His study focuses on the Theological Political Treatise and if argues that Spinoza in part aimed to interpret Christianity, the dominant religion of his society, as a philosophical religion, using interpretation and allegory as did figures such as Philo Fraenkel also recognizes an inconsistent thread of the Theological Political Treatise Spinoza mounts an attack on revealed religion and anthropomorphic religion in all their forms and rejects attempts to read philosophy into Scripture in the manner of Maimonides, Philo, and others Spinoza founded the modern school of Biblical interpretation which tries to understand texts historically rather than reading ideas into them which are not there Fraenkel sees the tension between these two parts of Spinoza s project in the Theological Political Treatise as continuing to the present day in the efforts different people make to think about religion in terms of both secularization and reinterpretation This observation is important and insightful, but it is only sketched in the last pages of Fraenkel s book.Fraenkel has written a difficult but outstanding book It is inspiring to see a young philosopher writing with erudition and taking the history of thought seriously The book offers a great deal to think about in understanding the nature of both reason and religion both and on the consequences of moral egalitarianism In reading, I thought frequently of contrasting approaches to Fraenkel s study, such as Rebecca Goldstein s recent book on Plato or Jonathan Israel s work on Spinoza and Radical Enlightenment This is a book for serious readers with a strong passion for the study of religion and for the history of philosophy.Robin Friedman


  2. Aric Aric says:

    A vital contribution to the history of ideas, and indeed, to peace between people of faith and reasonToo often, we postmoderns get caught up in dichotomistic arguments that pit faith against reason, religion against science, theory vs data, etc without considering how some of the brightest minds in human history have approached this tension Carlos Fraenkel may be uniquely positioned to deliver this incisive tour of philosophical religions, tracing ideas that were first articulated by Plato, t A vital contribution to the history of ideas, and indeed, to peace between people of faith and reasonToo often, we postmoderns get caught up in dichotomistic arguments that pit faith against reason, religion against science, theory vs data, etc without considering how some of the brightest minds in human history have approached this tension Carlos Fraenkel may be uniquely positioned to deliver this incisive tour of philosophical religions, tracing ideas that were first articulated by Plato, through the Abrahamic faiths Judaism exemplified by Philo, Maimonides, and Delmedigo , Christianity exemplified by Clement, Origen, and Spinoza , and Islam exemplified by Averroes and Al Farabi.He concludes with brief comments on why the philosophical approach to religion has fallen into disuse though it probably has unknowing adherents among some clergy of liberal denominations , and the challenge of pluralism in democratic states I suspect and hope he will expand on these thoughts in the future.I must commend Dr Fraenkel and his editors for writing so lucidly on this complex topic Perhaps it is a quirk of my educationtheology and religious history than philosophy proper , but I found this to be the clearest and most accessible scholarly book on philosophy that I have encountered in a long time Better yet, it made me want to dig into the primary sources I understood what he was saying, but felt like I would get a lotout of it if I re read it after studying Plato, Aristotle, Philo, Origen, Maimonides, Al Farabi, Spinoza, and so on.Key Ideas People who approached religion philosophically distinguished between the literal narrative content of their religion stories of prophets, miracles, and the like which serve a pedagogical political purpose by appealing to the imagination of the intellectually ungifted and the true hidden meaning of their religion, which could only be understood by philosophers The proponents of philosophical religion differed over how to reconcile the conflict between the surface meaning and the hidden meaning of their religions Some sought to gradually bringandof their community into the deeper understanding of their faith e.g Maimonides , and others thought it was dangerous to even attempt this e.g Averroes The recent history of liberal Protestantism in North America might be an interesting test case of the dangers of admitting that you don t take your scriptures literally The proponents of philosophical religion were generally in agreement on the idea that it serves a well ordered community to allow adherents to persist in believing falsehoods miracle stories, etc that serve the moral order Not everyone can handle the idea of God as Reason who rules all things or Deus sive Natura Let them go on believing that there is a person who watches all things and hands down blessings and judgments For those who see the falsehood therein, explore to see whether they are not yet philosophers who can be brought into a deeper understanding of the way things really are A key difference between the proponents of philosophical religion and hardline skeptics is that the philosophical religionists were strongly opposed to discarding the teachings and practices of their religion They were agreed that outright rebellion against the surface falsehoods of religion would destroy the social order, and cause harm to the many At the same time, many of the philosophical religionists embraced a sort of pluralism, thinking that their religion would have been expressed differently had it been delivered to different people at a different point in history.On a personal level, this book also meant a lot to me, as my journey has been in the opposite direction of Spinoza s from Christianity to agnostic skepticism to rationalist progressive Judaism It gave me a better context for framing an understanding of the issues faced when holding both religious belief praxis in tension with reason and scientific knowledge Further, it gave me a better perspective on how to value the imaginative faith of people who do not share my rationalistic tendencies.Advice to the reader Unlike many works of nonfiction, Philosophical Religions from Plato to Spinoza should be read from the beginning, in order Each section of each chapter builds on what has come previously


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