CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS AND WRITE A 500 OR MORE WORD RESPONSE. DO NOT WRITE A SUMMARY OF THE READING, KEEP THE ESSAY IN CONTEXT WITH THE QUESTION YOU CHOOSE. Keep your response directly connected with the context of the class and the specific question being asked.Reviewing the assigned materials will be essential, but going on the internet to look something up will not be helpful. Furthermore, it goes directly against the assignment guidelines. Outside research is not permitted. Produce responses that demonstrate your ability to think things through. Also, use your own words. Quotes, if used at all,should be properly cited and used very sparingly — at most a few words from the assigned text.
1. Steven Nadler’s A Book Forged in Hell emphasizes the way that Spinoza’s ideas, particularly his Theological-Political Treatise, was received by his contemporaries. In your own words, describe the society’s response to Spinoza’s writings, and explain what (according to Nadler) specifically produced such a response. What claims or theories by Spinoza drew the most attention, and why?
2. Spinoza’s way of understanding the universe introduces an idea that can be translated as “God or Nature.”Based upon the research offered by Steven Nadler, what does this mean? And, how is this different (and/or similar) to the traditional idea of God accepted by society at the time Spinoza was writing?
3. Steven Nadler tells us that Spinoza promotes the importance of intellectual reflection and logical decision making. However, Spinoza’s ideas concerning human nature and free will seem to suggest that we are all at the mercy of forces beyond our control. So, according to Spinoza, is there any hope for a genuine and valuable freedom in our lives? Explain. How does he suggest that we live, given the sort of world in which he thinks we exist?
4. According to Nadler, Spinoza’s most shocking claim in his Treatise is an attack on the unquestioned authority of the Bible. Spinoza challenges the idea that all (or even most) of the statements in “Holy Scripture” are true, at least in a traditional sense of understanding them. He tells his audience that superstition, fear, and ignorance explain why people believe the things they do concerning the Bible. He offers an alternative way of understanding things. Explain Spinoza’s reasoning, and describe the value he sees (if any) in texts like the Bible.
5. Nadler tells us that Spinoza challenged traditional ideas concerning belief in miracles. Describe Spinoza’s reasoning for rejecting miracles, and explain how his ideas (according to Nadler) were even more troubling to the culture of the time than similar theories promoted by other philosophers like Thomas Hobbes or David Hume.