Wednesday May 13th, 2009

Gottlieb on God (and the Lack Thereof)

The Browser, a terrific aggregation site (or “intelligent general reader,” as it bills itself), has started a series about books. Recently, Anthony Gottlieb, the author of The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance, spoke to the site about books that “weigh religion and secularism.” The interview covers five books, one of which Gottlieb calls “arguably the masterpiece of English language philosophy.”

And there’s this, on Spinoza:

. . . he was generally thought of as an atheist, though he certainly wouldn’t have described himself as one. He thought he was just trying to show what God was really like, and in fact the German poet Novalis called him a “God-intoxicated man,” with some justice, because Spinoza never stops talking about God. Well, you can’t be both God-intoxicated and an atheist.  But you can, of course, be both God-intoxicated and yet unimpressed by traditional Judaism.