chapter  3
15 Pages

Spinoza: Pan(a)theistic acosmism

A Marrano was a Jew who converted to Christianity in order to avoid the Inquisition.3 It was thought that such people only adhered to the outward displays of the Christian religion so that they were able to continue their Judaism secretly within that public display. If we use this image of a double move we can perhaps learn to give a better reading of Spinoza’s words as found in the Ethics.4 I argue here that Spinoza was implicitly involved (whatever his conscious intent) in a radical project of rewriting the words of common philosophical parlance, because he collapses their ‘original’ meaning and uses them as Trojan vehicles to traffic nothing less (or nothing more) than nihilism. In terms of the aporia articulated in the Preface to this book, Spinoza copes with it by generating the dualism God or Nature; God supplements Nature, while Nature supplements God. But the simultaneous movement between each betrays a monism, in terms of a single substance.5 Below I briefly outline the thought of Spinoza as found in the Ethics, sticking closely to the text, and employing the terms and arguments to be found there. I then look a little closer at the components of that philosophy before articulating the consequences or the ‘reality’ of Spinoza’s words.