Routledge Philosophy GuideBook to Spinoza on Politics: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Routledge Philosophy GuideBook to Spinoza on Politics

1st Edition

By Daniel Frank, Jason Waller


170 pages

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Baruch Spinoza is one of the most influential and controversial political philosophers of the early modern period. Though best-known for his contributions to metaphysics, Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise (1670) and his unfinished Political Treatise (1677) were widely debated and helped to shape the political writings of philosophers as diverse as Rousseau, Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, and (although he publicly denied it) even Locke. In addition to its enormous historical importance, Spinoza’s political philosophy is also strikingly contemporary in its advocacy of toleration of unpopular religious and political views and his concern with stabilizing religiously diverse democratic societies.

The first Guidebook to Spinoza’s political writings, The Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Spinoza on Politics covers the following key points:

  • Spinoza’s life and the background to his philosophy
  • the key themes and arguments of the Theological-Political-Treatise and Political Treatise
  • the continuing importance of Spinoza’s work to philosophy.

This book is an ideal starting point for anyone new to Spinoza and essential reading for students of political philosophy and seventeenth-century philosophy.


"Spinoza’s political thought has not nearly received the attention it deserves. This thorough and highly readable guidebook is thus a very welcome addition to the literature, and the perfect place to start the study of Spinoza’s important and still relevant views on the state, religion, and toleration." - Steven Nadler, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Table of Contents

Preface 1. The Theological-Political Problem 2. Naturalism, Right, and Power 3. The State of Nature and the Origins of Civil Society 4. Critique of Traditional Biblical Religion 5. The Universal Religion 6. Toleration 7. Democratic Theory. Index

About the Authors

Daniel Frank is Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University, USA and has published widely on Greek and medieval Jewish philosophy.

Jason Waller is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Eastern Illinois University, USA. He is the author of a number of articles on Spinoza, as well as Persistence through Time in Spinoza (2012).

About the Series

Routledge Philosophy GuideBooks

Routledge Philosophy GuideBooks painlessly introduce students to the classic works of philosophy. Each GuideBook considers a major philosopher and a key area of their philosophy by focusing upon an important text – situating the philosopher and the work in a historical context, considering the text in question and assessing the philosopher’s contribution to contemporary thought.

Edited by Tim Crane, University of Cambridge and Jonathan Wolff, University College London

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Movements / General