Artikel over Spinoza in tijdschrift over Kerk én Staat

In Frankrijk met de grote nadruk op scheiding tussen kerk en staat, de beroemde of beruchte laïcité, zul je zo’n tijdschrift niet aantreffen. Maar bij de Oxford University Press wordt de Journal of Church and State uitgegeven. Het introduceert zich aldus: “The Journal of Church and State is concerned with what has been called the "greatest subject in the history of the West." It seeks to stimulate interest, dialogue, research, and publication in the broad area of religion and the state.” [cf.]

Het blad kent inmiddels al 57 jaargangen. Eén keer in al die jaren had het een artikel over Spinoza’s filosofie inzake de verhouding van kerk en staat. Een zeer interessant artikel in de 54e jaargang (2011) van

Andy Alexis-Baker, "Spinoza's Political Theology: Theocracy, Democracy and Monism." In: Journal of Church and State vol. 54 (2011) no. 3, pages 426–444

Het is vrijgegeven [cf.] en ook als PDF te downloaden. Ik neem hier graag het slot over:

Spinoza wrote during a time when the Dutch Republic was going through a transition, which meant that violent upheaval had been threatening the democratic union. Many Dutch politicians, philosophers, and theologians had argued for democracy before and after Spinoza. This was not unique to him. What makes Spinoza so interesting is that he argued for democracy not by pitting it against religion but by making religion necessary for democracy. What restrained the freedom to philosophize—the main question Spinoza's book sought to root out and answer—was not that philosophy had been subjected to theology but, rather that theology had become saddled with prejudices. Thus Spinoza sought to root them out. One of the most surprising prejudices that Spinoza argued against is that theocracy is opposed to democracy. Spinoza attempted to give a theological foundation to democracy that would undercut both monarchists and Calvinists, both of whom sought to undermine the unity of politics and theology, which would place the Dutch Republic in the same position as the ancient Hebrews. In whatever way one evaluates Spinoza's project, whether it seems as successful as he hoped and whether Christian theology might have something to learn from it, we cannot characterize him as hostile to religion per se. Thus Israel, for example, who has pushed back against recent attempts to understand the Enlightenment as a process of interplay between a variety of cultural, social, political, religious, and philosophical forces rather than as a secularization process, seems not only wrong to reject those recent efforts by insisting that true Enlightenment is “radical” Spinozan Enlightenment but also perhaps even distorts Spinoza by reading a secularization process onto a thinker who saw the unity or monism of all things. Spinoza's toleration, which resulted from his monism, had limits that are troubling for any radical pacifist, against whose position Spinoza's tolerance comes to an end as a result of his political theology.