Presentation on theme: "Spinoza on Miracles and the Interpretation of Scripture (TTP, chapters 6 and 7)"— Presentation transcript:
Spinoza on Miracles and the Interpretation of Scripture (TTP, chapters 6 and 7)
What is a Miracle? Spinoza defines a miracle as what the vulgar call “unusual works of nature” (VI/1).
Spinoza’s Four Claims about Miracles “Nothing happens in nature that contradicts its universal laws” (VI/4). “We cannot infer from miracles either the essence or he existence, or the providence, of God, but on the contrary these are far better inferred from the fixed and immutable order of nature” (VI/6). We cannot achieve a knowledge of God from miracles with Scripture’s authority” (VI/10). The proper method for interpreting Biblical miracles is strictly philosophical and using “principles known from the natural light of reason” (VI/21).
Spinoza’s General Rule for Interpreting the Bible (and all Sacred Texts?) “The universal rule for interpreting Scripture is to claim nothing as a biblical doctrine that we have not derived, by the closest possible scrutiny, from its own [i.e. the Bible’s] own history” (VII/5)
Three Requirements for Writing a History of the Bible One must study the primary languages (e.g., Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek). One must grasp the meaning of passages “only from its use of the language or from reasoning which accepts no other foundation than Scripture itself.” One must explain the historical contexts in which the various Biblical books were written.