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Ravven Reviews Spinoza’s Challenge to Jewish Thought


Heidi Ravven
Heidi Ravven

A book review by Heidi Ravven, the Bates and Benjamin Professor of Classical and Religious Studies, was recently published on H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online.

She reviewed Spinoza’s Challenge to Jewish Thought: Writings on His Life, Philosophy, and Legacy. Edited by Daniel Schwartz of George Washington University, the book is part of the Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought from Brandeis University Press.

Ravven said that with “excellent clarity and comprehensiveness,” Schwartz “presents “the full range of Jewish responses to Spinoza…providing exhaustive evidence that both Spinoza’s presence as figure and his thought are everywhere and inescapable in Jewish modernity.”

She noted that “this is the first volume to bring together the full array of responses to Spinoza from the 17th century to the present.”

Though she does question certain aspects of the book, Ravven said that overall, “Schwartz does an admirable job of collecting, organizing, and describing the full range of Jewish responses to Spinoza.”

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