To Live the Piety of Reason: Spinoza’s “Authentic” Choice


  • Norman K. Swazo Department of History and Philosophy, North South University Dhaka



Spinoza, Excommunication, Cherem, Authenticity


ABSTRACT: Whether rabbinic authorities should remove the excommunication (cherem) of philosopher Benedict de Spinoza has been a matter of debate in recent years. Spinoza’s philosophical thought, however, demonstrates that this debate would not matter to him.  His pantheism, developed in the Theological-Philosophical Treatise and the Ethics, will ever be a radical contestation of monotheism.  Juxtaposing his philosophical views to the fictional narrative that existential psychologist Irvin D. Yalom offers, in his novel The Spinoza Problem, provides plausible psychological insight into Spinoza’s post-cherem identity in pursuit of authentic selfhood (‘authentic’ in Heidegger’s sense of ‘authenticity,’ Eigentlichkeit). Thereby, we can appreciate the enduring import of Spinoza’s radical enlightenment, the authentic choice of the identity he adopted, and his indefatigable commitment to the piety of reason, i.e., intellectual love of God (amor Dei intellectus).


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Swazo, N. K. (2023). To Live the Piety of Reason: Spinoza’s “Authentic” Choice. Res Cogitans, 16(1).