A Theologico-Political Treatise, by Benedict de Spinoza, , at sacred-texts.com
CHAPTERS I to V
Endnote 1. (1) The word naw-vee', Strong:5030, is rightly interpreted by Rabbi Salomon Jarchi, but the sense is hardly caught by Aben Ezra, who was not so good a Hebraist. (2) We must also remark that this Hebrew word for prophecy has a universal meaning and embraces all kinds of prophecy. (3) Other terms are more special, and denote this or that sort of prophecy, as I believe is well known to the learned.
Endnote 2. (1) "Although, ordinary knowledge is Divine, its professors cannot be called prophets." That is, interpreters of God. (2) For he alone is an interpreter of God, who interprets the decrees which God has revealed to him, to others who have not received such revelation, and whose belief, therefore, rests merely on the prophet's authority and the confidence reposed in him. (3) If it were otherwise, and all who listen to prophets became prophets themselves, as all who listen to philosophers become philosophers, a prophet would no longer be the interpreter of Divine decrees, inasmuch as his hearers would know the truth, not on the, authority of the prophet, but by means of actual Divine revelation and inward testimony. (4) Thus the sovereign powers are the interpreters of their own rights of sway, because these are defended only by their authority and supported by their testimony.
Endnote 3. (1) "Prophets were endowed with a peculiar and extraordinary power." (2) Though some men enjoy gifts which nature has not bestowed on their fellows, they are not said to surpass the bounds of human nature, unless their special qualities are such as cannot be said to be deducible from the definition of human nature. (3) For instance, a giant is a rarity, but still human. (4) The gift of composing poetry extempore is given to very few, yet it is human. (5) The same may, therefore, be said of the faculty possessed by some of imagining things as vividly as though they saw them before them, and this not while asleep, but while awake. (6) But if anyone could be found who possessed other means and other foundations for knowledge, he might be said to transcend the limits of human nature.
CHAPTER III. Endnote 4. (1) In Gen. xv. it is written that God promised Abraham to protect him, and to grant him ample rewards. (2) Abraham answered that he could expect nothing which could be of any value to him, as he was childless and well stricken in years.
Endnote 5. (1) That a keeping of the commandments of the old Testament is not sufficient for eternal life, appears from Mark x:21.A Theologico-Political Treatise Part 2—Chapters VI to X by Baruch Spinoza