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A Theologico-Political Treatise, by Benedict de Spinoza, [1883], at


Part 2—Chapters VI to X

CHAPTER VI—Of Miracles.

Confused ideas of the vulgar on the subject.

A miracle in the sense of a contravention of natural laws an absurdity.

In the sense of an event, whose cause is unknown, less edifying than an event better understood.

God's providence identical with the course of nature. How Scripture miracles may be interpreted.

CHAPTER VII—Of the Interpretation of Scripture.

Current systems of interpretation erroneous.

Only true system to interpret it by itself.

Reasons why this system cannot now be carried out in its entirety.

Yet these difficulties do not interfere with our understanding the plainest and most important passages.

Rival systems examined—that of a supernatural faculty being necessary—refuted.

That of Maimonides.


Traditions of the Pharisees and the Papists rejected.

CHAPTER VIII.—Of the authorship of the Pentateuch,

and the other historical books of the Old Testament.

The Pentateuch not written by Moses.

His actual writings distinct.

Traces of late authorship in the other historical books.

All the historical books the work of one man.

Probably Ezra.

Who compiled first the book of Deuteronomy.

And then a history, distinguishing the books by the names of their subjects.

CHAPTER IX.—Other questions about these books.

That these books have not been thoroughly revised and made to agree.

That there are many doubtful readings.

That the existing marginal notes are often such.

The other explanations of these notes refuted.

The hiatus.

CHAPTER X.—An Examination of the remaining books of

the Old Testament according to the preceding method.

Chronicles, Psalms, Proverbs.

Isaiah, Jeremiah.

Ezekiel, Hosea.

Other prophets, Jonah, Job.

Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther.

The author declines to undertake a similar detailed examination of the New Testament.

Author's Endnotes to the Treatise

Next: Chapter VI.—Of Miracles.