On the Bible Science of Spinoza and His Precursors

"On the Bible Science of Spinoza and His Precursors," Korrespondenzblatt des Vereins zur Grundung Erhaltung einer Akademie fur die Wissenschaft des Judentums, Vol. 7 (1926).  Reprinted in Gesammelte Schriften: Band 1.  Reprinted in Leo Strauss: The Early Writings.


Spinoza’s bible science is first of all a fact in the history of the sciences.  Spinoza has the undisputed merit of having established Bible science as a science “free of presuppositions.”  In the pertinent chapters of the Theological-Political Treatise he determined the fundamental objectives and methods of research of the new discipline and advanced to fundamental results that have never been challenged throughout the further development of the field.  Bible science forms a part of the whole of the hermeneutic disciplines.  In regard to its insight into the demands of hermeneutics as such, however, the achievement of the Treatise falls short of what, for example Erasmus of Rotterdam conceived as necessary.  Thus the total achievement of the Treatise in the history of the sciences would seem to be the constitution of a specialized science.  This remark clearly misses the true meaning of Spinoza’s achievement, because the constitution of Bible science is of deeper significance than, say, the constitution of the specialized sciences concerned with the study of Egyptian or Assyrian antiquities.

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