Philosophy / Literary Theory / German Studies / Jewish Studies / Intellectual History


Spinoza's Modernity
Mendelssohn, Lessing, and Heine
Willi Goetschel

Studies in German Jewish Cultural History and Literature
Paul Mendes-Flohr, Series Editor


"An extraordinary work with immense erudition and scholarship behind it. This has the potential to be a discipline-altering book."

—Warren Montag, author of Bodies, Masses, Power: Spinoza and His Contemporaries

Spinoza's Modernity
is a major, original work of intellectual history that reassesses the philosophical project of Baruch Spinoza, uncovers his influence on later thinkers, and demonstrates how that crucial influence on Moses Mendelssohn, G. E. Lessing, and Heinrich Heine shaped the development of modern critical thought. Excommunicated by his Jewish community, Spinoza was a controversial figure in his lifetime and for centuries afterward. Willi Goetschel shows how Spinoza's philosophy was a direct challenge to the theological and metaphysical assumptions of modern European thought. He locates the driving force of this challenge in Spinoza's Jewishness, which is deeply inscribed in his philosophy and defines the radical nature of his modernity.

Willi Goetschel is associate professor of German and philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Constituting Critique: Kant's Writing as Critical.

November 2003
LC: 2003007693 B
430 pp. 6 x 9
no photos or illust.
ISBN 0-299-19080-3 Cloth $45 s


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