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Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy Volume VI$
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Daniel Garber and Donald Rutherford

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199659593

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659593.001.0001

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Spinoza’s Deification of Existence

Spinoza’s Deification of Existence

(p.75) 3 Spinoza’s Deification of Existence
Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy Volume VI

Yitzhak Y. Melamed

Oxford University Press

This chapter aims to clarify Spinoza’s views the nature of God’s attributes, the nature of existence and eternity, and the relation between essence and existence in God. The chapter argues that for Spinoza God is nothing but existence, and that the divine attributes are just fundamental kinds of existence. In Part 1 the chapter provides some background by studying Maimonides’ claims in the Guide of the Perplexed that God’s true essence is necessary existence, and that this essence is denoted by the Tetragrammaton (YHVH). In Part, 2 it points out similar claims Spinoza presents in the TTP, and shows how they echo Maimonides’ discussion in the Guide. In Part 3, it examines Spinoza’s apparently conflicting claims in the Ethics about the relationship between God’s essence and existence. In this part it also solves the problem of the sense in which the infinite modes can be called ‘eternal.’ In Part 4, it turns to the relation between the divine attributes and God’s existence and argues that, for Spinoza, the attributes are self-sufficient and adequate conceptions of existence. Finally, the chapter explains what brought Spinoza to deify existence.

Keywords:   Benedictus Spinoza, existence, eternity, attributes; Maimonides, infinite modes, tetragrammaton, essence, duration, involvit

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