Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  214 / 298 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 214 / 298 Next Page
Page Background

Horst Steinke




. Earlier in the book, we argued that


was pre-

sented in Euclidean deductive-geometrical form in order to side-

step the inadequacies of ordinary, natural language shared by all

forms of knowledge of the first kind. Now, Euclid, as the author,

and the


are apotheosized for another reason: they «are

concerned only with things exceedingly simple and perfectly in-

telligible», and as such are unconditioned/unconditional,


timeless truth


. This fundamental assertion is then elaborated in

a manner that makes direct parallels with the original outline of



to be met in the study of the biblical authors and

books: «Nor need we enquire into the author’s life, pursuits and

character, the language in which he wrote, and for whom, and

when, nor what happened to his book, nor its different readings,

nor how it came to be accepted and by what counsel»


. The

discussion has thus come full circle, and the initially established

parameters of biblical interpretation are now evaluated against

the standard of absolutely certain geometric-deductive logic

which is objective, and thus totally removed from historical cir-

cumstance, or vagaries and accidents of transmission


. In this

evaluation, we are brought by Spinoza to the realization that bib-

lical studies are not merely highly problematic in practice, but


in principle

by virtue, or perhaps rather by their inherent

vice, of having to rely on the wholly insufficient realm of the first

kind of knowledge, inadequate in the severe Spinozan sense by

its very constitution within his epistemic system. Conversely,

Spinoza’s biblical hermeneutics itself necessarily are to be con-

ceived as contingent on, as well as shaped by, his three-tiered

theory of knowledge; to do justice to Spinoza, the contents and

methodology of the former cannot be divorced from the latter.

In Spinoza’s concluding reflections


he circles back to key

points of the first section of his exposition, as if creating an



The first section


of his exposition consisted of two key in-

terpretative guidelines, the first being «the true method of inter-

preting Scripture», by way of emulating «the method of interpret-