“The first task Spinoza set himself in the Tractatus is to undermine the traditional notion of the Bible as the inerrant word of God. He takes the five so-called books of Moses and shows why they probably aren’t by a single person, and certainly not by Moses. As he goes through the various books of the Old Testament, what he’s out to establish is that these writings reflect human ideas, and that they are the ideas of particular people expressed at a particular place and a particular time. Most educated people accept that now, but it was a horrifying idea to the religious establishment in Spinoza’s time…Spinoza thought that the rules by which Jews lived, as derived from the Bible, merely reflected the circumstances of the early state of Israel, and because Israel no longer existed, and times had moved on, he thought these rules had become irrelevant. The dietary laws and so forth that bound the religious community of his time, and which continue to bind the orthodox, were all based, he felt, on a misunderstanding. It was a mistake to suppose that God wanted you to go on living like that even today.” Read more...
The best books on God