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Excerpt: say to what sect or creed the majority of mankind belong." He laid down that "No one is bound by natural law to live according to the pleasure of another, but that every one is by natural title the rightful asserter of his own independence," and that "he or they govern best who concede to every one the privilege of thinking as he pleases, and of saying what he thinks." Criticising the Hebrew prophets, he points out that "God used no particular style in making his communications; but in the same measure as the prophet possessed learning and ability, his communications were either concise and clear, or on the contrary, they were rude, prolix, and obscure." The representations of Zechariah, as we learn from the accounts themselves, were so obscure that without an explanation they could not be understood by himself; and those of Daniel were so dark, that even when explained, they were still unintelligible, not to others only, but also to the prophet himself. He argues entirely against miracles, as either contrary to nature or above nature, declaring any such to be "a sheer absurdity," "merum esse absurdum" Of the Scriptures themselves he points out that the ancient Hebrew is entirely lost. "Of the authors, or, if you please, writers, of many books, we either know almost nothing, or we entertain grave doubts as to the correctness with which the several books are ascribed to the parties whose names they bear." "Then we neither know on what occasion, nor at what time those books were indited, the writers of which are unknown to us. Further, we know nothing of the hands into which the books fell; nor of the codices which have furnished such a variety of readings, nor whether, perchance, there were not many other variations in other copies." Voltaire says of Spinoza, "Not only in the character of a Jew he attacks the New Testament, but in the character of a scholar he ruins the Old." The logic of Spinoza was directed to the demonstration of one more

Product details

  • Paperback
  • 189 x 246 x 1mm | 68g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236692969
  • 9781236692962