Professor of Philosophy, University of Washington (USA)
Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:August-September 2009; July 2014, October 2017
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»Spinoza’s Prism: Five Arguments for Religious Toleration in the Modern World«
Spinoza was banned from the Jewish community in Amsterdam in 1656 on account of his »horrendous heresies … and evil opinions.« We do not know what his reaction to the ban was, except for the fact that, unlike others who had been threatened with the same punishment, he did not recant his views and he left the community. What we do know is that fourteen years later he anonymously published a book that immediately became notorious for its criticisms of traditional religious belief. In one sense, the Theological-Political Treatise (TTP) seemed to be proof of the very charges that had led to his ban, which in Hebrew is called herem. Spinoza challenged many of the beliefs that the Jewish community in Amsterdam held sacred, such as supernatural revelation through prophecy, the special election of the Jews as a people chosen for their wisdom, and the Mosaic authorship of Scripture. However, the book had a broader and more constructive aim: to articulate the conditions of religious toleration. (Michael Rosenthal)
Research partner:Michael Rosenthal follows the invitation of Thomas Schmidt, Professor of the Philosophy of Religion at Frankfurt University, and the research training group of the German research foundation »Theology as a Science« (DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1728). In summer 2009 he also has been, on the invitation of the Cluster of Excellence, a Fellow at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften. Michael A. Rosenthal is Professor and the Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Washington.
Scholarly profile of Michael Rosenthal Homepage:
Please find more information about Michael Rosenthal here.
Main areas of research:History of Early Modern Philosophy (Descartes through Kant), Ethics, Political Philosophy, Modern Jewish Philosophy
Further academic activities:
- »Spinoza on Circumcision and Ceremonies«, in: Modern Judaism, Volume 36, Issue 1 (2016), pp. 42-66.
- »Politics and Ethics in Spinoza: The Problem of Normativity«, in: Essays on Spinoza’s Ethical Theory, ed. with Matt Kisner and Andrew Youpa, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2014, pp. 85-101.
- »Art and Politics of the Desert: German Exiles in California and the Biblical Bilderverbot«, in: New German Critique, Issue 118, Volume 40, Number 1(Winter 2013), pp. 43-64.
- »Spinoza«, in: Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Religion, revised second edition, ed. by Chad Meister and Paul Copan, London: Routledge 2013, pp. 150-160.
- (ed. with Richard T. Gray, Nicholas Halmi, Gary J. Handwerk and Klaus Vieweg, Inventions of the Imagination: Romanticism and Beyond, Seattle: University of Washington Press 2011.
- (ed. with Yitzhak Y. Melamed), Spinoza’s ›Theological-Political Treatise‹: A Critical Guide, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2010.
Michael Rosenthal is Chair of the Department of Philosophy of the University of Washington. He is a member of the University’s Stroum Center for Jewish Studies.