A Theologico-Political Treatise
by Spinoza

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Variation of prophecy with the temperament and opinions of the individual.



CHAPTER III - Of the Vocation of the Hebrews, and whether the Gift of Prophecy was peculiar to them.

Happiness of Hebrews did not consist in the inferiority of the Gentile.

Nor in philosophic knowledge or virtue.

But in their conduct of affairs of state and escape from political dangers.

Even this Distinction did not exist in the time of Abraham.

Testimony from the Old Testament itself to the share of the Gentiles
in the law and favour of God.

Explanation of apparent discrepancy of the Epistle to the Romans.

Answer to the arguments for the eternal election of the Jews.



CHAPTER IV - Of the Divine Law.

Laws either depend on natural necessity or on human decree. The existence
of the latter not inconsistent with the former class of laws.

Divine law a kind of law founded on human decree:
called Divine from its object.

Divine law:
(1) universal;
(2) independent of the truth of any historical narrative;
(3) independent of rites and ceremonies;
(4) its own reward.

Reason does not present God as a law-giver for men.

Such a conception a proof of ignorance - in Adam - in the Israelites -
in Christians.

Testimony of the Scriptures in favour of reason and the
rational view of the Divine.



CHAPTER V. - Of the Ceremonial Law.

Ceremonial law of the Old Testament no part of the Divine universal law,
but partial and temporary. Testimony of the prophets themselves to this
Testimony of the New Testament.

How the ceremonial law tended to preserve the Hebrew kingdom.

Christian rites on a similar footing.

What part of the Scripture narratives is one bound to believe?



Authors Endnotes to the Treatise.



A Theologico-Political Treatise

Part 1 - Chapters I to V




PREFACE.
(1)Men would never be superstitious, if they could govern all their
circumstances by set rules, or if they were always favoured by fortune: but
being frequently driven into straits where rules are useless, and being
often kept fluctuating pitiably between hope and fear by the uncertainty
of fortune's greedily coveted favours, they are consequently, for the most
part, very prone to credulity. (2) The human mind is readily swayed this way
or that in times of doubt, especially when hope and fear are struggling for
the mastery, though usually it is boastful, over - confident, and vain.