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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

What are Jews For? Spinoza, the Election of Israel, and the Origins of the Jewish Left Seminar

Dr Reverend James Parkes
7 November 2017
Lecture Theatre C, Avenue Campus, University of Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please email The Parkes Institute at .

Event details

Part of The Parkes Institute's Research Seminar Series for 2017/18.

What are Jews For? Spinoza, the Election of Israel, and the Origins of the Jewish Left

The meaning of Jewish chosenness has been a field of uncertainty and debate throughout Jewish history, but particularly in the modern era, with Spinoza’s repudiation of the notion of the divine election of the Jews usually taken to be the starting-point of the various attempts since the seventeenth century to square universalistic visions of politics with some notion of enduring Jewish particularity and exceptionality. In this paper I will explore Spinoza’s importance in this debate, and sketch out some of the ways in which his legacy has been claimed by various currents of what might consider Jewish Left’ thought.

Portrait photo of Dr Adam Sutcliffe
Dr Adam Sutcliffe

Speaker information

Dr Adam Sutcliffe , King's College London. is Reader in European History. He is the author of Judaism and Enlightenment (2003), and the co-editor, most recently, of Philosemitism in History (2011), volume VII of the Cambridge History of Judaism, covering the period 1500-1815 (forthcoming 2017), and History, Memory and Public Life: The Past in the Present (forthcoming 2018). He is currently working on a study of the development, since the seventeenth century, of the notion of Jewish world historical purpose, and on the Jewish / non-Jewish interactions in the context of the emergence of left-wing politics in France and Germany between 1780 and 1848.

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