Spinoza in Germany from 1670 to the Age of Goethe

David Bell and University of London
1 March 1984
220 × 140 mm
206 pp
Paperback: 978-0-85457-117-8
This study first examines how the early hostile reception of Spinoza's thought in Germany rapidly established fundamental misconceptions, despite an undercurrent of opposition from a few little-known, sometimes eccentric, radical freethinkers. The development of a more productive assessment of Spinoza's philosophy is then systematically traced in the writings of Mendelssohn, Lessing, Herder and Goethe, culminating in the vitriolic Spinoza controversy of the 1780s, which provided the final impulse for Herder's Spinoza-dialogues, God. Detailed analysis of this neglected key work brings out the crucial importance of Spinoza in the formulation of a world-view that intimately links the thought of Herder, Goethe and Lessing in the late eighteenth century.