SHOFAR Winter 1996 Vol. 14, No.2 the Iberian Peninsula, especially in Amsterdam. On the one hand, rising secularism in the new Jewish milieu by skeptic conversos and the lay teachings of Spinoza (1632-1677) fulfilled the highest aspiration among various segments of the communities in a society devoid of religious duress. On the other hand, this new trend rejected the basic theo-political principles of Judaism, for it accentuated deistic notions: that in place of OrthodoxJudeo-Christian conceptions of God as being involved in shaping and sustaining human history, God was to withdraw into detached transcendence, leaving the world to operate according to rationaVnatural rules. Or, in Faur's words: Spinoza and his circle of supporters developed the notion of a secular state that is a religious kingdom, where the sovereign takes the place of God and the State is the ultimate authority of spirituality. It was the struggle between the sacred and the profane in Amsterdam that resulted both in Spinoza's being excommunicated and in further ideological bewilderment in the new milieu. Faur's analysis is truly delightful and refreshing not only in relevance to the conversos, but in challenging outmoded theories about Sephardi history and historiography in the European continent. His
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Oct 3, 1996
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