Spinoza’s Web

NB: This project was posted in a previous year and is being re-posted to adapt to the new website format.

March 2014-May 2017 in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Utrecht University

Funded by the Netherlands Foundation for Scientific Research

The significance of Spinoza (1632–1677) for the history of philosophy does not stand in need of documentation. He constructed his philosophy as a comprehensive, all-embracing system, weaving an intricate theoretical web of his own. While he did so, networks sprang up in which his ideas were hotly debated. Spinoza was part and parcel of the intellectual landscape of the Dutch Golden Age, in which philosophy played a much more vital role than is commonly appreciated. This project is based on the thesis that in the reception and interpretation of Spinoza’s thought his works, reputed character and biography are inextricably linked. It wants to develop scholarly tools for the study of his life, works and influence, and to clarify his philosophical impact by bringing out the context in which he flourished. The lines of research will result in four products:

• The Spinoza Web, an online data repository of all sources relating Spinoza’s life, works, letters, correspondents and networks;
• A Bibliography of Spinoza’s Works from 1663 to 1796, an exhaustive description of all early editions and translations;
• Van Velthuysen and His Circle, a monograph on a pivotal intellectual and his network;
• Weaving the Web: The Development of Spinoza’s System, an integrated presentation of the stages of Spinoza’s thought, in connection with the historical context.

Spinoza’s thought has always exercised an attraction well beyond the groves of academe. The project will meet the highest standard of scholarship, but it is designed to be of service to a much larger audience, too.

Supervisor: Prof. Piet Steenbakkers, Senior lecturer of the History of Modern Philosophy in the Philosophy Department of Utrecht University, Holder of the Chair of Spinoza Studies in the Faculty of Philosophy of Erasmus University Rotterdam

Postdoc 1: Dr Jeroen M.M. van de Ven.

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