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Novalis, Spinoza and the Realization of Nature

From the book 14/2016 Der deutsche Idealismus und die Rationalisten / German Idealism and the Rationalists

  • Jane Kneller


In what follows I begin with a summary of Sebastian Gardner’s criticism of Jonathan Israel’s work on the historical influence of Spinoza on the German Aufklärung, and in particular Israel’s claim that German intellectuals contributed very little to the radical enlightenment that transformed European politics and society. Granting Gardner’s claim that post-Kantian German enlightenment thought did in fact have several representatives of the radical enlightenment, I take issue with his claim that these were one and all anti-naturalist accounts. In the main part of the paper I discuss Novalis’ view of Spinoza’s philosophical naturalism, and offer an interpretation of its influence on what Novalis referred to as his own “interesting discovery of the religion of the visible world”.

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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