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This article digs into the conceptual history of tzedakah to consider it's relationship to Spinoza's definition of true religion as justita&caritas in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus.3 I provide a brief explanation of Hebrew and Spinoza's grammar. Next, I consider the original meaning of this term in order to show it came to be redefined and associated with a particular idea of charity by way of contact with Christian notions of sin. Next, I turn to twomajor thinkers in medieval Judaism--Rashi and Maimonides, both of whom contributed significantly to the formation of the notion of tzedakah; and finally, I consider the intellectual milieu in which Spinoza wrote. This conceptual history prepares the way for a reconstruction of the meaning of true religion in the TTP.
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Keywords: Spinoza; TTP; charity; justice; true religion; tzedakah

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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