cover of book
by Milad Doueihi
translated by Jane Marie Todd
Harvard University Press, 2010
Cloth: 978-0-674-05063-1
Library of Congress Classification B3999.J8.D68 2010
Dewey Decimal Classification 220.60922


Election and grace are two key concepts that not only have shaped the relations between Judaism and Christianity, but also have formed a cornerstone of the Western philosophical discourse on the evolution and progress of humanity. Though Augustine and Spinoza can be shown to share a methodological approach to these concepts, their conclusions remain radically different. For the Church Father Augustine, grace defines human nature by the potential availability of divine intervention, thus setting the stage for the institutional and political legitimacy of the Church, the Christian state, and its justice. For Spinoza, on the other hand, election represents a unique but local form of divine intervention, marked by geography and historical context.

Milad Doueihi maps out the consequences of such an encounter between these two thinkers in terms of their philosophical heritage and its continued relevance for contemporary discussions of religious diversity and autonomy.

Augustine asserts a theological foundation for the political, whereas Spinoza radically separates philosophy, and thus authority, from theology in order to solicit a political democracy. In this sharply argued and deeply learned book, Milad Doueihi shows us how interconnections between the two thinkers have come to shape Western philosophy.