The Council of Christians and Jews
(By kind permission of the Dean & Chapter of Westminster)

Warmly invite you to a
Reception to launch

Spinoza and the Specters of Modernity
By Michael Mack, Reader in Medical Humanities, Centre for Medical Humanities, Durham University

Monday 22nd November 2010, 6.00 pm

Westminster Abbey,
Cheneygates is entered via the Abbey Cloisters to the right of the Abbey Great West Door and through the Archway.

RSVP by Thursday 18th November 2010
to cjrelations@ccj.org.uk or telephone Lindsay on 0207 015 5160.

1 Comment

centreformedicalhumanities · November 24, 2010 at 9:35 am

Excerpt from the newsletter of the Council for Christians and Jews:

Spinoza……….. Look Again!

CCJ joined the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey in Interfaith Week 2010 to explore a new book on Spinoza by Dr Michael Mack of Durham University.

Indeed Dr Mack’s new book which was launched at the same time is about Spinoza as modernity’s alter ego, as the potential for diversity and human flourishing that lies at the heart of Spinoza’s own enlightenment but has sadly been marginalized in what actually happened throughout twentieth century history. The book is also about a post-modernity which we have missed: but rather points to the hidden Enlightenment of Diversity. Here it attempts to abolish hierarchies between female and male, between Jew and Greek, between body and mind. It unmasks such hierarchies as fictions.

Dr Mack was interviewed by Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey, Dr Nicholas Sagovsky, who commented afterwards: “For anyone like me brought up on the Enlightenment thought of Descartes and Kant, there is usually a vague awareness of an alternative tradition which throws the certainties of Modernity into question. Michael Mack illuminated that tradition through his study of the way Spinoza influenced a series of questioning thinkers such as Herder, Goethe, George Eliot and Freud. It’s a fascinating and stimulating read, and I was delighted to be asked to introduce the book.”

The events took place in the historic Cheneygates, which was originally part of the Abbot’s House of the Benedictine monastery. Henry VII often dined here and it was in these rooms that Sir Thomas More was kept in custody before his removal to the Tower. The large outer room where the event took place is dominated by a stunning 16th Century tapestry believed to have been given to the Abbey by Sir Paul Pinard (d.1650)

The invited audience comprised guests from the religious press, Lambeth Palace, the Methodist Church, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

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