One of the unwritten rules of today's academia from France to the US is the injunction to love Spinoza.

Everyone loves him, from the Althusserian strict "scientific materialists" to Deleuzean schizo-anarchists, from rationalist critics of religion to the partisans of liberal freedoms and tolerances, not to mention feminists like Genevieve Lloyd who propose to decipher the mysterious third type of knowledge in Ethics as feminine intuitive knowledge surpassing the male analytic understanding... Is it, then, possible at all not to love Spinoza? Who can be against a lone Jew who, on the top of it, was excommunicated by the "official" Jewish community itself? One of the most touching expressions of this love is how one often attributes to him almost divine capacities - like Pierre Macherey who (in his otherwise admirable Hegel ou Spinoza), against the Hegelian critique of Spinoza, claims that one cannot avoid the impression that Spinoza had already read Hegel and in advance answered his reproaches... Perhaps, the most appropriate first step to render problematic this status of Spinoza is to draw attention to the fact that it is totally incompatible with what is arguably the hegemonic stance in today's Cultural Studies, that of the ethico-theological "Judaic" turn of deconstruction best exemplified by the couple Derrida/Levinas - is there a philosopher more foreign to this orientation than Spinoza? Or, even, more foreign to the Jewish universe which, precisely, is the universe of God as radical Otherness, of the enigma of the divine, of the God of negative prohibitions instead of positive injunctions? Were, then, the Jewish priests in a way not RIGHT to excommunicate Spinoza?

Slavoj Zizek, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel and... Badiou!

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