Source: Theologico-Political Treatise - Chapter III - Of the Vocation of the Hebrews, and Whether the Gift of Prophecy was Peculiar to Them

Spinoza's Chapter 3. - the Jews are in no way exceptionally favored (Page 4)

book coverNext in this part of the book is a long section where Spinoza reinforces his contention that the Jews where not singled out for any special treatment. He quotes many Biblical passages and interprets them to show that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile .

He states categorically that At the present time, therefore, there is absolutely nothing which the Jews can arrogate to themselves beyond other people.

He concludes Chapter 3 by noting the long history of persecution of the Jewish people and credits the fact that they remain as a people partly due to that hatred. The sign of circumcision he says is a characteristic that gave them identity and they may, in the future. rise again as a sovereign nation.

Interestingly, he uses the example of the Chinese who, he says, have a "distinctive mark on their heads" which marks them as a people apart and kept them together. Though they lost their nation he has no doubt they will regain it "again after the spirit of the Tartars becomes relaxed through the luxury of riches and pride."

He finishes by saying the only way that one people may be more successful than another is due to physical advantages and that with regard to intellect and virtue the Jews are on a par with any other people. (Deus sive Natura) does not choose one people over another.