Beatitude and the Scope of Grace: Early Modern Morals and the Paradoxes of Felicity

  • Han van RulerEmail author
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas Archives internationales d'histoire des idées book series (ARCH, volume 229)


The early modern question of the salvation of pagans was more than a confrontation between a Renaissance concern for the moral probity of the ancients versus a refusal to include non-believers on the part of the orthodox. The question also concerned the relation between philosophy and theology and, in its specific sixteenth- and seventeenth-century forms, the question of their commensurability. If, in hindsight, Spinoza simply identified religious grace with philosophical beatitude, this does not mean that the theological notion of grace had been unambiguously applied or rejected in philosophical discourse in the two hundred years of theological history which preceded. This chapter distinguishes between dogmatic interpretations of faith and their anthropological underpinnings on the one hand, and the question of the applicability of divine assistance on the other. It also offers an inventory of some of the positions put forward by major theologians and philosophers between 1500 and 1700.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Erasmus School of PhilosophyErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

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