zondag 4 november 2018

Jakob Böhme (1575 - 1624) vergeleken met #Spinoza door Andrew Weeks

Jakob Böhme schrijft een van zijn boeken, Joseph Mulder, naar Jan Luyken, 1686
•print maker: Joseph Mulder (mentioned on object), •publisher: Johannes Krellius, •publisher: Fredrik Vorster
•engraving /etching - h 182 mm × w 142 mm [Rijksmuseum # RP-P-OB-2362]

Tot mijn vreugde ontdekte ik bij mijn zoekactie, dat deze zomer de volgende zeer interessante tekst verscheen, waarin uitgebreid Spinoza en Böhme met elkaar worden vergeleken.

Andrew Weeks, “From Radical Reformation to Mystical Pre-Enlightenment.” In: Carl Niekerk (Ed.), The Radical Enlightenment in Germany. A Cultural Perspective. Leiden: BRILL/RODOPI, 12 juli 2018, p. 80 -111

Over het boek cf. vorig blog. Over het betreffende hoofdstuk: “Jonathan Israel’s Radical Enlightenment appears in a different light when read in conjunction with George H. Williams’ Radical Reformation and Israel’s own history of The Dutch Republic. The radical dissent of the Reformation and its aftermath extended to Holland, influencing Spinoza’s milieu and creating preconditions for his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670). The radical turn attributed by Israel to Spinoza appears less unprecedented when juxtaposed with its extended Reformation background, including the German speculative or mystical dissenters who anticipated his themes. [cf. Brill – cf. books.google, dat 2 nov. 2018 het hele hoofdstuk liet lezen!
Het hoofdstuk is helder en brengt – zo verging het mij – nieuw inzicht. Weeks geeft commentaar op Jonathan Israel’s Radical Enlightenment, waartegenover hij graag verwijst naar Radical Reformation. Ik citeer hier de slotalinea’s van zijn hoofdstuk: een samenvatting die zijn opzet duidelijk maakt.

My main point in juxtaposing the German mystical dissenters with Spinoza has not been to represent mysticism as the secret essence of the Enlightenment, or the mystical dissenters as a decisive influence on Spinoza. In talking about 'influence', we need to check our metaphors. The German mystical dissenters were early tributaries of the dissenting currents that inundated Spinoza's world, as were the more proximate contemporary Socinians. German mystical dissent articulated problems and questions which Spinoza resolved by taking matters to a new level. Spinoza was, as they say in Gennan, 'washed by all waters'. The waters were swelled by Collegiants and Socinians, by Dutch, Polish, German, French, and English sectarians, by Protestant and Jewish factions, and by the unstable relations of faith and reason at their ultimate source. The headwaters lay in the doctrinal instability of revealed religion and in the inherent contradictions and ambiguities of monotheism. The possible impact of Franck, Weigel, Servetus, or Boehme on Spinoza poses intriguing questions, but not decisive ones. Whether he knew something or nothing of them, our focus falls appropriately on the larger current of which lie and they were part.
My point is that Israel's argument is vindicated as much by the sixteenth century as by the eighteenth. The speculative radicals of what I refer to as the 'mystical pre-enlightenment' provide a clearer intimation than the French revolutionaries of the continuities and innovations in Spinoza's thought. One has the impression that the discussion focuses too much on who filed first in the Patent Office of Great Ideas and not enough on how Spinoza and his associates fought their battles and navigated the sea change toward modernity. Israel's Radical Enlightenment series and Dutch Republic represent the Enlightenment less as a culture or period than as a series of pitched battles which might have gone either way, from the perilous dissemination of Spinoza's work, to eighteenth-century clashes over tolerance, providence, and universal emancipation in the third volume of his series. Israel offers a compelling and solidly documented account of the militant and resourceful Dutch radicals who supported Spinoza. Their issues were the causes of Enlighten-ment: education, free thought and expression, political, religious, and individual emancipation.
Some of their issues are still contested today and continue to elicit re-sponses from the radical to the reactionary. An example is what Israel calls the moderate toleration of John Locke.99 It binds public life in the United States to a culture of ostentatious piety. Our tolerance is moderate or limited in the sense that almost any avowedly religious person or sanctimonious hypocrite, regardless of creed, is a viable candidate for high office. An honest atheist is not. Hardly anyone sees this as a problem. Israel's Enlightenment was bolder and more radical. One has to wonder whether his critics miss his point because we are still unreflectively living his point.
For scholars of eighteenth-century German literature another set of questions is raised. Much has been written about Spinoza's pantheism as a catalyst of enlightened or radical German thought. It is evident, however, that German authors such as Herder or Goethe, who were indeed emboldened by their encounters with Spinozism, nonetheless display a tenor in their literary embrace of nature which accords less with the urban rationalism of Spinoza than with Lutheran tradition, including its pietistic, mystical, and dissenting diffusions. The immediacy and particularity of vegetative life and the infinite shifting variety of nature in Goethe or Herder are not deduced from the categorical precepts of Spinoza's Ethics but rather owe more to the evocation of God at work in each plant in Luther and Boehme, or to the latter's celebration of the manifold concrete particularities of nature. The suggestion that these two approaches to God in nature, that of Spinoza and that of an extended Lutheran tradition, may not be utterly antithetical, but rather distantly but meaning-fully related, is, for intellectual historians, a promising inference from Israel's work. [p. 109-111]
99) Radical Enlightenment, pp. 265-270.
* * *
Zo'n 27 jaar eerder schreef Weeks een biografie over Böhme:
Andrew Weeks, Boehme: An Intellectual Biography of the 17th-Century Philosopher and Mystic. Suny Press, 1991 – books.google
Over het boek: This is a biography of one of the most original and one of the least understood seminal writers of the Baroque world, Jacob Boehme.
In a period tormented by mysteries and controversies, Boehme's visionary mysticism responded to the vexing quandaries confronting his contemporaries. His concerns included the apocalyptic religious disputes of his day, the havoc wrought by the Thirty Years' War in his region, the disintegration of the Old Middle European order, the rise of new cosmic models from avant-garde heliocentrism to obscure esoteric theories, and his endeavor to express by means of codes and symbols a new sense of the human, divine, and natural realms.
[Tussen haakjes, in het boek is bovenstaande gravure op blz. 12 opgenomen; hij werd ook gebruikt voor de cover van het komende Jacob Böhme and His World – cf. vorig blog]

Ik noem ook het volgende boek, daar we langs die weg de auteur leren kennen:
James M. van der Laan and Andrew Weeks (eds.), The Faustian Century. German Literature and Culture in the Age of Luther and Faustus. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2013  399 pages – books,google
Het was n.l. niet eenvoudig m.b.v. Google informatie over de auteur te vinden; LinkedIn kent ruim meer dan 100 mensen met de naam Andrew Weeks. Welnu, in bovenstaand boek is te lezen:
Andrew Weeks,
videostill uit “The Faustian Reformation”
500 years: The Reformation and its Resonations
Conference, 15 September 2017
Andrew Weeks is Professor of German and Comparative literature at Illinois State University. Dat brengt ons vervolgens bij zijn pagina bij zijn universiteit waar je aan zijn publicatielijst ziet hoe lang en systematisch hij met het 16e en 17e eeuwse esoterisme bezig was en is.
En in Valentin Weigel: Selected Spiritual Writings. Translated and introduced by Andrew Weeks [Paulist Press, 2003 – booksgoogle] treffen we het volgende iets uitgebreidere CV aan:
ANDREW WEEKS is a professor of German literature at Illinois State University (Normal). He studied in Hamburg and Berlin and received an M.A. in German literature and the Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Illinois in Urbana. As a student of German intellectual history, Weeks turned his attention to a number of German authors who are often neglected because of their marginal status between medieval and postmedieval literature, among literature, philosophy, and religion, and between Catholic and Protestant confessions: Jacob Boehme, Paracelsus, Valentin Weigel, as well as the German dissenters, Spiritualists, and mystics before and after them. His research attempts to interpret the writings of these authors with reference to their historical contexts. Among the issues that arise in the relationship of dissenting authors to their times, two are of pressing relevance today: the problem of tolerance in the Age of Faith and the relationship between religious authority and natural or philosophical truth. As a Fulbright scholar, Weeks recently taught the history of German mysticism at the University of Marburg and the German Spiritualists of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries at the University of Szeged (Hungary).
 Hiermee hebben we een achtergrond dat vertrouwen kan geven over de deskundigheid van waaruit bovenstaand hoofdstuk is geschreven.
In een volgend blog kom ik met nog meer literatuur over mijn onderwerp die ikzelf vond of die mij werd aangereikt.

Jakob Böhme brengt de pantoffel van Richter terug | Joseph Mulder [europeana.eu]
Pastoor Gregor Richter, die Böhme van ketterij beschuldigde, had de pantoffel naar diens hoofd gegooid.

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