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Judaism's influence on Jean Bodin has long been appreciated by students of the French thinker's extraordinary career and multifaceted writing but never full understood. Paul Lawrence Rose examines the matter again, elevating it as a critical linchpin in comprehending Bodin's intellectual universe. For Rose, "Bodin's categories [of thought] and religious vision stemmed …from the Jewish tradition represented by the works of Philo and Maimonides." To demonstrate his thesis, Rose chooses to deemphasize the study of Bodin's thought in relation to that of his contemporaries and proposes instead a methodology based on "(1) the completeness or integrality of Bodin's thought and writings and (2) the integration of Bodin's ideas and personality." By the first method, Rose hopes to decode Bodin's remarkable treatise on comparative religion, The Heptaplomeres, by using Bodin's other writings 'as a control upon the ambiguities of the the Heptaplomeres," establishing the extent of agreement among the various speakers of the treatise, and subsequently Bodin's own views on the subject. By the second method, Rose attempts to reconstruct the details of Bodin's supposed three-staged conversion to a prophetic religion in order to illuminate more clearly the "interplay of religion, politics, and personality" characterizing both Bodin's thought and behavior.
© 1982 University of Chicago Press.
Ruderman, D. B. (1982). Review of Paul Lawrence Rose, Bodin and the Great God of Nature: The Moral and Religious Universe of a Judaiser. Renaissance Quarterly, 35 (2), 284-287. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2861048
Date Posted: 02 August 2017
This document has been peer reviewed.