SPINOZA, Baruch (later Benedictus de, 1632-1677). Tractatus theologico-politicus. Hamburg: Henricus Künraht, 1670.
4º (199 x 154 mm). Collation: *4 **2; A-Z4 Aa-Ff4 Gg2 (-Gg2). Roman, italic and Hebrew type. Woodcut printer's device on title. (Light soiling to title and upper corners of B1-3, marginal waterstains, without the final blank.) Contemporary vellum over pasteboard, yapp edges, blue page edges (rebacked, lower cover wormed, ties lacking). Provenance: contemporary note at one corner of title, underlining and scoring to K2.
FIRST EDITION of Spinoza's great treatise on political theology, a ‘crystal-clear exposition of the theory of natural right’ (PMM). Spinoza's principal work, and the only work published in his lifetime, it blends the traditions of his Hebraic background with Cartesian rationalism. His ethical views are extended into the realm of politics, and contain the first clear statement of the mutual independence of philosophy and religion. ‘Man is moved to the knowledge and love of God; the love of God involves the love of our fellow men. Man, in order to obtain security, surrenders part of his right of independent action to the State. But the State exists to give liberty, not to enslave; justice, wisdom and toleration are essential to the sovereign power’ (PMM). Four editions were published with the 1670 date and Kunraht imprint when, in fact, the second appeared in 1672, and the third and fourth posthumously in 1677. This copy is of the true first edition, with page 104 misnumbered 304. Fritz Bamberger, 'The Early Editions of Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus', in: Studies in Bibliography and Booklore, vol. 5, 1962, pp.9-33, no. T1; PMM 153; Van der Linde, p.172.