SPINOZA, Baruch (later Benedictus de, 1632-1677). Tractatus theologico-politicus continens dissertationes aliquot, quibus ostenditur libertatem philosophandi non tantum salva pietate, & reipublicae pace posse concedi: sed eandem nisi cum pace reipublicae, ipsaque pietate tolli non posse. Hamburg: Henricus Künraht, 1670.
4o (199 x 154 mm). Collation: *4 **2; A-Z4 Aa-Ff4 Gg2 (*1r title, *1v blank, *2r Praefatio, **2r Index capitum; A1r text, Gg1v errata, Gg2 blank). Roman, italic and Hebrew type. Woodcut printer's device on title. (Without the final blank, a few insignificant foxmarks.) Contemporary vellum over pasteboard, yapp edges, titled in manuscript on spine (some light soiling, small horizontal split on spine); modern cloth chemise and blue quarter-morocco slipcase.
Provenance: contemporary inscription on verso of front flyleaf: Cave a veneno hujus libri -- Robert Hunter: signature on title-page -- Thomas Stonor: armorial bookplate -- H. Sharks(?), London 1815: ownership inscription on recto of front flyleaf, London 1815 -- David and Lulu Borowitz: bookplate in slipcase chemise; sale, Sotheby's New York, 12 April 1978, lot 216 (to Lathrop Harper).
FIRST EDITION of Spinoza's philosophy, a "crystal-clear exposition of the theory of natural right" (PMM). The Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (A Treatise on Political Theology) was Spinoza's first great work, blending the traditions of his Hebraic background with Cartesian rationalism, the philosophy he adopted following his break with Jewish orthodoxy in 1656. The Tractatus extends his ethical views into the realm of politics, and contains 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 of State. But the State exists to give liberty, not to enslave; justice, wisdom and toleration are essential to the sovereign power" (PMM).
The printing history of the Tractatus theologico-politicus is, in Fritz Bamberger's words, "a complex and fascinating bibliographical tale." Four editions were published with the 1670 date and Kunraht imprint. Of these, one actually appeared in 1672 and two were issued posthumously in 1677. This copy is of the true first edition, with page 104 misnumbered 304. FINE.
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; Kingma and Offenberg 3; PMM 153; Van der Linde, p.172.