This season’s theme is Jews and Justice. The Lecture Series aims to explore their concepts of justice, the ways how they are related to the different political and cultural realms they lived in, as well as the potential juridical and political conflicts that arise from these concepts.

2 February

Prof. Susan James (Birkbeck College, London)

Spinoza on Learning to Live Justly

The European Leo Baeck Lecture Series is organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London, the Jewish Museum and the Fritz Bauer Institut, Frankfurt am Main, in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.

You can download the leaflet here.

Drawing on the work of his contemporary, Thomas Hobbes, Spinoza argues that law and the norms of justice around which it is organised are an entirely human creation.  Communities make laws, and in doing so make justice.  But how do they develop understandings of justice that do more than reflect the interests of the powerful, and provide standards for assessing and criticizing social arrangements?  This lecture explores Spinoza’s account of the philosophical, theological and political processes through which communities learn to live justly.

Susan James is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College London. Her most recent book is Spinoza on Philosophy, Religion and Politics: The Theologico-Political Treatise is published by Oxford University Press in January 2012. Among her other works are Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy (1997) and The Political Writings of Margaret Cavendish (2003).

Lectures are held at the German Historical Institute London, 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJ.

Underground: Holborn, Russell Square; Bus: 1, 7, 8, 19, 25, 38, 55, 59, 68, 91, 98, 134, 168, 171, 188, 242, 243, 521, X68

Lectures will begin promptly at 6.30pm. Admission is free but places are strictly limited and must be reserved in advance by contacting the Leo Baeck Institute, London (email or phone 020 7882 5690).