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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 83, Issue 4, Fall 2009

Francesca di Poppa
Pages 491-507
DOI: 10.5840/acpq200983442

Abraham Cohen Herrera
A Possible Source for Spinoza’s Concept of the Attributes

In this paper, I argue that Herrera’s discussion of the emanative process in his Gate of Heaven is a plausible source for Spinoza’s concept of the attributes as developed in Ethics. While Herrera’s influence on the development of Spinoza’s thought has been discussed, I argue that previous interpretations have not captured the nature of this influence. I will first offer an overview of Herrera’s discussion of the relationship between the One and the sefirot. I will then criticize a recent discussion of Herrera’s influence on Spinoza by Giuseppa Saccaro Del Buffa, and offer a summary of my interpretation of the concept of attribute in Spinoza. Finally, I will show that Herrera’s discussion of the sefirot, the first emanations, as divine activities, rather than created things, inspired Spinoza’s concept of the divine attributes.