One of Spinoza’s more famous, influential and incendiary doctrines concerns the origin and status of Scripture. The Bible, Spinoza argues in the Theological-Political Treatise , was not literally authored by God. God or Nature is metaphysically incapable of proclaiming or dictating, much less writing, anything. Scripture is not ‘a message for mankind sent down by God from heaven’. Rather, it is a very mundane document. Texts from a number of authors of various socio-economic backgrounds, writing at different points over a long stretch of time and in differing historical and political circumstances, were passed down through generations in copies after copies after copies.
'I loved reading this year's winners and runners-up. It filled me with hope, to read them. The senior winner, Annika Turon-Semmens, already has the refusal to compromise that marks a real writer. Human Nature is an astute fusion of funny, vivid, apprehending, powerful, sympathetic and visionary. The senior runner-up, Hiya Chowdhury, has pulled off something very difficult indeed, a story that shines with subtlety and rightness, skilful articulacy, with a communal understanding in which contemporaneity and history, both essentially held together, are made visible in the briefest space like a flare in the dark. The story has a perfected choreography wise beyond its years and its size.