The following are found among a list of Theodor Herzl quotes on the Web site of the World Zionist Organisation:

When I say God I do not mean to offend the freethinkers. For my part they can say World Spirit or any other term in place of this beloved old wonderful abbreviation by which I touch the simplest understanding. For in our theological battle of words we ultimately mean the same thing. In belief or in doubt we mean the same thing: that it is inexplicable.


My conception of God is ...Spinozistic and approaches the natural philosophy of the monists. But Spinoza's "substance" seems to me something...inert and the universal ether of the monists, besides being incomprehensible, is too intangible and contrived. But I can conceive of an omnipresent Will, for I see it at work in the world we know. I see it as I can see the functioning of a muscle. The world is a body and God is the functioning of it.

Did Herzl actually say or write the above? And if so where and when?

My own research shows Herzl appeared to consider Spinoza the greatest of the Jewish thinkers in the past few centuries, as shown in this excerpt from The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl:

Now I was enraptured and uplifted by him. What an exalted, noble spirit! Everything that we have tried is already in his book. The only bothersome thing is his Hegelian terminology. Wonderful the Spinozistic-Jewish and nationalist elements. Since Spinoza Jewry has brought forth no greater spirit than this forgotten, faded Moses Hess!

Thus, the claims made by the WZO appear credible. But did Herzl actually say this?

  • I have created this as a more precise and researched version of this question which was put on hold. Apr 6 '18 at 9:41

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