The present article proposes a comparison between Spinoza and Bayle on biblical criticism and the problem of tolerance within the context of the profound theologicalpolitical crisis that shook Europe between the late 17th century and the early 18th century. Did Spinoza’s biblical critique play a true role within the context of early 18th century post-Cartesian philosophy? A comparison with Bayle is highly instructive in this sense, in that it allows us to understand Spinoza’s heritage, but also the profound distance between Spinoza’s reading of the relations between philosophy and the scriptures, and the cultural transformations that ensued from the «crisis of European conscience» in the 18th century. The author highlights the divergences between Spinoza and Bayle’s solutions to the problem of tolerance, which are theologicalpolitical in the first case and lead to sceptical results in the second. On these premises, the author intends to evaluate the critical and problematic nature of Spinozist thought with respect to early Enlightenment philosophy.
Keywords: Spinoza, Bayle, biblical critique, tolerance, faith, reason.