Betraying Spinoza: the renegade Jew who gave us modernity
In 1656, Amsterdam's Jewish community excommunicated Baruch Spinoza, and, at the age of twentythree, he became the most famous heretic in Judaism. He was already germinating a secularist challenge to religion that would be as radical as it was original. He went on to produce one of the most ambitious systems in the history of Western philosophy, so ahead of its time that scientists today, from string theorists to neurobiologists, count themselves among Spinoza's progeny. InBetraying Spinoza,Rebecca Goldstein sets out to rediscover the flesh-and-blood man often hidden beneath the veneer of rigorous rationality, and to crack the mystery of the breach between the philosopher and his Jewish past. Goldstein argues that the trauma of the Inquisition's persecution of its forced Jewish converts plays itself out in Spinoza's philosophy. The excommunicated Spinoza, no less than his excommunicators, was responding to Europe's first experiment with racial anti-Semitism. Here is a Spinoza both hauntingly emblematic and deeply human, both heretic and heroa surprisingly contemporary figure ripe for our own uncertain age. From the Hardcover edition.
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This last comparison should not be understood as a slight to Talmudic study,
despite the fact that "legalistic disputations" might seem to have a pejorative tone
to it. But the legalistic logic of Talmudic analysis encloses a unique form of
I was brought up on three dead languages — Hebrew, Aramaic, and Yiddish —
and in a culture that developed in Babylon: the Talmud. The cheder where I
studied was a room in which the teacher ate and slept, and his wife cooked.
There I ...
These three strains in Jewish scholarship — the legalistic analysis of the Talmud;
the rationalist semiphilosophical approach represented by Maimonides (
semiphilosophical in the sense that not all questions are open to philosophy:
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - MarkBeronte - LibraryThing
In 1656, Amsterdam’s Jewish community excommunicated Baruch Spinoza, and, at the age of twenty–three, he became the most famous heretic in Judaism. He was already germinating a secularist challenge to ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - KidSisyphus - LibraryThing
"By decree of the angels and by the command of the holy men, we excommunicate, expel, curse and damn Baruch de Espinoza, with the consent of God, Blessed be He, and with the consent of the entire holy ... Read full review
Baruch Bento Benedictus
n In Search of Baruch
in The Project of Escape
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