Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew who Gave Us Modernity
Part of the Jewish Encounter series
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 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.
In Betraying 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 hero--a surprisingly contemporary figure ripe for our own uncertain age.
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And do you know , girls , how this so - called philosopher , whom the world has
decided to call great , answered his former rebbe , how he threw off his derekh
eretz together with all else that he had been taught ? He answered his teacher
I remember thinking , as she stared at me for several long seconds before
answering me , that she liked neither me nor my ... I understood her to be saying
that yes , Jews were still forbidden to read this philosopher ' s works , an answer
The answers he receives astound him with the knowledge that they haven ' t .
They don ' t understand what he is asking at all . They think that they ' ve
answered him , they produce the preformed explanations , but he knows better .
He knows ...
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - drbrand - LibraryThing
The world is the all-embracing web of necessary truths, intelligible through and through―and our own individual salvation rests in our knowing this. Goldstein writes a deeply engaging biography of ... Read full review
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
Baruch Bento Benedictus
In Search of Baruch
The Project of Escape
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