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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It would take only some small good sense to discover the imposture , this
apikorus said , and whoever continued to believe in it was as naďve as the Jews
of Moses ' time . This is how it often is , girls — that the vilest accusations against
But Spinoza had the arrogant love of his own mind , Mrs . Schoenfeld continued ,
and he seized on these apparent contradictions so that he would not have to
recognize the authority of any mind over his , not even Ha - Shem ' s . Atheism ...
They may have gone through formal Christian conversions , taken the sacrament
, and gone every week to confession , but within the confessional of their inner
being they , too , continued to insist on their essential Jewishness . A Sephardic ...
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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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