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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Explanations in terms of final causes belong to the old order . The new men of
genius construct explanations out of the certainty of mathematics , not the make -
believe of teleological storytelling . And of course for the rabbis it is not only the
All facts have explanations , even if we are never able to gain access to all of the
explanations . Despite our human limitations , we can know that reality is
intelligible through and through . How could it be otherwise ? It is an affront to
reason to ...
perfection of our mind consists in its containing perfect - fit explanations , then ,
too , the Infinite Intellect of God must contain only perfect - fit explanations . The
world must somehow offer an explanation for itself ; or otherwise we fall back on
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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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