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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The religious feeling engendered by experiencing the logical comprehensibility
of profound interrelations is of a somewhat different sort from the feeling that ... It
is more a feeling of awe at the scheme that is manifested in the material universe
To experience what seems to be an increase in one ' s endeavor to persist , to
feel oneself flourishing , expanding outward into the world , is pleasure ; and to
experience a decrease in one ' s power to persist , to feel one ' s self diminishing
not to be God , a wish patently inconsistent with knowing and loving God . For if a
man should so endeavour , he would desire that God , whom he loves , should
not be God , and consequently be would desire to feel pain ; which is absurd .
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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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