Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Aug 11, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
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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He had been born into blessed circumstances, had been educated at the yeshiva
the community of Portuguese refugees had organized almost as soon as they got
to their new shores. It was, by all accounts, an excellent school. Rabbis from ...
In my teacher's telling, this Baruch Spinoza might have been one of the no-
goodnik boys attending one of the several yeshivas in the neighborhood, the
Lower East Side of Manhattan, where Mrs. Schoenfeld taught at an all-girls
yeshiva high ...
He had left the yeshiva when he was a teenager. We don't know why exactly,
since a student of his caliber would have been expected to go on and get smikha
(the ordination for the rabbinate). His teachers, including Rabbi Morteira, ...
Maybe his father's business was suffering and he had to help him out — his
younger brother also went into the family business — or maybe, despite his
brilliance in the yeshiva, he had already begun to think like an apikorus and that's
why he ...
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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