Baruch Spinoza

Baruch Spinoza

Overview
Baruch de Spinoza and later Benedict de Spinoza (in all mentioned languages the given name means "the Blessed") (November 24, 1632 – February 21, 1677) was a Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 philosopher. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until years after his death. By laying the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 and modern biblical criticism
Biblical criticism
Biblical criticism is the scholarly "study and investigation of Biblical writings that seeks to make discerning judgments about these writings." It asks when and where a particular text originated; how, why, by whom, for whom, and in what circumstances it was produced; what influences were at work...

, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

 of the 17th-century philosophy
17th-century philosophy
17th-century philosophy in the Western world is generally regarded as being the start of modern philosophy, and a departure from the medieval approach, especially Scholasticism....

.
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Quotations

Nature is satisfied with little; and if she is, I am also.

As quoted in The Story of Philosophy (1933) by Will Durant, p. 176 :s:On the Improvement of the Understanding|Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione [On the Improvement of the Understanding] (1662) Full text online

As men's habits of mind differ, so that some more readily embrace one form of faith, some another, for what moves one to pray may move another to scoff, I conclude ... that everyone should be free to choose for himself the foundations of his creed, and that faith should be judged only by its fruits; each would then obey God freely with his whole heart, while nothing would be publicly honoured save justice and charity.

Preface
Encyclopedia
Baruch de Spinoza and later Benedict de Spinoza (in all mentioned languages the given name means "the Blessed") (November 24, 1632 – February 21, 1677) was a Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 philosopher. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until years after his death. By laying the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 and modern biblical criticism
Biblical criticism
Biblical criticism is the scholarly "study and investigation of Biblical writings that seeks to make discerning judgments about these writings." It asks when and where a particular text originated; how, why, by whom, for whom, and in what circumstances it was produced; what influences were at work...

, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

 of the 17th-century philosophy
17th-century philosophy
17th-century philosophy in the Western world is generally regarded as being the start of modern philosophy, and a departure from the medieval approach, especially Scholasticism....

. And his magnum opus
Masterpiece
Masterpiece in modern usage refers to a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill or workmanship....

, the posthumous Ethics
Ethics (book)
Ethics is a philosophical book written by Benedict de Spinoza. It was written in Latin. Although it was published posthumously in 1677, it is his most famous work, and is considered his magnum opus....

, in which he opposed Descartes
René Descartes
René Descartes ; was a French philosopher and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day...

' mind–body dualism, has also earned him recognition as one of Western philosophy's
Western philosophy
Western philosophy is the philosophical thought and work of the Western or Occidental world, as distinct from Eastern or Oriental philosophies and the varieties of indigenous philosophies....

 most important contributors. Philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, one of the creators of German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality as a whole revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism.Hegel developed a comprehensive...

 said of all contemporary philosophers, "You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all."

Spinoza was raised in the Dutch Jewish community. In time he developed highly controversial ideas regarding the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible and the nature of the Divine. The Jewish religious authorities issued a cherem
Cherem
Cherem , is the highest ecclesiastical censure in the Jewish community. It is the total exclusion of a person from the Jewish community. It is a form of shunning, and is similar to excommunication in the Catholic Church...

(Hebrew: חרם, a kind of excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

) against him, effectively dismissing him from Jewish society at age 23. His books were also later put on the Catholic Church's Index of Forbidden Books
Index Librorum Prohibitorum
The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was a list of publications prohibited by the Catholic Church. A first version was promulgated by Pope Paul IV in 1559, and a revised and somewhat relaxed form was authorized at the Council of Trent...

.

Spinoza lived quietly as a lens
Lens (optics)
A lens is an optical device with perfect or approximate axial symmetry which transmits and refracts light, converging or diverging the beam. A simple lens consists of a single optical element...

 grinder, turning down rewards and honors throughout his life, including prestigious teaching positions, and gave his family inheritance to his sister. Spinoza's philosophical accomplishments and moral character prompted 20th century philosopher Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze , was a French philosopher who, from the early 1960s until his death, wrote influentially on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus , both co-written with Félix...

 to name him "the 'prince' of philosophers."

Spinoza died at the age of 44 allegedly of a lung illness, perhaps tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 or silicosis
Silicosis
Silicosis, also known as Potter's rot, is a form of occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust, and is marked by inflammation and scarring in forms of nodular lesions in the upper lobes of the lungs...

 exacerbated by fine glass
Glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

 dust inhaled while grinding optical lenses. Spinoza is buried in the churchyard of the Christian Nieuwe Kerk
Nieuwe Kerk (The Hague)
The Nieuwe Kerk is a church in The Hague, located across from the modern city hall on the Spui. It was built in 1649 after the Great Church had become too small. Construction was completed in 1656.-History:...

 in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

.

Family origins


Spinoza's ancestors were of Sephardic Jewish descent, and were a part of the community of Portuguese Jews
Spanish and Portuguese Jews
Spanish and Portuguese Jews are a distinctive sub-group of Sephardim who have their main ethnic origins within the Jewish communities of the Iberian peninsula and who shaped communities mainly in Western Europe and the Americas from the late 16th century on...

 that grew in the city of Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 after the Alhambra Decree
Alhambra decree
The Alhambra Decree was an edict issued on 31 March 1492 by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain ordering the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdom of Spain and its territories and possessions by 31 July of that year.The edict was formally revoked on 16 December 1968, following the Second...

 in Spain (1492) and the Portuguese Inquisition
Portuguese Inquisition
The Portuguese Inquisition was formally established in Portugal in 1536 at the request of the King of Portugal, João III. Manuel I had asked for the installation of the Inquisition in 1515 to fulfill the commitment of marriage with Maria of Aragon, but it was only after his death that the Pope...

 (1536) had led to forced conversions and expulsions from the Iberian peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

.

Some historians argue the Spinoza family ("Espinosa" in Portuguese) had its origins in Espinosa de los Monteros
Espinosa de los Monteros
Espinosa de los Monteros is a municipality located in the province of Burgos, Castile and León, Spain, with a population of c. 2,100 inhabitants....

, near Burgos
Burgos
Burgos is a city of northern Spain, historic capital of Castile. It is situated at the edge of the central plateau, with about 178,966 inhabitants in the city proper and another 20,000 in its suburbs. It is the capital of the province of Burgos, in the autonomous community of Castile and León...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. Others claim they were Portuguese Jews who had moved to Spain and then were expelled back to their home country in 1492, only to be forcibly converted to Catholicism in 1498. Spinoza's father was born roughly a century after this forced conversion in the small Portuguese city of Vidigueira
Vidigueira
Vidigueira is a municipality in Portugal, with a total area of 316.0 km² and a total population of 6,019 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of four parishes, and is located in the District of Beja....

, near Beja
Beja (Portugal)
Beja is a city in the Beja Municipality in the Alentejo region, Portugal. The municipality has a total area of 1,147.1 km² and a total population of 34,970 inhabitants. The city proper has a population of 21,658....

 in Alentejo. When Spinoza's father was still a child, Spinoza's grandfather, Isaac de Spinoza (who was from Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

), took his family to Nantes
Nantes
Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, from the Atlantic coast. The city is the 6th largest in France, while its metropolitan area ranks 8th with over 800,000 inhabitants....

 in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. They were expelled in 1615 and moved to Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, where Isaac died in 1627. Spinoza's father, Miguel, and his uncle, Manuel, then moved to Amsterdam where they reassumed their Judaism. Manuel changed his name to Abraão de Spinoza, though his "commercial" name was still the same.

Early life and career


Baruch de Spinoza was born in the Jodenbuurt
Jodenbuurt (Amsterdam)
The Jodenbuurt is a neighborhood of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Prior to World War II, the Jodenbuurt was the center of Amsterdam's Jewish population, hence its name ....

 in Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. His mother Ana Débora, Miguel's second wife, died when Baruch was only six years old. Miguel was a successful importer/merchant and Baruch had a traditional Jewish upbringing.

Spinoza attended the Keter Torah yeshiva
Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

 headed by Rabbi Saul Levi Morteira
Saul Levi Morteira
Saul Levi Morteira was a Dutch rabbi of Portuguese descent.In a Spanish poem Daniel Levi de Barrios speaks of him as being a native of Germany...

, and maintained a connection with Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel, whose home was a center for Jewish scholars in Amsterdam. In time, however, his critical, curious nature would come into conflict with the Jewish community.

Wars with England and France took the life of his father and decimated his family's fortune but he was eventually able to relinquish responsibility for the business and its debts to his brother, Gabriel, and devote himself to philosophy and optics.

Controversial ideas and Jewish reaction


On 27 July 1656, the Jewish community issued him the writ of cherem
Cherem
Cherem , is the highest ecclesiastical censure in the Jewish community. It is the total exclusion of a person from the Jewish community. It is a form of shunning, and is similar to excommunication in the Catholic Church...

(Hebrew: חרם, a kind of excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

).

While the language of the cherem is unusually harsh, the exact reason for expelling Spinoza is not stated. However, according to philosopher Steven Nadler an educated guess is quite straightforward: "No doubt he was giving utterance to just those ideas that would soon appear in his philosophical treatises. In those works, Spinoza denies the immortality of the soul; strongly rejects the notion of a providential God—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and claims that the Law was neither literally given by God nor any longer binding on Jews. Can there be any mystery as to why one of history's boldest and most radical thinkers was sanctioned by an orthodox Jewish community?"

Spinoza's cherem was effected by way of public denunciation; the following document translates the official record of that denunciation:

The Lords of the ma’amad, having long known of the evil opinions and acts of Baruch
de Espinoza, have endeavord by various means and promises, to turn him from his evil
ways. But having failed to make him mend his wicked ways, and, on the contrary,
daily receiving more and more serious information about the abominable heresies
which he practiced and taught and about his monstrous deeds, and having for this
numerous trustworthy witnesses who have deposed and born witness to this effect in
the presence of the said Espinoza, they became convinced of the truth of the matter;
and after all of this has been investigated in the presence of the honorable chachamin,
they have decided, with their consent, that the said Espinoza should be
excommunicated and expelled from the people of Israel. By the 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
all the Holy Congregation, in front of these holy Scrolls with the six-hundred-and-thirteen precepts which are written therein, with the excommunication with which
Joshua banned Jericho, with the curse with which Elisha cursed the boys, and with all
the curses which are written in the Book of the Law. Cursed be he by day and cursed
be he by night; cursed be he when he lies down, and cursed be he when he rises up;
cursed be he when he goes out, and cursed be he when he comes in. The Lord will not
spare him; the anger and wrath of the Lord will rage against this man, and bring upon
him all the curses which are written in this book, and the Lord will blot out his name
from under heaven, and the Lord will separate him to his injury from all the tribes of
Israel with all the curses of the covenant, which are written in the Book of the Law. But
you who cleave unto the Lord God are all alive this day. We order that no one should
communicate with him orally or in writing, or show him any favor, or stay with him
under the same roof, or within four ells of him, or read anything composed or written
by him.


After his cherem, it is reported that Spinoza lived and worked in the school of Franciscus van den Enden
Franciscus van den Enden
Franciscus van den Enden was a former Jesuit, Neo-Latin poet, physician, art dealer, philosopher and plotter against Louis XIV of France and is mainly known as the teacher of Baruch de Spinoza . His name is also written as 'Van den Ende', 'Van den Eijnde', 'Van den Eijnden', etc...

, who taught him Latin in his youth and may have introduced him to modern philosophy
Modern philosophy
Modern philosophy is a type of philosophy that originated in Western Europe in the 17th century, and is now common worldwide. It is not a specific doctrine or school , although there are certain assumptions common to much of it, which helps to distinguish it from earlier philosophy.The 17th and...

, although Spinoza never mentions Van den Enden anywhere in his books or letters. In the early 1660s Van den Enden was considered to be a Cartesian and atheist who was forbidden by the city government to propagate his doctrines publicly . His books were put on the Catholic Index of banned books.

The philosopher Richard Popkin questions the historical veracity of the cherem, which Popkin claims emerged close to 300 years after Spinoza's death.

During the 1650s, Spinoza Latinized his name to become "Benedictus".
During this period Spinoza also became acquainted with several Collegiants
Collegiants
In Christian theology, the Collegiants , also called Collegians, were an eclectic religious sect, formed in 1619 among the Arminians and Anabaptists in Holland...

, members of an eclectic sect
Sect
A sect is a group with distinctive religious, political or philosophical beliefs. Although in past it was mostly used to refer to religious groups, it has since expanded and in modern culture can refer to any organization that breaks away from a larger one to follow a different set of rules and...

 with tendencies towards rationalism
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

. Many of his friends belonged to dissident Christian groups which met regularly as discussion groups and which typically rejected the authority of established churches as well as traditional dogmas. Textbooks and encyclopedias often depict Spinoza as a solitary soul who eked out a living as a lens grinder; in reality, he had many friends but kept his needs to a minimum. The reviewer M. Stuart Phelps noted "No one has ever come nearer to the ideal life of the philosopher than Spinoza." Another reviewer, Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom is an American writer and literary critic, and is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University. He is known for his defense of 19th-century Romantic poets, his unique and controversial theories of poetic influence, and his prodigious literary output, particularly for a literary...

, wrote: "As a teacher of reality, he practiced his own wisdom, and was surely one of the most exemplary human beings ever to have lived." According to the New York Times "In outward appearance he was unpretending, but not careless. His way of living was exceedingly modest and retired; often he did not leave his room for many days together. He was likewise almost incredibly frugal; his expenses sometimes amounted only to a few pence a day." According to Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom is an American writer and literary critic, and is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University. He is known for his defense of 19th-century Romantic poets, his unique and controversial theories of poetic influence, and his prodigious literary output, particularly for a literary...

 and the Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and the flagship publication of the Tribune Company. Formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper" , it remains the most read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region and is...

 "He appears to have had no sexual life." Spinoza also corresponded with Peter Serrarius, a radical Protestant and millennarian merchant. Serrarius is believed to have been a patron of Spinoza at some point after his conversion. By the beginning of the 1660s, Spinoza's name became more widely known, and eventually Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German philosopher and mathematician. He wrote in different languages, primarily in Latin , French and German ....

 and Henry Oldenburg
Henry Oldenburg
Henry Oldenburg was a German theologian known as a diplomat and a natural philosopher. He was one of the foremost intelligencers of Europe of the seventeenth century, with a network of correspondents to rival those of Fabri de Peiresc, Marin Mersenne and Ismaël Boulliau...

 paid him visits, as stated in Matthew Stewart's The Courtier and the Heretic. Spinoza corresponded with Oldenburg for the rest of his short life.

The writings of Rene Descartes
René Descartes
René Descartes ; was a French philosopher and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day...

 have been described as "Spinoza's starting point." Spinoza's first publication was his geometric exposition (formal math proofs) of Descartes, Parts I and II of Descartes' Principles of Philosophy (1663). Spinoza has been associated with Leibniz and Descartes as "rationalists" in contrast to "empiricists". From December 1664 to June 1665, Spinoza engaged in correspondence with Blyenbergh
Blyenbergh
Willem van Blijenbergh was a Dutch grain broker and amateur Calvinist theologian. He was born and lived in Dordrecht. He engaged in philosophical correspondence with Baruch Spinoza regarding the problem of evil. Their correspondence consisted of four letters each, written between December 1664 to...

, an amateur Calvinist theologian, who questioned Spinoza on the definition of evil
Evil
Evil is the violation of, or intent to violate, some moral code. Evil is usually seen as the dualistic opposite of good. Definitions of evil vary along with analysis of its root motive causes, however general actions commonly considered evil include: conscious and deliberate wrongdoing,...

. Later in 1665, Spinoza notified Oldenburg that he had started to work on a new book, the Theologico-Political Treatise
Theologico-Political Treatise
Written by the philosopher Baruch Spinoza, the Theologico-Political Treatise or Tractatus Theologico-Politicus was published anonymously in 1670.It is an early criticism of religious intolerance and a defense of secular government...

, published in 1670. Leibniz disagreed harshly with Spinoza in Leibniz's own published Refutation of Spinoza, but he is also known to have met with Spinoza on at least one occasion (as mentioned above), and his own work bears some striking resemblances to specific important parts of Spinoza's philosophy (see: Monadology
Monadology
The Monadology is one of Gottfried Leibniz’s best known works representing his later philosophy. It is a short text which sketches in some 90 paragraphs a metaphysics of simple substances, or monads.- Text :...

).

When the public reactions to the anonymously published Theologico-Political Treatise were extremely unfavourable to his brand of Cartesianism, Spinoza was compelled to abstain from publishing more of his works. Wary and independent, he wore a signet ring engraved with his initials, a rose, and the word "caute" (Latin for "cautiously"). The Ethics and all other works, apart from the Descartes' Principles of Philosophy and the Theologico-Political Treatise, were published after his death, in the Opera Posthuma
Opera Posthuma
The final work of Baruch Spinoza's Opera Posthuma is a grammar of the Hebrew language, Compendium Grammaticus Lingua Hebraeae. It was published 1677.-External links:*...

edited by his friends in secrecy to avoid confiscation and destruction of manuscripts. The Ethics contains many still-unresolved obscurities and is written with a forbidding mathematical structure modeled on Euclid's geometry and has been described as a "superbly cryptic masterwork."

Later life and career




Spinoza spent his remaining 21 years writing and studying as a private scholar. He preached a philosophy of tolerance and benevolence. Anthony Gottlieb
Anthony Gottlieb
Anthony Gottlieb is a British writer, former Executive Editor of The Economist, and historian of ideas who has taught at the CUNY Graduate Center and the New School in New York, where he has taught a course called "On Nothing" twice. He is a visiting scholar at New York University and a fellow of...

 described him as living "a saintly life."

Spinoza relocated from Amsterdam to Rijnsburg
Rijnsburg
Rijnsburg is a community in the eastern part of the city Katwijk, in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The name means Rhines Burg in Dutch.-History:...

 (near Leiden) around 1661 and later lived in Voorburg
Voorburg
Voorburg is a Dutch town and former municipality in the western part of the province of South Holland, the Netherlands. As also Leidschendam and Stompwijk, it is part of the municipality Leidschendam-Voorburg. It has approximately 39,000 inhabitants....

 and The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

. He earned a comfortable living from lens-grinding. While the lens-grinding aspect of Spinoza's work is uncontested, the type of lenses he made is in question. Many have said he produced excellent magnifying glasses, while some historians describe him as a maker of lenses for eyeglasses. He was also supported by small, but regular, donations from close friends.

He died in 1677 while still working on a political thesis. His premature death was said to be due to lung illness, possibly Silicosis
Silicosis
Silicosis, also known as Potter's rot, is a form of occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust, and is marked by inflammation and scarring in forms of nodular lesions in the upper lobes of the lungs...

 as a result of breathing in glass dust from the lenses he ground. Later, a shrine was made of his home in The Hague.

Only a year earlier, Spinoza had met with Leibniz at The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 for a discussion of his principal philosophical work, Ethics
Ethics (book)
Ethics is a philosophical book written by Benedict de Spinoza. It was written in Latin. Although it was published posthumously in 1677, it is his most famous work, and is considered his magnum opus....

, which had been completed in 1676. Leibniz then began to plagiarize the as-yet unpublished work when he returned to Germany. This meeting was described in Matthew Stewart's The Courtier and the Heretic. Spinoza never married, nor did he father any children. When he died, he was considered a saint by the general Christian population, and was buried in holy ground.

Dutch port cities as sites of free thought


Amsterdam and Rotterdam operated as important cosmopolitan
Cosmopolitanism
Cosmopolitanism is the ideology that all human ethnic groups belong to a single community based on a shared morality. This is contrasted with communitarian and particularistic theories, especially the ideas of patriotism and nationalism...

 centers where merchant ships from many parts of the world brought people of various customs and beliefs. This hustle and bustle ensured, as in the Mediterranean region during the Renaissance, some possibility of free thought and shelter from the crushing hand of ecclesiastical authority. Spinoza may have had access to a circle of friends who were basically heretics in the eyes of tradition. One of the people he may have known was Niels Stensen, a brilliant Danish student in Leiden; others included Coenraad van Beuningen
Coenraad van Beuningen
Coenraad van Beuningen was the Dutch Republic's most experienced diplomat, burgemeester of Amsterdam in 1669, 1672, 1680, 1681, 1683 and 1684, and from 1681 a VOC director...

 and his cousin Albert Burgh
Albert Burgh
Albert Coenraadsz. Burgh was a Dutch physician who was mayor of Amsterdam and a councillor in the Admiralty of Amsterdam.-Biography:...

, with whom Spinoza is known to have corresponded.

Philosophy



Substance, attributes and modes


Spinoza believed God exists and is abstract and impersonal. Spinoza's system imparted order and unity to the tradition of radical thought
Thought
"Thought" generally refers to any mental or intellectual activity involving an individual's subjective consciousness. It can refer either to the act of thinking or the resulting ideas or arrangements of ideas. Similar concepts include cognition, sentience, consciousness, and imagination...

, offering powerful weapons for prevailing against "received authority." As a youth he first subscribed to Descartes's
René Descartes
René Descartes ; was a French philosopher and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day...

 dualistic
Dualism (philosophy of mind)
In philosophy of mind, dualism is a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, which begins with the claim that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical....

 belief that body and mind are two separate substances, but later changed his view and asserted that they were not separate, being a single identity. He contended that everything that exists in Nature (i.e., everything in the Universe) is one Reality (substance) and there is only one set of rules governing the whole of the reality which surrounds us and of which we are part. Spinoza viewed God and Nature as two names for the same reality, namely the single substance
Substance theory
Substance theory, or substance attribute theory, is an ontological theory about objecthood, positing that a substance is distinct from its properties. A thing-in-itself is a property-bearer that must be distinguished from the properties it bears....

 (meaning "that which stands beneath" rather than "matter") that is the basis of the universe and of which all lesser "entities" are actually modes or modifications, that all things are determined by Nature to exist and cause effects, and that the complex chain of cause and effect is understood only in part. His identification of God with nature was more fully explained in his posthumously published Ethics. That humans presume themselves to have free will
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

, he argues, is a result of their awareness of appetites while being unable to understand the reasons why they want and act as they do. Spinoza has been described by one writer as an "Epicurean materialist."

Spinoza contends that "Deus
Deus
Deus is Latin for "god" or "deity".Latin deus and dīvus "divine", are descended from Proto-Indo-European *deiwos, from the same root as *Dyēus, the reconstructed chief god of the Proto-Indo-European pantheon...

 sive Natura
" ("God or Nature") is a being of infinitely many attributes, of which thought and extension are two. His account of the nature of reality, then, seems to treat the physical and mental worlds as one and the same. The universal substance consists of both body and mind, there being no difference between these aspects. This formulation is a historically significant solution to the mind-body problem known as neutral monism
Neutral monism
Neutral monism, in philosophy, is the metaphysical view that the mental and the physical are two ways of organizing or describing the same elements, which are themselves "neutral," that is, neither physical nor mental. This view denies that the mental and the physical are two fundamentally...

. Spinoza's system also envisages a God that does not rule over the universe by providence, but a God which itself is the deterministic system of which everything in nature is a part. Thus, according to this understanding of Spinoza's system, God would be the natural world and have no personality.

In addition to substance, the other two fundamental concepts Spinoza presents and develops in the Ethics are attribute – that which the intellect perceives as constituting the essence of substance, and mode – the modifications of substance, or that which exists in, and is conceived through, something other than itself.

Spinoza was a thoroughgoing determinist
Determinism
Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each of them rests upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and...

 who held that absolutely everything that happens occurs through the operation of necessity
Necessity
In U.S. criminal law, necessity may be either a possible justification or an exculpation for breaking the law. Defendants seeking to rely on this defense argue that they should not be held liable for their actions as a crime because their conduct was necessary to prevent some greater harm and when...

. For him, even human behaviour is fully determined, with freedom being our capacity to know we are determined and to understand why we act as we do. So freedom is not the possibility to say "no" to what happens to us but the possibility to say "yes" and fully understand why things should necessarily happen that way. By forming more "adequate" ideas about what we do and our emotions or affections
Affect (philosophy)
Affect is a concept used in the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza and elaborated by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari...

, we become the adequate cause of our effects (internal or external), which entails an increase in activity (versus passivity). This means that we become both more free and more like God, as Spinoza argues in the Scholium to Prop. 49, Part II. However, Spinoza also held that everything must necessarily happen the way that it does. Therefore, humans have no free will. They believe, however, that their will is free. In his letter to G. H. Schuller (Letter 58), he wrote: " men are conscious of their desire and unaware of the causes by which [their desires] are deter­mined."

Spinoza's philosophy has much in common with Stoicism
Stoicism
Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early . The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of "moral and intellectual perfection," would not suffer such emotions.Stoics were concerned...

 inasmuch as both philosophies sought to fulfill a therapeutic role by instructing people how to attain happiness
Happiness
Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources....

. However, Spinoza differed sharply from the Stoics in one important respect: he utterly rejected their contention that reason
Reason
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...

 could defeat emotion. On the contrary, he contended, an emotion can only be displaced or overcome by a stronger emotion. For him, the crucial distinction was between active and passive emotions, the former being those that are rationally understood and the latter those that are not. He also held that knowledge of true causes of passive emotion can transform it to an active emotion, thus anticipating one of the key ideas of Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

's psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

.

Some of Spinoza's philosophical positions are:
  • The natural world is infinite.
  • Good and evil are related to human pleasure and pain.
  • Everything done by humans and other animals is excellent and divine.
  • All rights are derived from the State.
  • Animals can be used in any way by people for the benefit of the human race, according to a rational consideration of the benefit as well as the animal's status in nature.

Ethical philosophy


Encapsulated at the start in his Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding (Tractatus de intellectus emendatione) is the core of Spinoza's ethical philosophy, what he held to be the true and final good. Spinoza held good and evil to be relative
Relativism
Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration....

 concepts, claiming that nothing is intrinsically good or bad except relative to a particular individual. Things that had classically been seen as good or evil, Spinoza argued, were simply good or bad for humans. Spinoza believes in a deterministic universe in which "All things in nature proceed from certain [definite] necessity and with the utmost perfection." Nothing happens by chance in Spinoza's world, and nothing is contingent.

Spinoza's Ethics



In the universe anything that happens comes from the essential nature of objects, or of God/Nature. According to Spinoza, reality is perfection. If circumstances are seen as unfortunate it is only because of our inadequate conception of reality. While components of the chain of cause and effect are not beyond the understanding of human reason, human grasp of the infinitely complex whole is limited because of the limits of science to empirically take account of the whole sequence. Spinoza also asserted that sense perception, though practical and useful for rhetoric, is inadequate for discovering universal truth; Spinoza's mathematical and logical approach to metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

, and therefore ethics, concluded that emotion is formed from inadequate understanding. His concept of "conatus
Conatus
Conatus is a term used in early philosophies of psychology and metaphysics to refer to an innate inclination of a thing to continue to exist and enhance itself. This "thing" may be mind, matter or a combination of both...

" states that human beings' natural inclination is to strive toward preserving an essential being and an assertion that virtue/human power is defined by success in this preservation of being by the guidance of reason as one's central ethical doctrine. According to Spinoza, the highest virtue is the intellectual love or knowledge of God/Nature/Universe.

In the final part of the "Ethics
Ethics (book)
Ethics is a philosophical book written by Benedict de Spinoza. It was written in Latin. Although it was published posthumously in 1677, it is his most famous work, and is considered his magnum opus....

", his concern with the meaning of "true blessedness", and his explanation of how emotions must be detached from external cause and so master them, give some prediction of psychological techniques developed in the 1900s. His concept of three types of knowledge – opinion, reason, intuition – and his assertion that intuitive knowledge provides the greatest satisfaction of mind, lead to his proposition that the more we are conscious of ourselves and Nature/Universe, the more perfect and blessed we are (in reality) and that only intuitive knowledge is eternal. His unique contribution to understanding the workings of mind is extraordinary, even during this time of radical philosophical developments, in that his views provide a bridge between religions' mystical past and psychology of the present day.

Given Spinoza's insistence on a completely ordered world where "necessity" reigns, Good and Evil have no absolute meaning. Human catastrophes, social injustices, etc., are merely apparent. The world as it exists looks imperfect only because of our limited perception.

However, Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

 contended that Spinoza's book is the opposite of ethics. "…[I]t is precisely ethics on which all pantheism is wrecked. If the world is a theophany, then everything that man does, and indeed every animal does, is equally divine; nothing can be censurable and nothing can be more praiseworthy than anything else." According to Schopenhauer, Spinoza's "teaching amounts to saying; 'The world is because it is; and it is as it is because it is so.'…Yet the deification of the world…did not admit of any true ethics; moreover, it was in flagrant contradiction with the physical evils and moral wickedness of this world."

Panentheist, pantheist, or atheist?


  • On this same topic as it relates to Spinoza's philosophy, see also Pantheism controversy
    Pantheism controversy
    The pantheism controversy was an event in German cultural history which had an impact throughout Europe.A conversation between philosopher Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi and dramatist Gotthold Lessing in 1780 led Jacobi to a protracted study of Spinoza's works. Lessing had avowed that he knew no...

    .


It is a widespread belief that Spinoza equated God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 with the material universe. However, in a letter to Henry Oldenburg he states that: "as to the view of certain people that I identify god with nature (taken as a kind of mass or corporeal matter), they are quite mistaken". For Spinoza, our universe (cosmos) is a mode under two attributes of Thought
Thought
"Thought" generally refers to any mental or intellectual activity involving an individual's subjective consciousness. It can refer either to the act of thinking or the resulting ideas or arrangements of ideas. Similar concepts include cognition, sentience, consciousness, and imagination...

 and Extension
Extension (metaphysics)
In metaphysics, extension is, roughly speaking, the property of "taking up space". René Descartes defines extension as the property of existing in more than one dimension. For Descartes, the primary characteristic of matter is extension, just as the primary characteristic of mind is consciousness...

. God has infinitely many other attributes which are not present in our world. According to German philosopher Karl Jaspers
Karl Jaspers
Karl Theodor Jaspers was a German psychiatrist and philosopher who had a strong influence on modern theology, psychiatry and philosophy. After being trained in and practicing psychiatry, Jaspers turned to philosophical inquiry and attempted to discover an innovative philosophical system...

, when Spinoza wrote "Deus sive Natura" (God or Nature) Spinoza meant God was Natura naturans
Natura naturans
Natura naturans is a Latin term coined during the Middle Ages, meaning "Nature naturing", or more loosely, "nature doing what nature does". The Latin, naturans, is the present participle of natura, indicated by the suffix "-ans" which is akin to the English suffix "-ing." naturata, is the past...

not Natura naturata
Natura naturata
Natura naturata is a Latin term coined in the Middle Ages, mainly used by Baruch Spinoza meaning "Nature natured", or "Nature already created". The term adds the suffix for the Latin past participle to create "natured"...

, and Jaspers believed that Spinoza, in his philosophical system, did not mean to say that God and Nature are interchangeable terms, but rather that God's transcendence was attested by his infinitely many attributes, and that two attributes known by humans, namely Thought
Thought
"Thought" generally refers to any mental or intellectual activity involving an individual's subjective consciousness. It can refer either to the act of thinking or the resulting ideas or arrangements of ideas. Similar concepts include cognition, sentience, consciousness, and imagination...

 and Extension
Extension (metaphysics)
In metaphysics, extension is, roughly speaking, the property of "taking up space". René Descartes defines extension as the property of existing in more than one dimension. For Descartes, the primary characteristic of matter is extension, just as the primary characteristic of mind is consciousness...

, signified God's immanence. Even God under the attributes of thought and extension cannot be identified strictly with our world. That world is of course "divisible"; it has parts. But Spinoza insists that "no attribute of a substance can be truly conceived from which it follows that the substance can be divided" (Which means that one cannot conceive an attribute in a way that leads to division of substance), and that "a substance which is absolutely infinite is indivisible" (Ethics, Part I, Propositions 12 and 13). Following this logic, our world should be considered as a mode under two attributes of thought and extension. Therefore the pantheist formula "One and All" would apply to Spinoza only if the "One" preserves its transcendence and the "All" were not interpreted as the totality of finite things.

Martial Guéroult
Martial Guéroult
Martial Guéroult was a French philosopher and historian of philosophy, specialized in 17th century philosophy. His work was characterized by a close attention to history of philosophy, which he considered as noble as philosophy itself, and a strong demand for systematicity...

 suggested the term "Panentheism
Panentheism
Panentheism is a belief system which posits that God exists, interpenetrates every part of nature and timelessly extends beyond it...

", rather than "Pantheism
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

" to describe Spinoza’s view of the relation between God and the world. The world is not God, but it is, in a strong sense, "in" God. Not only do finite things have God as their cause; they cannot be conceived without God. In other words, the world is a subset
Subset
In mathematics, especially in set theory, a set A is a subset of a set B if A is "contained" inside B. A and B may coincide. The relationship of one set being a subset of another is called inclusion or sometimes containment...

 of God.

In 1785, Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi
Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi
Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi was an influential German philosopher, literary figure, socialite and the younger brother of poet Johann Georg Jacobi...

 published a condemnation of Spinoza's pantheism
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

, after Lessing
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was a German writer, philosopher, dramatist, publicist, and art critic, and one of the most outstanding representatives of the Enlightenment era. His plays and theoretical writings substantially influenced the development of German literature...

 was thought to have confessed on his deathbed to being a "Spinozist", which was the equivalent in his time of being called an atheist. Jacobi claimed that Spinoza's doctrine was pure materialism, because all Nature and God are said to be nothing but extended substance
Substance theory
Substance theory, or substance attribute theory, is an ontological theory about objecthood, positing that a substance is distinct from its properties. A thing-in-itself is a property-bearer that must be distinguished from the properties it bears....

. This, for Jacobi, was the result of Enlightenment rationalism and it would finally end in absolute atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

. Moses Mendelssohn
Moses Mendelssohn
Moses Mendelssohn was a German Jewish philosopher to whose ideas the renaissance of European Jews, Haskalah is indebted...

 disagreed with Jacobi, saying that there is no actual difference between theism
Theism
Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists.In a more specific sense, theism refers to a doctrine concerning the nature of a monotheistic God and God's relationship to the universe....

 and pantheism. The issue became a major intellectual and religious concern for European civilization at the time.

The attraction of Spinoza's philosophy to late 18th-century Europeans was that it provided an alternative to materialism, atheism, and deism. Three of Spinoza's ideas strongly appealed to them:
  • the unity of all that exists;
  • the regularity of all that happens; and
  • the identity of spirit and nature.


Spinoza's "God or Nature" [Deus sive Natura] provided a living, natural God, in contrast to the Newtonian mechanical "First Cause" or the dead mechanism of the French "Man Machine
Julien Offray de La Mettrie
Julien Offray de La Mettrie was a French physician and philosopher, and one of the earliest of the French materialists of the Enlightenment...

." Coleridge and Shelley saw in Spinoza's philosophy a religion of nature and called him the "God-intoxicated Man." Spinoza inspired the poet Shelley to write his essay "The Necessity of Atheism
The Necessity of Atheism
The Necessity of Atheism is a treatise on atheism by the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, printed in 1811 by C. and W. Phillips in Worthing while he was a student at University College, Oxford. A copy of the first version was sent as a short tract signed enigmatically to all heads of Oxford...

."

Spinoza was considered to be an atheist because he used the word "God" [Deus] to signify a concept that was different from that of traditional Judeo–Christian monotheism. "Spinoza expressly denies personality and consciousness to God; he has neither intelligence, feeling, nor will; he does not act according to purpose, but everything follows necessarily from his nature, according to law...." Thus, Spinoza's cool, indifferent God is the antithesis to the concept of an anthropomorphic, fatherly God who cares about humanity.

Spinoza's political theory



Late 20th century Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 demonstrated a greater philosophical interest in Spinoza, often from a left-wing or Marxist perspective. Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 liked his materialistic account of the universe. Notable philosophers Louis Althusser
Louis Althusser
Louis Pierre Althusser was a French Marxist philosopher. He was born in Algeria and studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he eventually became Professor of Philosophy....

, Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze , was a French philosopher who, from the early 1960s until his death, wrote influentially on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus , both co-written with Félix...

, Antonio Negri
Antonio Negri
Antonio Negri is an Italian Marxist sociologist and political philosopher.Negri is best-known for his co-authorship of Empire, and secondarily for his work on Spinoza. Born in Padua, he became a political philosophy professor in his hometown university...

, Étienne Balibar
Étienne Balibar
Étienne Balibar is a French Marxist philosopher. After the death of his teacher Louis Althusser, Balibar quickly became the leading exponent of French Marxist philosophy.- Life and work :...

 and Marilena Chaui
Marilena Chauí
Marilena de Souza Chaui is a Brazilian philosopher. She has been teaching political and modern philosophy in the Department of Philosophy of the University of São Paulo since 1967, when she presented her dissertation on Merleau-Ponty...

 have each drawn upon Spinoza's philosophy. Deleuze's doctoral thesis, published in 1968, refers to him as "the prince of philosophers." Other philosophers heavily influenced by Spinoza include Constantin Brunner
Constantin Brunner
Constantin Brunner was the pen-name of the German Jewish philosopher Arjeh Yehuda Wertheimer . He was born in Altona . He came from a prominent Jewish family that had lived in the vicinity of Hamburg for generations; his grandfather, Akiba Wertheimer, was chief Rabbi of Altona and Schleswig-Holstein...

 and John David Garcia
John David Garcia
John David Garcia - founder of the Society for Evolutionary Ethics , taught an enlightened vision of ethics and human purpose via four books, dozens of articles, lectures, seminars and attempts to found schools based on his ideas...

. Stuart Hampshire
Stuart Hampshire
Sir Stuart Newton Hampshire was an Oxford University philosopher, literary critic and university administrator. He was one of the antirationalist Oxford thinkers who gave a new direction to moral and political thought in the post-World War II era.Hampshire was educated at Repton School and at...

 wrote a major English language study of Spinoza, though H. H. Joachim's work is equally valuable. Unlike most philosophers, Spinoza and his work were highly regarded by Nietzsche.

Spinoza was an important philosophical inspiration for George Santayana
George Santayana
George Santayana was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. A lifelong Spanish citizen, Santayana was raised and educated in the United States and identified himself as an American. He wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters...

. When Santayana graduated from college, he published an essay, “The Ethical Doctrine of Spinoza,” in The Harvard Monthly. Later, he wrote an introduction to Spinoza’s Ethics and ‘De intellectus emendatione’. In 1932, Santayana was invited to present an essay (published as "Ultimate Religion,") at a meeting at The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 celebrating the tricentennial of Spinoza's birth. In Santayana's autobiography, he characterized Spinoza as his “master and model” in understanding the naturalistic basis of morality.

Spinoza's religious criticism and its effect on the philosophy of language



Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

 evoked Spinoza with the title (suggested to him by G. E. Moore) of the English translation of his first definitive philosophical work, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the only book-length philosophical work published by the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in his lifetime. It was an ambitious project: to identify the relationship between language and reality and to define the limits of science...

, an allusion to Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. Elsewhere, Wittgenstein deliberately borrowed the expression sub specie aeternitatis
Sub specie aeternitatis
Sub specie aeternitatis, from the Philosophical Dictionary, Latin for "under the aspect of eternity"; hence, from Spinoza onwards, an honorific expression describing what is universally and eternally true, without any reference to or dependence upon the merely temporal portions of reality.In...

from Spinoza (Notebooks, 1914-16, p. 83). The structure of his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus does have some structural affinities with Spinoza's Ethics (though, admittedly, not with the latter's own Tractatus) in erecting complex philosophical arguments upon basic logical assertions and principles. Furthermore, in propositions 6.4311 and 6.45 he alludes to a Spinozian understanding of eternity and interpretation of the religious concept of eternal life, stating that "If by eternity is understood not eternal temporal duration, but timelessness, then he lives eternally who lives in the present." (6.4311) "The contemplation of the world sub specie aeterni is its contemplation as a limited whole." (6.45) Furthermore, Wittgenstein's interpretation of religious language, in both his early and later career, may be said to bear a family resemblance to Spinoza's pantheism.

Leo Strauss
Leo Strauss
Leo Strauss was a political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. He was born in Germany to Jewish parents and later emigrated to the United States...

 dedicated his first book ("Spinoza's Critique of Religion") to an examination of the latter's ideas. In the book, Strauss identified Spinoza as part of the tradition of Enlightenment rationalism that eventually produced Modernity. Moreover, he identifies Spinoza and his works as the beginning of Jewish Modernity. More recently Jonathan Israel
Jonathan Israel
Professor Jonathan Irvine Israel is a British writer on Dutch history, the Age of Enlightenment and European Jewry. Israel was appointed the Modern European History Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Township, New Jersey, U.S...

, Professor of Modern European History at Princeton, has made a detailed case that from 1650-1750 Spinoza was "the chief challenger of the fundamentals of revealed religion, received ideas, tradition, morality, and what was everywhere regarded, in absolutist and non-absolutist states alike, as divinely constituted political authority."

The events leading to Spinoza's excommunication are the basis for a 2010 play by David Ives. The play "New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch De Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation: Amsterdam, July 27, 1656" was first performed at Theater J in Washington, D.C.

Spinoza in literature


Spinoza has had influence beyond the confines of philosophy. The 19th century novelist George Eliot
George Eliot
Mary Anne Evans , better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist and translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era...

 produced her own translation of the Ethics, the first known English translation of it. Eliot liked Spinoza's vehement attacks on superstition. In his Autobiography 'From My Life: Poetry and Truth", Goethe recounts the way in which Spinoza's Ethics calmed the sometimes unbearable emotional turbulence of his youth. Goethe later displayed his grasp of Spinoza's metaphysics in a fragmentary elucidation of some Spinozist ontological principles entitled Study After Spinoza. Moreover, he cited Spinoza alongside Shakespeare and Carl Linnaeus as one of the three strongest influences on his life and work. The 20th century novelist, W. Somerset Maugham
W. Somerset Maugham
William Somerset Maugham , CH was an English playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and, reputedly, the highest paid author during the 1930s.-Childhood and education:...

, alluded to one of Spinoza's central concepts with the title of his novel, Of Human Bondage
Of Human Bondage
Of Human Bondage is a novel by W. Somerset Maugham. It is generally agreed to be his masterpiece and to be strongly autobiographical in nature, although Maugham stated, "This is a novel, not an autobiography, though much in it is autobiographical, more is pure invention." Maugham, who had...

. Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

 named Spinoza as the philosopher who exerted the most influence on his world view (Weltanschauung). Spinoza equated God (infinite substance) with Nature, consistent with Einstein's belief in an impersonal deity. In 1929, Einstein was asked in a telegram by Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein
Herbert S. Goldstein
Herbert S. Goldstein, , was a prominent American rabbi and Jewish leader.He was the only person in history to have been elected president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the Rabbinical Council of America , and the Synagogue Council of America.Globally, he fought for the...

 whether he believed in God. Einstein responded by telegram: "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings." Spinoza's pantheism has also influenced environmental theory; Arne Næss
Arne Næss
Arne Dekke Eide Næss was a Norwegian philosopher, the founder of deep ecology. He was the youngest person to be appointed full professor at the University of Oslo....

, the father of the deep ecology
Deep ecology
Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological philosophy that recognizes an inherent worth of all living beings, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs. The philosophy emphasizes the interdependence of organisms within ecosystems and that of ecosystems with each other within the...

 movement, acknowledged Spinoza as an important inspiration.

Moreover, the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo , known as Jorge Luis Borges , was an Argentine writer, essayist, poet and translator born in Buenos Aires. In 1914 his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school, receiving his baccalauréat from the Collège de Genève in 1918. The family...

 was greatly influenced by Spinoza's world view. Borges makes allusions to the philosopher's work in many of his poems and short stories, as does Isaac Bashevis Singer
Isaac Bashevis Singer
Isaac Bashevis Singer – July 24, 1991) was a Polish Jewish American author noted for his short stories. He was one of the leading figures in the Yiddish literary movement, and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978...

 in his short story The Spinoza of Market Street. The title character of Hoffman’s Hunger, the fifth novel by the Dutch novelist Leon de Winter
Leon de Winter
- Early life :Leon de Winter was born on 24 February 1954 in Den Bosch, in the southern Netherlands. He grew up in an orthodox Jewish family and attended the gymnasium in Den Bosch. After his graduation he attended the academy of Bavaria Film Studios in Munich and the Netherlands Film Academy in...

, reads and comments upon the Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione
Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione
Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione or On The Improvement Of The Understanding, is a seventeenth century unfinished work of philosophy by the 17th century philosopher Baruch Spinoza....

over the course of the novel. Spinoza has been the subject of numerous biographies and scholarly treatises.

Spinoza is an important historical figure in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, where his portrait was featured prominently on the Dutch 1000-guilder banknote
Banknote
A banknote is a kind of negotiable instrument, a promissory note made by a bank payable to the bearer on demand, used as money, and in many jurisdictions is legal tender. In addition to coins, banknotes make up the cash or bearer forms of all modern fiat money...

, legal tender
Legal tender
Legal tender is a medium of payment allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation. Paper currency is a common form of legal tender in many countries....

 until the euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 was introduced in 2002. The highest and most prestigious scientific award of the Netherlands is named the Spinoza prijs (Spinoza prize). Spinoza was included in a 50 theme canon that attempts to summarise the history of the Netherlands.

Spinoza's work is also mentioned as the favourite reading material for Bertie Wooster
Bertie Wooster
Bertram Wilberforce "Bertie" Wooster is a recurring fictional character in the Jeeves novels of British author P. G. Wodehouse. An English gentleman, one of the "idle rich" and a member of the Drones Club, he appears alongside his valet, Jeeves, whose genius manages to extricate Bertie or one of...

's valet Jeeves
Jeeves
Reginald Jeeves is a fictional character in the short stories and novels of P. G. Wodehouse, being the valet of Bertie Wooster . Created in 1915, Jeeves would continue to appear in Wodehouse's works until his final, completed, novel Aunts Aren't Gentlemen in 1974, making him Wodehouse's most famous...

 in the P. G. Wodehouse
P. G. Wodehouse
Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE was an English humorist, whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics, and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years and his many writings continue to be...

 novels.
Spinoza's life has been the subject of plays and has been honored by educators.

See also

  • Criticism of Judaism
    Criticism of Judaism
    Criticism of Judaism has existed since Judaism's formative stages, as with many other religions.-Heretical views within Judaism:In many religions ex-members and excommunicates became known for doctrinal disputes with their former faith. In Judaism a process similar to excommunication is called cherem...

  • Philosophy of Spinoza
    Philosophy of Spinoza
    One of the three great Rationalists, Spinoza's philosophy encompasses nearly every area of philosophical discourse, including metaphysics, epistemology, political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of mind and philosophy of science....

     for an overview based on the Ethics.
  • Plane of immanence
    Plane of immanence
    Plane of immanence is a founding concept in the metaphysics or ontology of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Immanence, meaning "existing or remaining within" generally offers a relative opposition to transcendence, a divine or metaphysical beyond or outside...


By Spinoza

. Korte Verhandeling van God, de mensch en deszelvs welstand (A Short Treatise on God, Man and His Well-Being).
  • 1662. Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione
    Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione
    Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione or On The Improvement Of The Understanding, is a seventeenth century unfinished work of philosophy by the 17th century philosopher Baruch Spinoza....

    (On the Improvement of the Understanding).
  • 1663. Principia philosophiae cartesianae
    Principia philosophiae cartesianae
    Principia philosophiae cartesianae or Renati Descartes Principia Philosophiae, More Germetrico Demonstrata is a philosophical work of Baruch Spinoza published in Amsterdam in 1663 including its appendix, Cogitata Metaphisica...

    (The Principles of Cartesian Philosophy, translated by Samuel Shirley, with an Introduction and Notes by Steven Barbone and Lee Rice, Indianapolis, 1998). Gallica (in Latin).
  • 1670. Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (A Theologico-Political Treatise).
  • 1675/76 Tractatus Politicus
    Tractatus Politicus
    Tractatus politicus is a political paper of Baruch Spinoza written in 1675 and published in 1677 posthumously. This paper have subtitle, "In quo demonstratur, quomodo societas, ubi Imperium Manarchicum locum habet, sicut et ea, ubi Optimi imperant, debet insyitui, ne in Tyrannidem labatur, et ut...

    (Unfinished) Pdf Version
  • 1677. Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata
    Ethics (book)
    Ethics is a philosophical book written by Benedict de Spinoza. It was written in Latin. Although it was published posthumously in 1677, it is his most famous work, and is considered his magnum opus....

    (The Ethics)
  • 1677. Compendium grammatices linguae hebraeae (Hebrew Grammar).

About Spinoza

  • Albiac, Gabriel, 1987. La sinagoga vacía: un estudio de las fuentes marranas del espinosismo. Madrid
    Madrid
    Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

    : Hiperión D.L. ISBN 978-84-7517-214-9
  • Balibar, Étienne
    Étienne Balibar
    Étienne Balibar is a French Marxist philosopher. After the death of his teacher Louis Althusser, Balibar quickly became the leading exponent of French Marxist philosophy.- Life and work :...

    , 1985. Spinoza et la politique ("Spinoza and politics") Paris: PUF
    University Presses of France
    Presses Universitaires de France or PUF , founded in 1921 by Paul Angoulvent , is the largest French university publishing house....

    .
  • Boucher, Wayne I., 1999. Spinoza in English: A Bibliography from the Seventeenth Century to the Present. 2nd edn. Thoemmes Press.
  • Boucher, Wayne I., ed., 1999. Spinoza: Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century Discussions. 6 vols. Thoemmes Press.
  • Damásio, António
    Antonio Damasio
    Antonio Damasio is David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern California, where he heads USC's Brain and Creativity Institute and Adjunct Professor at the Salk Institute. Prior to taking up his posts at USC, in 2005, Damasio was M.W...

    , 2003. Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain, Harvest Books,ISBN 978-0-15-602871-4
  • Deleuze, Gilles
    Gilles Deleuze
    Gilles Deleuze , was a French philosopher who, from the early 1960s until his death, wrote influentially on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus , both co-written with Félix...

    , 1968. Spinoza et le problème de l'expression. Trans. "Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza" Martin Joughin (New York: Zone Books).
  • ———, 1970. Spinoza - Philosophie pratique. Transl. "Spinoza: Practical Philosophy
    Spinoza: Practical Philosophy
    Spinoza: Practical Philosophy is a 1970 book by Gilles Deleuze concerned with the explanation of Spinoza's philosophy of The Ethics. It was Deleuze's last work published before his collaboration with Félix Guattari on Anti-Oedipus and it presents the formal Spinozist environment in which his later...

    ".
  • ———, 1990. Negotiations trans. Martin Joughin (New York: Columbia University Press).
  • Della Rocca, Michael. 1996. Representation and the Mind-Body Problem in Spinoza. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-509562-3
  • Garrett, Don, ed., 1995. The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza. Cambridge Uni. Press.
  • Gatens, Moira, and Lloyd, Genevieve, 1999. Collective imaginings : Spinoza, past and present. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-16570-9, ISBN 978-0-415-16571-6
  • Goldstein, Rebecca
    Rebecca Goldstein
    Rebecca Goldstein is an American novelist and professor of philosophy. She has written five novels, a number of short stories and essays, and biographical studies of mathematician Kurt Gödel and philosopher Baruch Spinoza....

    , 2006. Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity. Schocken. ISBN 978-0-8052-1159-7
  • Gullan-Whur, Margaret, 1998. Within Reason: A Life of Spinoza. Jonathan Cape. ISBN 978-0-224-05046-3
  • Hampshire, Stuart
    Stuart Hampshire
    Sir Stuart Newton Hampshire was an Oxford University philosopher, literary critic and university administrator. He was one of the antirationalist Oxford thinkers who gave a new direction to moral and political thought in the post-World War II era.Hampshire was educated at Repton School and at...

    , 1951. Spinoza and Spinozism, OUP, 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-927954-8
  • Hardt, Michael
    Michael Hardt
    Michael Hardt is an American literary theorist and political philosopher perhaps best known for Empire, written with Antonio Negri and published in 2000...

    , trans., University of Minnesota Press. Preface, in French, by Gilles Deleuze, available here.
  • Israel, Jonathan
    Jonathan Israel
    Professor Jonathan Irvine Israel is a British writer on Dutch history, the Age of Enlightenment and European Jewry. Israel was appointed the Modern European History Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Township, New Jersey, U.S...

    , 2001. The Radical Enlightenment, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • ———, 2006. Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752, (ISBN 978-0-19-927922-7 hardback)
  • Ives, David, 2009, "New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation: Amsterdam, July 27, 1656"
  • Kasher, Asa
    Asa Kasher
    Asa Kasher is an Israeli philosopher and linguist working at Tel Aviv University, Israel.-Biography:He is noted for authorship of Israel Defense Forces's Code of Conduct...

    , and Shlomo Biderman. "Why Was Baruch de Spinoza Excommunicated?"
  • Kayser, Rudolf, 1946, with an introduction by Albert Einstein
    Albert Einstein
    Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

    . Spinoza: Portrait of a Spiritual Hero. New York: The Philosophical Library.
  • Lloyd, Genevieve
    Genevieve Lloyd
    Genevieve Lloyd is an Australian philosopher and feminist. She studied philosophy at the University of Sydney in the early 1960s and then at Somerville College, Oxford. Her D.Phil, awarded in 1973, was on 'Time and Tense'...

    , 1996. Spinoza and the Ethics. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-10781-5, ISBN 978-0-415-10782-2
  • LeBuffe, Michael. 2010. Spinoza and Human Freedom. Oxford University Press.
  • Lucas, P. G., 1960. "Some Speculative and Critical Philosophers", in I. Levine (ed.), Philosophy (London: Odhams)
  • Lovejoy, Arthur O., 1936. "Plenitude and Sufficient Reason in Leibniz and Spinoza" in his The Great Chain of Being
    Great chain of being
    The great chain of being , is a Christian concept detailing a strict, religious hierarchical structure of all matter and life, believed to have been decreed by the Christian God.-Divisions:...

    . Harvard University Press: 144-82 (ISBN 978-0-674-36153-9). Reprinted in Frankfurt, H. G., ed., 1972. Leibniz: A Collection of Critical Essays. Anchor Books.
  • Macherey, Pierre
    Pierre Macherey
    Pierre Macherey is a French Marxist literary critic at Université Lille Nord de France. A former student of Louis Althusser and collaborator on the influential volume Reading "Capital", Macherey is a central figure in the development of French post-structuralism and Marxism...

    , 1977. Hegel ou Spinoza, Maspéro (2nd ed. La Découverte, 2004).
  • ———, 1994-98. Introduction à l'Ethique de Spinoza. Paris: PUF.
  • Matheron, Alexandre, 1969. Individu et communauté chez Spinoza, Paris: Minuit
    Les Éditions de Minuit
    Les Éditions de Minuit is a French publishing house which has its origins in the French Resistance of World War II and still publishes books today.-History:...

    .
  • Morgan, Michael L. (ed.), 2002. "Spinoza: Complete Works", (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company
    Hackett Publishing Company
    Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. is an academic publishing house based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Since beginning operations in 1972, Hackett has concentrated mainly on humanities, especially classical and philosophical texts. Many Hackett titles are used as textbooks, making the company very...

    ). ISBN 978-0-87220-620-5
  • Montag, Warren. Bodies, Masses, Power: Spinoza and his Contemporaries. (London: Verso, 2002).
  • Moreau, Pierre-François, 2003, Spinoza et le spinozisme, PUF (Presses Universitaires de France)
  • Nadler, Steven
    Steven Nadler
    Steven Nadler is the William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy, and Max and Frieda Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.Nadler received his PhD from Columbia University in 1986...

    , 1999. Spinoza: A Life. Cambridge Uni. Press. ISBN 978-0-521-55210-3
  • Nadler, Steven
    Steven Nadler
    Steven Nadler is the William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy, and Max and Frieda Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.Nadler received his PhD from Columbia University in 1986...

    , 2006. Spinoza's Ethics: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-83620-3
  • Nadler, Steven
    Steven Nadler
    Steven Nadler is the William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy, and Max and Frieda Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.Nadler received his PhD from Columbia University in 1986...

    , 2011. A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza's Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13989-0
  • Negri, Antonio
    Antonio Negri
    Antonio Negri is an Italian Marxist sociologist and political philosopher.Negri is best-known for his co-authorship of Empire, and secondarily for his work on Spinoza. Born in Padua, he became a political philosophy professor in his hometown university...

    , 1991. The Savage Anomaly: The Power of Spinoza's Metaphysics and Politics.
  • ———, 2004. Subversive Spinoza: (Un)Contemporary Variations).
  • Popkin, R. H.
    Richard Popkin
    Richard H. Popkin was an academic philosopher who specialized in the history of enlightenment philosophy and early modern anti-dogmatism. His 1960 work The History of Scepticism from Erasmus to Descartes introduced previously unrecognised influence on Western thought in the seventeenth century,...

    , 2004. Spinoza (Oxford: One World Publications)
  • Prokhovnik, Raia, Spinoza and Republicanism (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).
  • Ratner, Joseph, 1927. The Philosophy of Spinoza (The Modern Library: Random House)
  • Stewart, Matthew. The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza and the Fate of God.2006. W.W. Norton
  • Stolze, Ted and Warren Montag
    Warren Montag
    Warren Montag is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. He is known primarily for his work on twentieth century French theory, especially Althusser and his circle, as well as his studies of the philosopher Spinoza.-Overview:Montag's...

     (eds.), The New Spinoza; Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
  • Strauss, Leo. Persecution and the Art of Writing. Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1952. Reprint. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.
  • ———ch. 5, "How to Study Spinoza's Tractus Theologico-Politicus;" reprinted in Strauss, Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity, ed. Kenneth Hart Green (Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, 1997), 181-233.
  • ———Spinoza's Critique of Religion. New York: Schocken Books, 1965. Reprint. University of Chicago Press, 1996.
  • ———, "Preface to the English Translation" reprinted as "Preface to Spinoza's Critique of Religion," in Strauss, Liberalism Ancient and Modern (New York: Basic Books, 1968, 224-59; also in Strauss, Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity, 137-77).
  • Smilevski, Goce. Conversation with SPINOZA. Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2006.
  • Williams, David Lay. 2010. "Spinoza and the General Will," The Journal of Politics, Vol. 72 (April): 341-56.
  • Wolfson, Henry A. "The Philosophy of Spinoza". 2 vols. Harvard University Press.
  • Yovel, Yirmiyahu, "Spinoza and Other Heretics, Vol. 1: The Marrano of Reason." Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1989.
  • Yovel, Yirmiyahu, "Spinoza and Other Heretics, Vol. 2: The Adventures of Immanence." Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1989.

External links




Works: