Full Text

Spinoza, Baruch (1632–1677)

Andrew J. Waskey


Subject History
Philosophy » Philosophy of Religion

Place Europe » Western Europe

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1600-1699

Key-Topics bibliography, God, Jewish, revolution, tolerance

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01402.x


Extract

Baruch (Benedict de) Spinoza was born November 24, 1632 in Amsterdam. His parents were Portuguese emigrants and members of the Jewish community of Amsterdam where his father was prospering as a merchant. His mother died when he was six, which was also about the time he began to attend the Jewish school founded in Amsterdam in 1638 and where he learned Hebrew. After school he took private lessons in Latin, German, and other languages. Baruch rebelled in his late teen years against the traditional rabbinical program of study. The synagogue leaders were not tolerant of his ideas because they rejected a belief in monotheism. Unable to silence his rejection of the existence of angels, the immortality of the soul, that God does not have a body, and other similar views, he was excommunicated in July 1656. Banned from the Jewish community, Spinoza latinized his name to Benedict and attached himself to the Collegiants, a brotherhood, in Amsterdam. The Collegiants were students of Cartesianism. It is possible that Spinoza discovered the “new philosophy” of René Descartes (1596–1650) while associated with them. Franciscus van der Enden, a leading Collegiant, persuaded Spinoza to teach in the school he had opened in Amsterdam. Flemish, a former Jesuit, and a classicist, Enden has been described as a political adventurer. He died on the gallows in Paris on November 24, 1674. It is possible that ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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