Spinoza (/bəˈruːk spɪˈnoʊzə/; Dutch: [baːˈrux
spɪˈnoːzaː]; born Benedito de Espinosa,
Portuguese: [bɨnɨˈðitu ðɨ ʃpiˈnɔzɐ]; 24 November 1632
– 21 February 1677, later Benedict de Spinoza) was a Dutch
philosopher of Sephardi/Portuguese origin. By laying the groundwork
for the 18th-century Enlightenment and modern biblical
criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and the
universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of
17th-century philosophy. Along with René Descartes,
Spinoza was a
leading philosophical figure of the Dutch Golden Age. Spinoza's given
name, which means "Blessed", varies among different languages. In
Hebrew, it is written ברוך שפינוזה. His Portuguese name
is Benedito "Bento" de Espinosa. In his Latin works, he used Latin:
Benedictus de Spinoza.
Spinoza's magnum opus, Ethics, was published posthumously in 1677. The
work opposed Descartes' philosophy on mind–body dualism, and earned
Spinoza recognition as one of Western philosophy's most important
thinkers. In the Ethics, "
Spinoza wrote the last indisputable Latin
masterpiece, and one in which the refined conceptions of medieval
philosophy are finally turned against themselves and destroyed
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said, "The fact is that
Spinoza is made a testing-point in modern philosophy, so that it may
really be said: You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at
all." His philosophical accomplishments and moral character
Gilles Deleuze to name him "the 'prince' of
Spinoza was raised in a Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam. He
developed highly controversial ideas regarding the authenticity of the
Hebrew Bible and the nature of the Divine. Jewish religious
authorities issued a herem (חרם) against him, causing him to be
effectively shunned by Jewish society at age 23. His books were also
later put on the Catholic Church's Index of Forbidden Books.
Spinoza lived an outwardly simple life as a lens grinder, turning down
rewards and honours throughout his life, including prestigious
teaching positions. He died at the age of 44 allegedly of a lung
illness, perhaps tuberculosis or silicosis exacerbated by the
inhalation of fine glass dust while grinding optical lenses. He is
buried in the churchyard of the
Christian Nieuwe Kerk in The
1.1 Family and community origins
1.2 17th-century Netherlands
1.3 Early life
1.4 Expulsion from the Jewish community
1.5 Later life and career
1.7 Lens-grinding and optics
1.8 The Hague
1.9 Writings and correspondence
2.1 Substance, attributes, and modes
2.2 Ethical philosophy
2.3 Spinoza's "Ethics"
3 History of reception
3.1 Pantheist, panentheist, or atheist?
3.2 Comparison to Eastern philosophies
3.3 Spinoza's reception in the 19th and 20th centuries
3.4 Spinoza's religious criticism and its effect on the philosophy of
Spinoza in literature, art, and popular culture
5 See also
7 Further reading
8 External links
Family and community origins
Spinoza's ancestors were of Sephardic Jewish descent and were a part
of the community of
Portuguese Jews that had settled in the city of
Amsterdam in the wake of the
Portuguese Inquisition (1536), which had
resulted in forced conversions and expulsions from the Iberian
Although the Portuguese name "de Espinosa" or "Espinosa," then spelled
with a "z," can be confused with the Spanish "de Espinoza" or
"Espinoza," there is no evidence in Spinoza's genealogy that his
family came from Espinosa de los Monteros, near Burgos, or from
Espinosa de Cerrato, near Palencia, both in Northern Castile,
Spain. Still, this was a common Portuguese conversos family
Attracted by the Decree of Toleration issued in 1579 by the Union of
Utrecht, Portuguese "conversos" first sailed to
Amsterdam in 1593 and
promptly reconverted to Judaism. In 1598 permission was granted to
build a synagogue, and in 1615 an ordinance for the admission and
government of the Jews was passed. As a community of exiles, the
Portuguese Jews of
Amsterdam were highly proud of their identity.
Spinoza's father was born roughly a century after this forced
conversion in the small Portuguese city of Vidigueira, near Beja in
Alentejo. When Spinoza's father was still a child, Spinoza's
grandfather, Isaac de Spinoza, who was from Lisbon, took his family to
Nantes in France. They were expelled in 1615 and moved to Rotterdam,
where Isaac died in 1627.
Spinoza's father, Miguel (Michael), and his uncle, Manuel, then moved
Amsterdam where they resumed the practice of Judaism. Miguel was a
successful merchant and became a warden of the synagogue and of the
Amsterdam Jewish school. He buried three wives and three of his
six children died before reaching adulthood.
Rotterdam operated as important cosmopolitan centres
where merchant ships from many parts of the world brought people of
various customs and beliefs. This flourishing commercial activity
encouraged a culture relatively tolerant of the play of new ideas, to
a considerable degree sheltered from the censorious hand of
ecclesiastical authority (though those considered to have gone "too
far" might have gotten persecuted even in the Netherlands). Not by
chance were the philosophical works of both
Descartes and Spinoza
developed in the cultural and intellectual background of the Dutch
Republic in the 17th century.
Spinoza may have had access to a
circle of friends who were unconventional in terms of social
tradition, including members of the Collegiants. One of the people
he knew was Niels Stensen, a brilliant Danish student in Leiden;
others included Albert Burgh, with whom
Spinoza is known to have
Map by Balthasar Florisz van Berckenrode (1625) with the present
location of the
Moses and Aaron Church in white, but also the spot
Spinoza grew up.
Spinoza lived where the
Moses and Aaron Church is located now, and
there is strong evidence that he may have been born there.
Benedito de Espinoza was born on 24 November 1632 in the
Amsterdam, Netherlands. He was the second son of Miguel de Espinoza, a
successful, although not wealthy, Portuguese Sephardic Jewish merchant
in Amsterdam. His mother, Ana Débora, Miguel's second wife, died
when Baruch was only six years old. Spinoza's mother tongue was
Portuguese, although he also knew Hebrew, Spanish, Dutch, perhaps
French, and later Latin. Although he wrote in Latin, Spinoza
learned the language only late in his youth.
Spinoza had a traditional Jewish upbringing, attending the Keter Torah
yeshiva of the
Talmud Torah congregation headed by the
learned and traditional senior Rabbi Saul Levi Morteira. His teachers
also included the less traditional Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel, "a man
of wide learning and secular interests, a friend of Vossius, Grotius,
and Rembrandt". While presumably a star pupil, and perhaps
considered as a potential rabbi,
Spinoza never reached the advanced
study of the Torah in the upper levels of the curriculum. Instead,
at the age of 17, after the death of his elder brother, Isaac, he cut
short his formal studies in order to begin working in the family
In 1653, at age 20,
Spinoza began studying Latin with Francis van den
Enden (Franciscus van den Enden), a notorious free thinker, former
Jesuit, and radical democrat who likely introduced
scholastic and modern philosophy, including that of
Descartes. (A decade later, in the early 1660s, Van
den Enden was considered to be a Cartesian and atheist, and his
books were put on the Catholic Index of Banned Books.)
Spinoza's father, Miguel, died in 1654 when
Spinoza was 21. He duly
recited Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, for eleven months as
required by Jewish law. When his sister Rebekah disputed his
inheritance, he took her to court to establish his claim, won his
case, but then renounced his claim in her favour.
Spinoza adopted the Latin name Benedictus de Spinoza, began
boarding with Van den Enden, and began teaching in his
school. Following an anecdote in an early biography by
Johannes Colerus, he is said to have fallen in love with his
teacher's daughter, Clara, but she rejected him for a richer student.
(This story has been discounted on the basis that Clara Maria van den
Enden was born in 1643 and would have been no more than about 18 years
Spinoza left Amsterdam. In 1671 she married Dirck
During this period
Spinoza also became acquainted with the
Collegiants, an anti-clerical sect of
Remonstrants with tendencies
towards rationalism, and with the Mennonites who had existed for a
century but were close to the Remonstrants. 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.
Spinoza's break with the prevailing dogmas of Judaism, and
particularly the insistence on non-
Mosaic authorship of the
Pentateuch, was not sudden; rather, it appears to have been the result
of a lengthy internal struggle: "If anyone thinks my criticism
[regarding the authorship of the Bible] is of too sweeping a nature
and lacking sufficient foundation, I would ask him to undertake to
show us in these narratives a definite plan such as might legitimately
be imitated by historians in their chronicles... If he succeeds, I
shall at once admit defeat, and he will be my mighty Apollo. For I
confess that all my efforts over a long period have resulted in no
such discovery. Indeed, I may add that I write nothing here that is
not the fruit of lengthy reflection; and although I have been educated
from boyhood in the accepted beliefs concerning Scripture, I have felt
bound in the end to embrace the views I here express."
Nevertheless, once branded as a heretic, Spinoza's clashes with
authority became more pronounced. For example, questioned by two
members of his synagogue,
Spinoza apparently responded that
God has a
body and nothing in scripture says otherwise. He was later
attacked on the steps of the synagogue by a knife-wielding assailant
shouting "Heretic!" He was apparently quite shaken by this attack and
for years kept (and wore) his torn cloak, unmended, as a souvenir.
After his father's death in 1654,
Spinoza and his younger brother
Gabriel (Abraham) ran the family importing business. The business
ran into serious financial difficulties, however, perhaps as a result
of the First Anglo-Dutch War. In March 1656,
Spinoza filed suit with
Amsterdam municipal authorities to be declared an orphan in order
to escape his father's business debts and so that he could inherit his
mother's estate (which at first was incorporated into his father's
estate) without it being subject to his father's creditors. In
addition, after having made substantial contributions to the Talmud
Torah synagogue in 1654 and 1655, he reduced his December 1655
contribution and his March 1656 pledge to nominal amounts (and the
March 1656 pledge was never paid).
Spinoza was eventually able to relinquish responsibility for the
business and its debts to his younger brother, Gabriel, and devote
himself chiefly to the study of philosophy, especially the system
expounded by Descartes, and to optics.
Expulsion from the Jewish community
On 27 July 1656, the
Talmud Torah congregation of
Amsterdam issued a
writ of cherem (Hebrew: חרם, a kind of ban, shunning, ostracism,
expulsion, or excommunication) against the 23-year-old Spinoza.
The following document translates the official record of the
The Lords of the ma'amad, having long known of the evil opinions and
acts of Baruch de Espinoza, have endeavoured 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
practised and taught and about his monstrous deeds, and having for
this numerous trustworthy witnesses who have deposed and borne 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 honourable chachamin [sages], 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 favour, or stay with him under the same roof, or within four ells
of him, or read anything composed or written by him.
Statue of Spinoza, near his house on the Paviljoensgracht in The
Talmud Torah congregation issued censure routinely, on matters
great and small, so such an edict was not unusual. The
language of Spinoza's censure is unusually harsh, however, and does
not appear in any other censure known to have been issued by the
Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam. The exact reason for
Spinoza is not stated. The censure refers only to the
"abominable heresies that he practised and taught," to his "monstrous
deeds," and to the testimony of witnesses "in the presence of the said
Espinoza." There is no record of such testimony, but there appear to
have been several likely reasons for the issuance of the censure.
First, there were Spinoza's radical theological views that he was
apparently expressing in public. As philosopher and
Steven Nadler puts it: "No doubt he was giving utterance to just those
ideas that would soon appear in his philosophical treatises. In those
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
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?"
Amsterdam Jewish community was largely composed of former
"conversos" who had fled from the
Portuguese Inquisition within the
previous century, with their children and grandchildren. This
community must have been concerned to protect its reputation from any
Spinoza lest his controversial views provide the
basis for their own possible persecution or
expulsion. There is little evidence that the
Amsterdam municipal authorities were directly involved in Spinoza's
censure itself. But "in 1619, the town council expressly ordered [the
Portuguese Jewish community] to regulate their conduct and ensure that
the members of the community kept to a strict observance of Jewish
law." Other evidence makes it clear that the danger of upsetting
the civil authorities was never far from mind, such as bans adopted by
the synagogue on public wedding or funeral processions and on
discussing religious matters with Christians, lest such activity might
"disturb the liberty we enjoy." Thus, the issuance of Spinoza's
censure was almost certainly, in part, an exercise in self-censorship
by the Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam.
Third, it appears likely that
Spinoza had already taken the initiative
to separate himself from the
Talmud Torah congregation and was vocally
expressing his hostility to
Judaism itself. He had probably stopped
attending services at the synagogue, either after the lawsuit with his
sister or after the knife attack on its steps. He might already have
been voicing the view expressed later in his Theological-Political
Treatise that the civil authorities should suppress
Judaism as harmful
to the Jews themselves. Either for financial or other reasons,
he had in any case effectively stopped contributing to the synagogue
by March 1656. He had also committed the "monstrous deed," contrary to
the regulations of the synagogue and the views of some rabbinical
authorities (including Maimonides), of filing suit in a civil court
rather than with the synagogue authorities—to renounce his
father's heritage, no less. Upon being notified of the issuance of the
censure, he is reported to have said: "Very well; this does not force
me to do anything that I would not have done of my own accord, had I
not been afraid of a scandal." Thus, unlike most of the censure
issued routinely by the
Amsterdam congregation to discipline its
members, the censure issued against
Spinoza did not lead to repentance
and so was never withdrawn.
After the censure,
Spinoza is said to have addressed an "Apology"
(defence), written in Spanish, to the elders of the synagogue, "in
which he defended his views as orthodox, and condemned the rabbis for
accusing him of 'horrible practices and other enormities' merely
because he had neglected ceremonial observances." This "Apology"
does not survive, but some of its contents may later have been
included in his Theological-Political Treatise. For example, he
cited a series of cryptic statements by medieval Biblical commentator
Abraham ibn Ezra
Abraham ibn Ezra intimating that some apparently anachronistic
passages of the
Pentateuch (i.e., "[t]he Canaanite was then in the
land," Genesis 12:6, which ibn Ezra called a "mystery" and exhorted
those "who understand it keep silent") were not of Mosaic authorship
as proof that his own views had valid historical precedent.
The most remarkable aspect of the censure may be not so much its
issuance, or even Spinoza's refusal to submit, but the fact that
Spinoza's expulsion from the Jewish community did not lead to his
conversion to Christianity.
Spinoza kept the Latin (and so
implicitly Christian) name Benedict de Spinoza, maintained a close
association with the Collegiants, a
Christian sect, even moved to a
town near the Collegiants' headquarters, and was buried in a Christian
graveyard—but there is no evidence or suggestion that he ever
accepted baptism or participated in a
Christian mass. Thus, by
default, Baruch de Espinoza became the first secular Jew of modern
In September 2012, the Portugees-Israëlietische Gemeente te Amsterdam
asked the chief rabbi of their community
Haham Pinchas Toledano to
reconsider the cherem after consulting several
However he declined to remove it, citing Spinoza's "preposterous
ideas, where he was tearing apart the very fundamentals of our
Later life and career
Spinoza's house in
Rijnsburg from 1661 to 1663, now a museum
Study room of Spinoza
Spinoza spent his remaining 21 years writing and studying as a private
Spinoza believed in a "Philosophy of tolerance and benevolence"
and actually lived the life which he preached. He was criticized and
ridiculed during his life and afterwards for his alleged atheism.
However, even those who were against him "had to admit he lived a
saintly life". Besides the religious controversies, nobody really
had much bad to say about
Spinoza other than, "he sometimes enjoyed
watching spiders chase flies".
After the cherem, the
Amsterdam municipal authorities expelled Spinoza
from Amsterdam, "responding to the appeals of the rabbis, and also of
Calvinist clergy, who had been vicariously offended by the
existence of a free thinker in the synagogue". He spent a brief
time in or near the village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, but returned
soon afterwards to
Amsterdam and lived there quietly for several
years, giving private philosophy lessons and grinding lenses, before
leaving the city in 1660 or 1661.
During this time in Amsterdam,
Spinoza wrote his Short Treatise on
God, Man, and His Well-Being, which he never published in his
lifetime—assuming with good reason that it might get suppressed. Two
Dutch translations of it survive, discovered about 1810."
Spinoza moved around 1660 or 1661 from
Leiden), the headquarters of the Collegiants. In Rijnsburg, he
began work on his Descartes' "Principles of Philosophy" as well as on
his masterpiece, the Ethics. In 1663, he returned briefly to
Amsterdam, where he finished and published Descartes' "Principles of
Philosophy," the only work published in his lifetime under his own
name, and then moved the same year to Voorburg.
Spinoza continued work on the
Ethics and corresponded
with scientists, philosophers, and theologians throughout Europe.
He also wrote and published his Theological Political Treatise in
1670, in defence of secular and constitutional government, and in
support of Jan de Witt, the Grand Pensionary of the Netherlands,
against the Stadholder, the Prince of Orange. Leibniz visited
Spinoza and claimed that Spinoza's life was in danger when supporters
of the Prince of Orange murdered de Witt in 1672. While published
anonymously, the work did not long remain so, and de Witt's enemies
characterized it as "forged in Hell by a renegade Jew and the Devil,
and issued with the knowledge of Jan de Witt." It was condemned in
1673 by the Synod of the Reformed Church and formally banned in
Lens-grinding and optics
Spinoza earned a modest living from lens-grinding and instrument
making, yet he was involved in important optical investigations of the
day while living in Voorburg, through correspondence and friendships
Christiaan Huygens and mathematician Johannes Hudde,
including debate over microscope design with Huygens, favouring small
objectives and collaborating on calculations for a prospective
40 ft telescope which would have been one of the largest in
Europe at the time. The quality of Spinoza's lenses was much
praised by Christiaan Huygens, among others. In fact, his
technique and instruments were so esteemed that Constantijn Huygens
ground a "clear and bright" 42 ft. telescope lens in 1687 from
one of Spinoza's grinding dishes, ten years after his death. The
exact type of lenses that
Spinoza made are not known, but very likely
included lenses for both the microscope and telescope. He was said by
Theodor Kerckring to have produced an "excellent"
microscope, the quality of which was the foundation of Kerckring's
anatomy claims. During his time as a lens and instrument maker, he
was also supported by small but regular donations from close
Spinoza moved to
The Hague where he lived on a small pension
from Jan de Witt and a small annuity from the brother of his dead
friend, Simon de Vries. He worked on the Ethics, wrote an
unfinished Hebrew grammar, began his Political Treatise, wrote two
scientific essays ("On the Rainbow" and "On the Calculation of
Chances"), and began a Dutch translation of the
Bible (which he later
Spinoza chose for his device the Latin word "caute" ("cautiously"),
inscribed beneath a rose, itself a symbol of secrecy. "For, having
chosen to write in a language that was so widely intelligible, he was
compelled to hide what he had written."
Spinoza was offered the chair of philosophy at the University of
Heidelberg, but he refused it, perhaps because of the possibility that
it might in some way curb his freedom of thought.
Spinoza met with Leibniz at
The Hague for a discussion of his
principal philosophical work, Ethics, which had been completed in
1676. This meeting was described in Matthew Stewart's The Courtier and
Spinoza's health began to fail in 1676, and he died on 21 February
1677 at the age of 44. His premature death was said to be due to
lung illness, possibly silicosis as a result of breathing in glass
dust from the lenses that he ground. Later, a shrine was made of his
home in The Hague.
Textbooks and encyclopaedias 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. He preached a philosophy
of tolerance and benevolence.
Anthony Gottlieb described him as living
"a saintly life." Reviewer M. Stuart Phelps noted, "No one has ever
come nearer to the ideal life of the philosopher than Spinoza."
Harold Bloom wrote, "As a teacher of reality, he practised 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." Bloom
writes of Spinoza, "He appears to have had no sexual life."
Spinoza also corresponded with Peter Serrarius, a radical Protestant
and millennarian merchant. Serrarius was a patron to
Spinoza left the Jewish community and even had letters sent and
received for the philosopher to and from third parties.
Serrarius maintained their relationship until Serrarius' death in
1669. By the beginning of the 1660s, Spinoza's name became more
widely known, and eventually Gottfried Leibniz and Henry Oldenburg
paid him visits, as stated in Matthew Stewart's The Courtier and the
Spinoza corresponded with Oldenburg for the rest of his
Writings and correspondence
The writings of
René Descartes have been described as "Spinoza's
starting point." Spinoza's first publication was his geometric
exposition (proofs using the geometric method on the model of Euclid
with definitions, axioms, etc.) of Descartes's Parts I and II of
Principles of Philosophy (1663).
Spinoza has been associated with
Descartes as "rationalists" in contrast to
Spinoza engaged in correspondence from December 1664 to June 1665 with
Willem van Blijenbergh, an amateur
Calvinist theologian, who
Spinoza on the definition of evil. Later in 1665, Spinoza
notified Oldenburg that he had started to work on a new book, the
Theologico-Political Treatise, published in 1670. Leibniz disagreed
Spinoza in his own manuscript "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).
When the public reactions to the anonymously published
Theologico-Political Treatise were extremely unfavourable to his brand
Spinoza was compelled to abstain from publishing more
of his works. Wary and independent, he wore a signet ring which he
used to mark his letters and which was engraved with a rose and the
word "caute" (Latin for "cautiously").
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, 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 modelled on Euclid's geometry
and has been described as a "superbly cryptic masterwork."
Substance, attributes, and modes
Main article: Philosophy of Baruch Spinoza
These are the fundamental concepts with which
Spinoza sets forth a
vision of Being, illuminated by his awareness of God. They may seem
strange at first sight. To the question "What is?" he replies:
"Substance, its attributes, and modes".
— Karl Jaspers
Spinoza argued that
God exists and is abstract and impersonal.
Spinoza's view of
God is what
Charles Hartshorne describes as
Spinoza has also been described as an
"Epicurean materialist," specifically in reference to his
opposition to Cartesian mind-body dualism. This view was held by
Epicureans before him, as they believed that atoms with their
probabilistic paths were the only substance that existed
fundamentally. Spinoza, however, deviated significantly from
Epicureans by adhering to strict determinism, much like the Stoics
before him, in contrast to the Epicurean belief in the probabilistic
path of atoms, which is more in line with contemporary thought on
quantum mechanics. Spinoza's system imparted order and unity
to the tradition of radical thought, offering powerful weapons for
prevailing against "received authority." 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.
God and Nature as two names for the same reality,
namely a single, fundamental substance (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. Spinoza's main contention
with Cartesian mind–body dualism was that, if mind and body were
truly distinct, then it is not clear how they can coordinate in any
manner. Humans presume themselves to have free will, he argues, which
is a result of their awareness of appetites that affect their minds,
while being unable to understand the reasons why they want and act as
Spinoza contends that "Deus sive Natura" 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 intertwined, causally related, and deriving from the same
substance. It is important to note here that, in Parts 3 through 4 of
Spinoza describes how the human mind is affected by both
mental and physical factors. He directly contests dualism. The
universal substance emanates both body and mind; while they are
different attributes, there is no fundamental difference between these
aspects. This formulation is a historically significant solution to
the mind–body problem known as neutral monism. Spinoza's system also
God that does not rule over the universe by Providence in
God can make changes, but a
God which itself is the
deterministic system of which everything in nature is a part. Spinoza
argues that "things could not have been produced by
God in any other
way or in any other order than is the case,"; he directly
challenges a transcendental
God which actively responds to events in
the universe. Everything that has and will happen is a part of a long
chain of cause and effect which, at a metaphysical level, humans are
unable to change. No amount of prayer or ritual will sway God. Only
knowledge of God, or the existence which humans inhabit, allows them
to best respond to the world around them. Not only is it impossible
for two infinite substances to exist (two infinities being
absurd), God—being the ultimate substance—cannot be affected
by anything else, or else it would be affected by something else, and
not be the fundamental substance.
Spinoza was a thoroughgoing determinist who held that absolutely
everything that happens occurs through the operation of necessity. 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. By forming more "adequate" ideas about what we do and our emotions
or affections, 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
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. This illusionary perception of freedom stems
from our human consciousness, experience, and indifference to prior
natural causes. Humans think they are free but they ″dream with
their eyes open″. For Spinoza, our actions are guided entirely by
natural impulses. 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."
This picture of Spinoza's determinism is ever more illuminated through
reading this famous quote in Ethics: ″the infant believes that it is
by free will that it seeks the breast; the angry boy believes that by
free will he wishes vengeance; the timid man thinks it is with free
will he seeks flight; the drunkard believes that by a free command of
his mind he speaks the things which when sober he wishes he had left
unsaid. … All believe that they speak by a free command of the mind,
whilst, in truth, they have no power to restrain the impulse which
they have to speak.″ Thus for
Spinoza morality and ethical
judgement like choice is predicated on an illusion. For Spinoza,
″Blame″ and ″Praise″ are non existent human ideals only
fathomable in the mind because we are so acclimatized to human
consciousness interlinking with our experience that we have a false
ideal of choice predicated upon this.
Spinoza's philosophy has much in common with
Stoicism inasmuch as both
philosophies sought to fulfil a therapeutic role by instructing people
how to attain happiness. However,
Spinoza differed sharply from the
Stoics in one important respect: he utterly rejected their contention
that reason 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's
Spinoza shared ethical beliefs with ancient Epicureans, in renouncing
ethics beyond the material world, although Epicureans focused more on
physical pleasure and
Spinoza more on emotional wellbeing.
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
Spinoza held good and evil to be relative concepts, claiming
that nothing is intrinsically good or bad except relative to a
particularity. Things that had classically been seen as good or evil,
Spinoza argued, were simply good or bad for humans.
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
Given Spinoza's insistence on a completely ordered world where
"necessity" reigns, Good and
Evil have no absolute meaning. The world
as it exists looks imperfect only because of our limited perception.
The opening page of Spinoza's magnum opus, Ethics
In the universe anything that happens comes from the essential nature
of objects, or of
God or 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
Spinoza also asserted that sense perception, though
practical and useful, is inadequate for discovering truth. His concept
of "conatus" states that human beings' natural inclination is to
strive toward preserving an essential being, and asserts 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
Also in the "Ethics",
Spinoza discusses his beliefs about what he
considers to be the three kinds of knowledge that come with
perceptions. The first kind of knowledge he writes about is the
knowledge of experiences. More precisely, this first type of knowledge
can be known as the knowledge of things that could be "mutilated,
confused, and without order." Another explanation of what the
first knowledge can be is that it is the knowledge of dangerous
reasoning. Dangerous reason lacks any type of rationality, and causes
the mind to be in a "passive" state. This type of "passive mind" that
Spinoza writes about in the earlier books of The
Ethics is a state of
the mind in which adequate causes become passions. Spinoza’s second
knowledge involves reasoning plus emotions. He explains that this
knowledge is had by the rationality of any adequate causes that have
to do with anything common to the human mind. An example of this could
be anything that is classified as being of imperfect virtue. Imperfect
virtues are seen as those which are incomplete. Many philosophers,
Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle, would compare imperfect virtue
to pagan virtue.
Spinoza defines the third and final knowledge as the
knowledge of God, which requires rationality and reason of the mind.
In more detail,
Spinoza uses this type of knowledge to join together
the essence of
God with the individual essence. This knowledge is also
formed from any adequate causes that include perfect virtue.
In the final part of the "Ethics", his concern with the meaning of
"true blessedness", and his explanation of how emotions must be
detached from external causes in order to master them, foreshadow
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.
History of reception
Pantheist, panentheist, or atheist?
Main article: Spinozism
An unfavorable engraving depiction of philosopher Spinoza, captioned
in Latin, "A Jew and an Atheist".
It is a widespread belief that
God with the material
universe. He has therefore been called the "prophet" and
"prince" and most eminent expounder of pantheism. More
specifically, in a letter to
Henry Oldenburg he states, "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 and Extension.
God has infinitely many other attributes which
are not present in our world.
According to German philosopher
Karl Jaspers (1883–1969), when
Spinoza wrote in
Deus sive Natura
Deus sive Natura (Latin for '
God or Nature'), Spinoza
God was natura naturans (nature doing what nature does;
literally, 'nature naturing'), not natura naturata (nature already
created; literally, 'nature natured'). 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 and Extension, signified God's
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 said, "no attribute of a
substance can be truly conceived from which it follows that the
substance can be divided", meaning that one cannot conceive an
attribute in a way that leads to division of substance. He also said,
"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, according to Jaspers, 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
Martial Guéroult (1891–1976) suggested the term "panentheism",
rather than "pantheism" to describe Spinoza's view of the relation
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. However, American
Charles Hartshorne (1897–2000) insisted on
the term Classical
Pantheism to describe Spinoza's view.
Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi
Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi published a condemnation of
Spinoza's pantheism, after Gotthold Lessing 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. This, for Jacobi, was
the result of Enlightenment rationalism and it would finally end in
Moses Mendelssohn disagreed with Jacobi, saying that
there is no actual difference between theism 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;
the identity of spirit and nature.
By 1879, Spinoza’s pantheism was praised by many, but was considered
by some to be alarming and dangerously inimical.
God or Nature" (Deus sive Natura) provided a living,
natural God, in contrast to Isaac Newton's first cause argument and
the dead mechanism of Julien Offray de La Mettrie's (1709–1751)
Man a Machine (L'homme machine). Coleridge and Shelley saw in
Spinoza's philosophy a religion of nature.
Novalis called him the
Spinoza inspired the poet Shelley to
write his essay "The Necessity of Atheism".
Spinoza was considered to be an atheist because he used the word "God"
(Deus) to signify a concept that was different from that of
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
cares about humanity.
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,
Spinoza's God is
an "infinite intellect" (
Ethics 2p11c) — all knowing (2p3), and
capable of loving both himself—and us, insofar as we are part of his
perfection (5p35c). And if the mark of a personal being is that it is
one towards which we can entertain personal attitudes, then we should
note too that
Spinoza recommends amor intellectualis dei (the
intellectual love of God) as the supreme good for man (5p33). However,
the matter is complex.
Spinoza's God does not have free will (1p32c1),
he does not have purposes or intentions (1 appendix), and Spinoza
insists that "neither intellect nor will pertain to the nature of God"
(1p17s1). Moreover, while we may love God, we need to remember that
God is really not the kind of being who could ever love us back. "He
God cannot strive that
God should love him in return," says
Steven Nadler suggests that settling the question of Spinoza's atheism
or pantheism depends on an analysis of attitudes. If pantheism is
associated with religiosity, then
Spinoza is not a pantheist, since
Spinoza believes that the proper stance to take towards
God is not one
of reverence or religious awe, but instead one of objective study and
reason, since taking the religious stance would leave one open to the
possibility of error and superstition.
Comparison to Eastern philosophies
Similarities between Spinoza's philosophy and Eastern philosophical
traditions have been discussed by many authors. The 19th-century
Theodor Goldstücker was one of the early figures
to notice the similarities between Spinoza's religious conceptions and
Vedanta tradition of India, writing that Spinoza's thought was
... a western system of philosophy which occupies a foremost rank
amongst the philosophies of all nations and ages, and which is so
exact a representation of the ideas of the Vedanta, that we might have
suspected its founder to have borrowed the fundamental principles of
his system from the Hindus, did his biography not satisfy us that he
was wholly unacquainted with their doctrines... We mean the philosophy
of Spinoza, a man whose very life is a picture of that moral purity
and intellectual indifference to the transitory charms of this world,
which is the constant longing of the true
comparing the fundamental ideas of both we should have no difficulty
in proving that, had
Spinoza been a Hindu, his system would in all
probability mark a last phase of the
Max Müller, in his lectures, noted the striking similarities between
Vedanta and the system of Spinoza, saying "the Brahman, as conceived
in the Upanishads and defined by Sankara, is clearly the same as
Spinoza's 'Substantia'." Helena Blavatsky, a founder of the
Theosophical Society also compared Spinoza's religious thought to
Vedanta, writing in an unfinished essay "As to Spinoza's
Deity—natura naturans—conceived in his attributes simply and
alone; and the same Deity—as natura naturata or as conceived in the
endless series of modifications or correlations, the direct
out-flowing results from the properties of these attributes, it is the
Vedantic Deity pure and simple."
Spinoza's reception in the 19th and 20th centuries
Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries grew even more interested in
Spinoza, often from a left-wing or
Marxist perspective. Karl Marx
liked Spinoza's account of the universe, interpreting it as
materialistic. The philosophers Louis Althusser, Gilles Deleuze,
Antonio Negri and
Étienne Balibar have each drawn upon Spinoza's
philosophy. Deleuze's doctoral thesis, published in 1968, calls him
"the prince of philosophers".
Nietzsche esteemed few
philosophers, but he esteemed Spinoza. However,
Nietzsche never read Spinoza's works themselves, but learned about
Spinoza from Kuno Fischer's History of Modern Philosophy.
George 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
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
Ludwig Wittgenstein 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,
an allusion to Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. Elsewhere,
Wittgenstein deliberately borrowed the expression sub specie
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)
Leo Strauss dedicated his first book, Spinoza's Critique of Religion,
to an examination of the latter's ideas. In the book, Strauss
Spinoza as part of the tradition of Enlightenment
rationalism that eventually produced Modernity. Moreover, he
Spinoza and his works as the beginning of Jewish
Modernity. More recently
Jonathan Israel argued that, from 1650 to
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."
Spinoza in literature, art, and popular culture
Spinoza has had influence beyond the confines of philosophy.
Spinoza's Tractatus theologico-politicus was presented to the Chair of
the Dutch Parliament, and shares a shelf with the
Bible and the
The 17th-century philosopher John Locke, who also spent time in
Amsterdam, was influenced by his "pioneering and profound conceptions
of religious tolerance and democratic government," according to Cornel
The 19th-century novelist
George Eliot 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",
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
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 alluded to one of
Spinoza's central concepts with the title of his novel Of Human
In the early
Star Trek episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before", the
antagonist, Gary Mitchell is seen reading Spinoza, and Mitchell's
remark regarding his ease in comprehending
Spinoza implies that his
intellectual capacity is increasing dramatically. The dialogue
indicates that Captain Kirk is familiar with Spinoza's work, perhaps
as part of his studies at Starfleet Academy.
In the M*A*S*H episode "Fade Out, Fade In, Part 2", Major Charles
Emerson Winchester, on his exile to Korea, describes himself as
someone who "can quote
Spinoza from memory".
Albert Einstein 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
Herbert S. Goldstein
Herbert S. Goldstein 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, the father of the deep ecology movement, acknowledged Spinoza
as an important inspiration.
The Argentine writer
Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges 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
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, reads and comments upon the Tractatus de
Intellectus Emendatione over the course of the novel.
Spinoza has been the subject of numerous biographies and scholarly
Spinoza is an important historical figure in the Netherlands, where
his portrait was featured prominently on the Dutch 1000-guilder
banknote, legal tender until the euro was introduced in 2002. The
highest and most prestigious scientific award of the
named the Spinozaprijs (
Spinoza was included in a 50
theme canon that attempts to summarise the history of the
The 2008 play "New Jerusalem", by David Ives, is based on the cherem
(ban, shunning, ostracism, expulsion or excommunication) issued
Spinoza by the
Talmud Torah congregation in
Amsterdam in 1656,
and events leading to it. Ives speculates that
excommunicated in order to appease Dutch authorities who threatened to
expel Amsterdam's Jews because of Spinoza's anti-religious activities
amongst the city's
In Bento's Sketchbook (2011), the writer
John Berger combines extracts
from Spinoza, sketches, memoir, and observations in a book that
contemplates the relationship of materialism to spirituality.
According to Berger, what could be seen as a contradiction "is
beautifully resolved by Spinoza, who shows that it is not a duality,
but in fact an essential unity."
Leopold Bloom is shown several times to be an admirer of
James Joyce's Ulysses. Thoughts from Spinoza, an anthology, is
represented on Bloom's bookshelf towards the end of the novel.
c. 1660. Korte Verhandeling van God, de mensch en deszelvs welstand
(A Short Treatise on God, Man and His Well-Being).
Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione
Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione (On the Improvement of the
Principia philosophiae cartesianae
Principia philosophiae cartesianae (The Principles of Cartesian
Philosophy, translated by Samuel Shirley, with an Introduction and
Notes by Steven Barbone and Lee Rice, Indianapolis, 1998). Gallica (in
Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (A Theologico-Political
Tractatus Politicus (unfinished) (PDF version)
1677. Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata (The Ethics, finished 1674,
but published posthumously)
1677. Compendium grammatices linguae hebraeae (Hebrew Grammar).
Morgan, Michael L. (ed.), 2002. Spinoza: Complete Works, with the
Translation of Samuel Shirley, Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett
Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-87220-620-5.
Edwin Curley (ed.), 1985–2016. The Collected Works of
volumes), Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Spruit, Leen and Pina Totaro, 2011. The Vatican Manuscript of
Spinoza’s Ethica, Leiden: Brill.
Criticism of Judaism
Philosophy of Baruch Spinoza
Plane of immanence
Uriel da Costa
^ Nadler 1999, p. 64.
^ Nadler 1999, p. 65.
^ Steven Nadler,
Spinoza and Medieval Jewish Philosophy, Cambridge
University Press, 2014, p. 27: "
Spinoza attended lectures and
anatomical dissections at the University of Leiden..."
^ Scruton 2002, "Through the works of
Maimonides and the
commentaries of the Arab Averroës,
Spinoza would have become
acquainted with Aristotle".
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Anthony Gottlieb. "
Philosophically (review of "Spinoza: A Life" by Steven Nadler)". The
New York Times, Books. 18 July 1999. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
^ "Spinoza" entry in Collins English Dictionary.
^ Yalom, Irvin (21 February 2012). "The
Spinoza Problem". The
Washington Post. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013.
Retrieved 7 March 2013.
^ Yovel, Yirmiyahu,
Spinoza and Other Heretics: The Adventures of
Immanence (Princeton University Press, 1992), p. 3
^ "Destroyer and Builder". The New Republic. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 7
^ a b c d e f Scruton 2002, p. 26.
^ a b c Scruton 2002, p. 32.
^ Hegel's History of Philosophy. Google Books. Archived from the
original on 13 May 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
^ quoted in the translator's preface of Deleuze Expressionism in
^ de Spinoza, Benedictus; Hessing, Siegfried (1977). Speculum
Spinozanum, 1677–1977. Routledge & Kegan Paul.
p. 828. , Snipped view of page 828
^ Magnusson 1990.
^ a b c d Scruton 2002, p. 20.
^ The family was probably expelled from
Spain in 1492 and fled to
Portugal compelled them to convert to Catholicism in 1498.
Cf. Javier Muguerza in his Desde la perplejidad; see also Ben-Menahem,
Ari, Historical Encyclopedia of Natural and Mathematical Sciences,
Volume 1 (Springer, 2009), p. 1095.
^ Scruton 2002, p. 15.
^ a b c Scruton 2002, p. 19.
^ Israel, J. (1998), The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and
Fall, 1477–1806, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 4, 583, 677,
^ De Dijn, Herman, Spinoza: The Way to Wisdom (Purdue University
Press, 1996), pp. 3 & 4.
^ Nadler 2001, p. 195.
^ Curley, Edwin, "Spinoza's exchange with Albert Burgh," in Melamed
& Rosenthal (eds.), Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise: A
Critical Guide (Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 11–28.
^ Historische Gids van Amsterdam, opnieuw bewerkt door Mr H.F.
Wijnman, p. 205; Vaz Dias A.M. & W.G. van der Tak (1932) Spinoza,
Merchant & autodidact, pp. 140, 174–75. Reprint in: Studia
Resenthaliana. Vol. XVI, number 2, 1982.
^ Die Lebensgeschichte Spinozas. Zweite, stark erweiterte und
vollständig neu kommentierte Auflage der Ausgabe von Jakob
Freudenthal 1899. M. e. Bibliographie hg. v. Manfred Walther unter
Mitarbeit v. Michael Czelinski. 2 Bde. Stuttgart-Bad Canstatt:
frommann-holzboog, 2006. (Specula 4,1 – 4,2.) Erläuterungen. S. 98,
^ a b c d e Nadler 2001, p. 1.
^ Nadler 2001, p. 23, "his mother's death when he was six years
^ a b Nadler 1999, p. 47.
^ Scruton 2002, p. 8.
^ a b c d e f Scruton 2002, p. 21.
^ a b c Nadler 2001, p. 27.
^ a b c Nadler 2001, p. 189.
^ Frank Mertens,
Ghent University (30 June 2009). "Franciscus van den
Enden/Biography". Retrieved 7 October 2011.
^ Strathern, Paul (25 September 1998).
Spinoza in 90 Minutes. Ivan R.
Dee. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-1-56663-215-7.
^ Johannes Colerus, The Life of Benedict de Spinosa (London: Benjamin
Bragg, 1706), 4.
^ a b Benedictus de Spinoza, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus: Gebhardt
Edition (E.J. Brill, 1989), p. 179 (available at
^ a b Nadler 2001, p. 25.
^ Nadler 2001, p. 26.
^ Nadler 2001, p. 120.
^ Book of
Joshua 6, 26: "And
Joshua adjured them at that time, saying,
Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this
city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn,
and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it."
Second Book of Kings
Second Book of Kings 2, 23–24: "And as he [Elisha] was going up by
the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked
him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of
the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare
forty and two children of them.
^ Yitzhak Melamed, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Johns Hopkins
University, speaking at an Artistic Director's Roundtable, Theater J,
Washington D.C., 18 March 2012.
^ Nadler 2001, p. 7.
^ Nadler 2001, p. 2.
^ Steven B. Smith, Spinoza's book of life: freedom and redemption in
the Ethics, Yale University Press (1 December 2003), p. xx –
Introduction Google Books
^ Steven Nadler, Baruch Spinoza, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,
First published Fri 29 June 2001; substantive revision Mon 1 December
^ Nadler 2001, p. 17.
^ Nadler 2001, p. 18.
^ a b c Nadler 2001, p. 19.
^ a b c Nadler 2001, p. 20.
^ a b Nadler 2001, p. 21.
^ Nadler 2001, p. 22.
^ Nadler 2001, p. 28.
^ a b c d e f Scruton 2002, p. 22.
^ a b Yitzhak Melamed, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Johns
Hopkins University, speaking at an Artistic Director's Roundtable,
Theater J, Washington D.C., 18 March 2012.
^ Simon Rocker (August 28, 2014). "Why Baruch
Spinoza is still
excommunicated". The Jewish Chronicle Online.
^ a b c GOTTLIEB, ANTHONY. "
God Exists, Philosophically". The New York
Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
^ Scruton 2002, p. 23.
^ Scruton 2002, p. 24.
^ a b Scruton 2002, p. 25.
^ "…he [Spinoza] told me [Leibniz] he had a strong desire, on the
day of the massacre of Mess. De Witt, to sally forth at night, and put
up somewhere, near the place of the massacre, a paper with the words
Ultimi barbarorum [ultimate barbarity]. But his host had shut the
house to prevent his going out, for he would have run the risk of
being torn to pieces." (A Refutation Recently Discovered of
Leibnitz, "Remarks on the Unpublished Refutation of
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^ Christiaan Huygens, aOeuvres complètes, letter to his brother 23
^ Nadler 2001, p. 183.
^ Christiaan Huygens, Oeuvres complètes, vol. XXII, p. 732, footnote
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Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata et in quinque partes distincta,
in quibus agetur[permanent dead link]
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Amsterdam 1677. Complete photographic reproduction,
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Links to related articles
Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione
Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione (1662)
Principia philosophiae cartesianae
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C. D. Broad
Carl Gustav Hempel
W. V. O. Quine
Bas van Fraassen
Social and political philosophy
Feminist political theory
Mandate of Heaven
Philosophy and economics
Philosophy of education
Philosophy of history
Philosophy of love
Philosophy of sex
Philosophy of social science
Critical legal studies
International legal theory
Philosophy of law
Sociology of law
Pontes de Miranda
Libertarian theories of law
Ethics of care
Good and evil
Suffering or Pain
Augustine of Hippo
Georg W. F. Hegel
John Stuart Mill
G. E. Moore
J. L. Mackie
G. E. M. Anscombe
R. M. Hare
Robert Merrihew Adams
Ethics of eating meat
Ethics of technology
Ethics in religion
History of ethics
Philosophy of law
Brain in a vat
Here is one hand
List of books about skepticism
List of notable skeptics
List of skeptical conferences
List of skeptical magazines
List of skeptical organizations
List of skeptical podcasts
Bible and history
History of ancient Israel and Judah
Quest for the historical Jesus
Jesus in comparative mythology
Historicity of Jesus
Historicity of the Bible
Historical reliability of the Gospels
List of artifacts in biblical archaeology
List of biblical figures identified in extra-biblical sources
List of burial places of biblical figures
Hebrew Bible manuscripts
List of New Testament papyri
List of New Testament uncials
Criticism of the Bible
Christ myth theory
Criticism of religion
Latter Day Saint movement
Westboro Baptist Church
Twelver Shia Islam
New religious movement
Mormon sacred texts
Book of Mormon
Charles Taze Russell
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Christian thought on persecution and tolerance
Breaking the Spell:
Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
God in the Age of Science?
God Is Not Great
God: The Failed Hypothesis
Letter to a
The Age of Reason
The Blind Watchmaker
The Caged Virgin
The End of Faith
The Rage Against God
Why I Am Not a Christian
Why I Am Not a Muslim
Books critical of Christianity
Books critical of Islam
Criticism of atheism
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