Baruch espinoza

Article

December 8, 2021

Baruch de Spinoza, born Baruch Spinoza, later author and correspondent Benedictus de Spinoza (Amsterdam, 24 November 1632 — The Hague, 21 February 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Sephardic origin, born to a family that had fled of the Portuguese Inquisition. One of the earliest thinkers of the Enlightenment and of modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of self and the universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of seventeenth-century philosophy. Inspired by the innovative ideas of René Descartes, Spinoza became an important philosophical figure in the Dutch Golden Age. Spinoza's baptismal name, which means "Blessed", varies between different languages. In Hebrew, his full name is written ברוך שפינוזה. In Holland he used the Portuguese name Bento. In his works in Latin and Dutch he used the Latin form. Spinoza was raised in the Luso-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 cherem (חרם) against him, causing him to be effectively expelled and repudiated by Jewish society at age 23, including by his own family. His books were later added to the Catholic Church's Index of Prohibited Books. He was often called an "atheist" by his contemporaries, although nowhere in his work Spinoza argues against the existence of God. Spinoza lived a seemingly simple life as an optical lens grinder, collaborating on microscope and telescope lens designs with Constantijn and Christiaan Huygens. He refused rewards and honors throughout his life, including prestigious teaching positions. He died at age 44 in 1677 of a lung disease, perhaps tuberculosis or silicosis exacerbated by inhaling fine glass dust while polishing lenses. He is buried in Nieuwe Kerk's Christian cemetery in The Hague. Spinoza's magnum opus, the Ethics, was published posthumously in the year of his death. The work opposed Descartes' philosophy of mind-body dualism and gained Spinoza's recognition as one of the most important thinkers in Western philosophy. In it, "Spinoza wrote the last undisputed Latin masterpiece, and one in which the refined conceptions of medieval philosophy are finally turned against themselves and utterly destroyed." Hegel said: "The fact is that Spinoza has become a test point in modern philosophy, so it really can be said: You are either a Spinozist or not even a philosopher." His philosophical achievements and moral character led Gilles Deleuze to name him "the 'prince' of philosophers".

First names

He received from his Portuguese parents the name Benedito de Espinosa. He signed Baruch on several works, as a Jew born and raised in Amsterdam. He adopted Benedictus, the corresponding Latin form, to sign his Ethica, after the cherem in his name, in 1656.

Life

His family fled the Inquisition in Portugal. He was a profound student of the Bible, the Talmud and the works of Jews such as Maimonides, Ben Gherson, Ibn Ezra, Hasdai Crescas, Ibn Gabirol, Moses of Cordoba and others. He also devoted himself to the study of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius and Giordano Bruno. He gained fame for his positions opposed to superstition: his phrase Deus sive natura, "God, that is, Nature" is a philosophical rather than a religious concept. He was also notable for writing his ethics in the form of postulates and definitions, as if it were a treatise on geometry.

Cherem

On July 27, 1656, the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam punished Spinoza with cherem, the Hebrew equivalent of Catholic excommunication, for his postulates about God in his work, arguing that God is the immanent mechanism.

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