Baruch Spinoza

Philosopher, Author

1632 – 1677

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Who was Baruch Spinoza?

Baruch Spinozalater Benedict de Spinoza — was a Dutch philosopher. 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 and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and, arguably, the universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy. His magnum opus, the posthumous Ethics, in which he opposed Descartes's mind–body dualism, has earned him 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 entirely." Philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said of all contemporary philosophers, "You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all."

Spinoza's given name in different languages is Hebrew: ברוך שפינוזה‎ Baruch Spinoza, Portuguese: Benedito or Bento de Espinosa and Latin: Benedictus de Spinoza; in all these languages, the given name means "the Blessed". Spinoza was raised in the Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam. 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 against him, effectively excluding him from Jewish society at age 23. His books were also later put on the Catholic Church's Index of Forbidden Books.

Famous Quotes:

  • Only that thing is free which exists by the necessities of its own nature, and is determined in its actions by itself alone.
  • Men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues, and can moderate their desires more than their words.
  • Desire is the essence of a man.
  • Fear cannot be without hope nor hope without fear.
  • Fame has also this great drawback, that if we pursue it, we must direct our lives so as to please the fancy of men.
  • We feel and know that we are eternal.
  • To give aid to every poor man is far beyond the reach and power of every man. Care of the poor is incumbent on society as a whole.
  • I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them.
  • All excellent things are as difficult as they are rare.
  • Will and intellect are one and the same.

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Born
Nov 24, 1632
Amsterdam
Also known as
  • Benedictus de Spinoza
  • ברוך שפינוזה
  • Benedictus Spinoza
  • Baruch de Spinoza
  • Benedict De Spinoza
  • Benedict Spinoza
  • Spinoza
Parents
Siblings
Religion
  • Sephardic Judaism
  • Pantheism
  • Atheism
Ethnicity
  • Sephardi Jews
Nationality
  • Dutch Republic
Profession
Lived in
  • Amsterdam
Died
Feb 21, 1677
The Hague

Submitted
on July 23, 2013