Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Baruch Spinoza (Post 1 of 3 on Spinoza’s life, beliefs, and works) Lane Folger Sec 8 Gr 2
Baruch Spinoza was born on the 24th of November in 1632 in Amsterdam, Netherlands to Miguel de Espinoza and Ana Debora de Espinoza. The family was part of a community of Spanish and Portuguese Jews who had fled religious prosecution under the Inquisition. Spinoza’s father was a merchant while his mother died when he was only six years old. He was given a traditional Jewish upbringing and education, pursuing the study of the Torah at a yeshiva, or traditional Jewish learning institution. Spinoza was considered to be a star pupil and may have been studying to become a rabbi. At the age of 17, Spinoza cut short his formal studies to work in the family business after his older brother’s death. When he was 20, Spinoza began to study Latin under Francis Van den Eden, a radical freethinker who most likely introduced Spinoza to modern philosophers and their works such as Rene Descartes and Thomas Hobbes. Spinoza’s father died when Spinoza was 21. Instead of accepting his inheritance, he allowed it to pass to his sister. As he continued with his studies of modern philosophy, Spinoza began to lean towards and develop progressive and radical ideas of rationalism that clashed with the traditional Jewish views up his early upbringing. He was soon branded as a heretic within his own synagogue. He was once even attacked on the steps of the synagogue by a man wielding a knife and shouting accusations of heresy. Spinoza soon fully relinquished the responsibility of running the family business to his younger brother and continued to devote his time to the study of philosophy. In July of 1656, when he was 24 years old, Spinoza was officially excommunicated from his congregation and community for his heretical ideas on theology. Soon after this and his move to Rijnsburg, Spinoza would began to write down his ideas and philosophies and develop what would become to be considered his some of his greatest works.