Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Spinoza, Baruch (1632–1677)
Baruch Spinoza scandalized the Western European world and his own Jewish community as his naturalist metaphysics drew accusations of heresy and atheism. His two political treatises and his magnum opus , the Ethics , comprise a rich treatment of politics grounded in his naturalism. Just as he insisted that one ought to investigate scripture like any other thing in nature, he examines human psychology, social relations, the state, and civil organization as natural forces that operate according to necessary relationships of cause and effect. Spinoza was born into a time replete with religious and political strife. Of Portuguese Sephardic descent, Spinoza's ancestors were forced to flee their homeland during the inquisition. They found relative shelter in Holland, where Baruch Spinoza was born and spent the entirety of his brief life. He was an exceptionally bright yeshiva student, but was banished from the Jewish community (the cherem ) in 1656, perhaps ...