Spinoza, Baruch (Benedict)

Spinoza, Baruch (Benedict)
Name: Spinoza, Baruch (Benedict)
Born: 1623
Died: 1677

Baruch (Benedict) Spinoza biography

Baruch Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher, rationalist, naturalist of Sephardi/Portuguese origin, one of the main representatives of the philosophy of Modern History.

Baruch Spinoza, also known as Benedict de Spinoza, was born in 1632 in Amsterdam, Dutch Republic. His father was a successful merchant who had his own firm. Young Spinoza completed the primary religious school Etz Chaim, but soon the discrepancy of his outlook with religious postulates was outlined. So, in 1652, while talking with the pupils of the school, Spinoza questioned the divine origin of the Talmud, categorically expressed the existence of the afterlife, the immortality of the soul and as a result he was summoned to the court. In 1652, Spinoza's ardent desire came true: the doctor of philology, Francis van den Enden, became his teacher. Another thinker, under whose influence his outlook was largely shaped, was the Italian priest Giulio Cesare Vanini who was a follower of Giordano Bruno.

When his father died in 1654, Baruch and his brother took over the management of the family firm. During this period, his circle of acquaintances expanded considerably, including people who did not belong to the Jewish community. Spinoza renounced Judaism, became Benedict, sold his share in the business to his brother and intended to devote himself to philosophy. In 1656, he was expelled from the community, imposing a curse. For a while, he moved to Ouderkerk, a metropolitan suburb, but soon after returning to Amsterdam, he became a student at a private college. At this time, his acquaintance with the works of Descartes took place.

In 1660, the synagogue of Amsterdam appealed to the municipal authorities with an official request to bring Spinoza to court as they said he threatened with piety and morality. The philosopher left Amsterdam and moved to the village of Rijnsburg, where he provided his living by polishing lenses. Here he wrote Short Treatise on God, Man, and His Well-Being, and he began work on his Descartes' "Principles of Philosophy" as well as on his masterpiece, the Ethics. In 1663 he moved to Voorburg and the year after, already in Hague he published an essay devoted to Cartesian philosophy. It became the only lifetime publication, signed under his own name. This work brought him fame, made him a major thinker in the eyes of the Enlightenment public. In 1670, an anonymous Theological-Political Treatise was published in Amsterdam.

In it, Spinoza advocated the independence of philosophy from religious worldviews, freedom of thought and speech. Thanks to this work, the study of the Bible as an object of scientific research was initiated. In the treatise, Spinoza criticized the postulate that the Holy Scripture is of divine origin. Since the de Witt brothers who were loyal to Spinoza were in charge of the state, nothing serious threatened him, but in 1674 the situation changed after one of the brothers was killed. The origin of the treatise was no longer a secret, Spinoza was persecuted, his writings were included in the list of forbidden books.

In May 1670, Spinoza moved to The Hague, and in this city he spent the rest of his life. In 1673, he was invited to take the chair in philosophy at the University of Heidelberg, but Spinoza refused, appreciating his independence in making judgments. In 1675, he finished Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order, which is considered the most important in his creative heritage. Despite the fact that the term ethics is in the title of the work, nevertheless, the first half of the treatise is devoted to ontological problems and the description of the only eternal substance.

Spinoza is sometimes called the Baroque philosopher for the unity of the most diverse elements in his philosophy. The philosophy of Spinoza combines the Cartesian metaphysical and epistemological principles with elements of ancient Stoicism, medieval Jewish rationalism, the ideas of the Renaissance humanist philosophers and the concepts of the natural sciences of his time

Spinoza suffered from tuberculosis for 20 years. This illness took his life when he was only 44 years old. In 1677, the philosopher died.