Spinozas Heresy: Immortality and the Jewish Mind

Paperback | January 20, 2004

bySteven Nadler

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At the heart of Spinoza's Heresy is a mystery: why was Baruch Spinoza so harshly excommunicated from the Amsterdam Jewish community at the age of twenty-four? In this philosophical sequel to his acclaimed, award-winning biography of the seventeenth-century thinker, Steven Nadler argues that Spinoza's main offence was a denial of the immortality of the soul. But this only deepens the mystery. For there is no specific Jewish dogma regarding immortality:there is nothing that a Jew is required to believe about the soul and the afterlife. It was, however, for various religious, historical and political reasons, simply the wrong issue to pick on in Amsterdam in the 1650s. After considering the nature of the ban, or cherem, as a disciplinary tool in the Sephardic community, and a number of possible explanations for Spinoza's ban, Nadler turns to the variety of traditions in Jewish religious thought on the postmortem fate of a person's soul. This is followed by anexamination of Spinoza's own views on the eternity of the mind and the role that that the denial of personal immortality plays in his overall philosophical project. Nadler argues that Spinoza's beliefs were not only an outgrowth of his own metaphysical principles, but also a culmination of anintellectualist trend in Jewish rationalism.

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At the heart of Spinoza's Heresy is a mystery: why was Baruch Spinoza so harshly excommunicated from the Amsterdam Jewish community at the age of twenty-four? In this philosophical sequel to his acclaimed, award-winning biography of the seventeenth-century thinker, Steven Nadler argues that Spinoza's main offence was a denial of the im...

Steven Nadler is at University of Wisconsin, Madison.

other books by Steven Nadler

Spinoza: A Life
Spinoza: A Life

Paperback|Apr 23 2001

$46.44

Spinozas Ethics: An Introduction
Spinozas Ethics: An Introduction

Paperback|Jul 31 2006

$50.70

see all books by Steven Nadler
Format:PaperbackDimensions:242 pages, 8.46 × 5.2 × 0.48 inPublished:January 20, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199268878

ISBN - 13:9780199268870

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Table of Contents

1. Cherem in Amsterdam2. Abominations and Heresies3. Patriarchs, Prophets, and Rabbis4. The Philosophers5. Eternity and Immortality6. The Life of Reason7. Immortality on the AmstelConclusionNotes; Bibliography; Index

Editorial Reviews

`Review from previous edition Nadler's book is an admirable piece of work. It relates Spinoza's thought to a wide variety of contexts, each of which enriches our understanding of Spinoza. It is clearly written and highly readable, continuing the story begun in Nadler's earlier Spinoza: A Life.It will be mandatory reading for students of Spinoza, as well as for students of Jewish thought and history more generally.'Martin Lin, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews