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Format: Hardcover Number of Pages: 304 Vendor: Random House, Inc Publication Date: 2006
Dimensions: 7.50 X 5.00 (inches) ISBN: 0805242090 ISBN-13: 9780805242096 Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.
Part of the Jewish Encounter series
In 1656, Amsterdams Jewish community excommunicated Baruch Spinoza, and, at the age of twentythree, he became the most famous heretic in Judaism. He was already germinating a secularist challenge to religion that would be as radical as it was original. He went on to produce one of the most ambitious systems in the history of Western philosophy, so ahead of its time that scientists today, from string theorists to neurobiologists, count themselves among Spinozas progeny.
In Betraying Spinoza, Rebecca Goldstein sets out to rediscover the flesh-and-blood man often hidden beneath the veneer of rigorous rationality, and to crack the mystery of the breach between the philosopher and his Jewish past. Goldstein argues that the trauma of the Inquisition s persecution of its forced Jewish converts plays itself out in Spinozas philosophy. The excommunicated Spinoza, no less than his excommunicators, was responding to Europe s first experiment with racial anti-Semitism.
Here is a Spinoza both hauntingly emblematic and deeply human, both heretic and heroa surprisingly contemporary figure ripe for our own uncertain age.
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is the author of Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel and of six works of fiction, including The Mind-Body Problem, Mazel, and Properties of Light. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she has received many awards for her fiction and scholarship, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She lives in Massachusetts.