Lynne Williamson's Reviews > Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity

Betraying Spinoza by Rebecca Goldstein
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's review
Jul 11, 2010

really liked it
Read from July 14 to 22, 2010

The "betraying" in the title is the author's attempt to try to understand something about Spinoza as an individual in his time and culture. This getting to the personal is a "betrayal" because Spinoza rejected the focus on himself as an individual and sought to connect everyone and everything into a oneness with the universe that he referred to as "god." This "god" for Spinoza was nothing like the god of the Jews or of the Christians at the time or like any god for that matter, and Spinoza was, of course, excommunicated for atheism. The author's presentation of the historical circumstances surrounding the Jews in Amsterdam and the painful history of the Jews over the world that might have influenced Spinoza's thinking is extremely interesting throughout and appropriately linked to excerpts from his writings. Spinoza's early death from tuberculosis was...well, I had to close up my Kindle on the metro at that point to avoid tears in public.

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