Baruch Spinoza Essay Research Paper The task

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Baruch Spinoza Essay, Research Paper The task of simply just surviving is for most of us a handful in itself in this life. However, only a few in a life time choose not to be satisfied with only just survival rather they assume the yoke of redefining life for themselves and for others. In philosophy of religion, pantheism is usually in conflict with traditional religious authority, which claims that the pantheistic belief is nothing more than a blasphemous form of idolatrous worship. A man by the name Benedictus (Baruch) Spinoza took it upon his shoulders to construct an explainable theory of this deistic belief and as a result earned the name of the father of Pantheism. I, George Meza, had the privilege of investigating the life of this rational genius as he struggled along

the path of enlightenment in a society that was as different to him as his theory of ethics was to the Synagogue and the Church. Spinoza?s works ranged from the political to the theistic, from the mathematical, to even the intellectual. I ask the question what trials and troubles in the life of Baruch Spinoza could birth such a passion for what was known at the time as heretical theology. What was the impact of Spinoza?s work on our technologically advanced society that has put aside terms such as G-d and ethic and has attempted to redefine the term free will? The Spinoza family arrived in Amsterdam, via Portugal in 1498, due to persecution the family decided to go by the name Spinoza. Baruch?s father and grandfather were originally Spanish crypto-Jews — that is, Jews who were

forced to adopt Christianity in post-Islamic Spain, but secretly remained Jewish, Spinoza’s parents had died when he was quite young, I believe that this was a major influence on his later work. His father Michael died when he was 21; Baruch Spinoza was born in the Amsterdam quarter of Vloedenburg (now Waterlooplein quarter), Holland in November 24, 1632. What most people don?t know is that Spinoza was born to a traditional observant Jewish home and the foundation of his theories had traditional Judaism as its backbone. As historian Paul Johnson once said, ?Judaism is a highly efficient social machine for the production of intellectuals?. When Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand initiated the inquisition in 1492, Jews had to find a new place of residence that would tolerate their

social and religious differences. Much of Europe such as England, France and Italy were not happy to receive them; however, Amsterdam was significantly more tolerant, and the Jews who arrived, though not yet able to become citizens due to common anti-Semitism, where able to enjoy their religious practices much more openly than elsewhere in the European region. The Sephardic (Spanish) Jewish people refer affectionately to Amsterdam as “Little Jerusalem” and “Mokum.” Judaism is a religion of study, interpretation, commentary and argument, all of these attributes easily expressed Spinoza?s way of life. At the Jewish high school that Spinoza attended Spinoza learned philosophy and theology under one of the most brilliant Talmudist of the time the honorable Morteira of the

Manasseh Ben Israel sect. At the time Amsterdam played a large role in the transformation of Jewish thought, which eventually lead to the development of Spinoza?s train of thought and his deistic beliefs. Even today, it is not uncommon to hear such Hebrew words as “mazel tov” (good luck) and “meshuga” (you?re crazy) in the Amsterdam dialect. Today Amsterdam has one of Europe?s largest Jewish historical museums in dedication to the Spanish/ Portuguese descendant Jews of Spinoza?s time. When Descartes move to Holland in 1629, the country had already been known for its gathering of intellectuals, it was only a matter of time since another great one would arise. The Language of Spinoza?s home was either Ladino, a Hebrew Portuguese dialect or Portuguese for the family had fled