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Spinoza: A Life
ISBN 0521552109 / 9780521552103 / 0-521-55210-9
Publisher Cambridge Univ Pr
List price $38.00
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Remarkably, given his importance in Western philosophy, there has never been a substantial English-language biography of Baruch (or, as he was later known, Benedictus) Spinoza (1632-1677) until now. Spinoza: A Life makes up for the lack, delving into the archival records of 17th-century Amsterdam to flesh out Spinoza's world in rich detail. The subject himself doesn't even appear until the third chapter; Nadler first provides historical background on the treatment of Jews during the Spanish Inquisition and their eventual resettlement in the Dutch Republic. Later chapters explore Spinoza's relationship to the Jewish community and the possible reasons for his excommunication in 1656, as well as the emergence of his philosophical system. Academically rigorous without becoming ponderous, Spinoza: A Life is splendid both as biography and history, and a worthy introduction to Spinoza's philosophy. [via]