The Genius of Spinoza

Jeffrey Collins, professor of history at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, reviews Steven Nadler’s Spinoza: A Life (2001):

In the 1660s and ’70s, Spinoza produced one of the most significant intellectual systems in the history of Western philosophy. It encompassed natural science, religion, politics and ethics. Of his two masterworks, the “Ethics” was written first but remained unpublished when Spinoza began to fear the intolerant vigilance of the Dutch ministers. His “Theological-Political Treatise” was anonymously printed in 1670, to torrential public outrage. By his death in 1677, Spinoza’s infamy had spread well beyond Amsterdam’s Jewish quarter.

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