Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity

October 25, 2006

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Photo by Miriam Berkley

On July 27, 1656, Amsterdam's Jewish community declared Baruch Spinoza excommunicated, and, at the age of 23, he became the most famous heretic in Judaism. He denied the immortality of the soul and challenged the accepted belief that the Torah was literally given by God. In her new book, Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity, Rebecca Goldstein rediscovers the flesh-and-blood man beneath the veneer of rigorous rationality and shows how his Sephardic heritage shaped his work. Goldstein is the author of Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Godel and five novels, including The Mind-Body Problem.

 

Recorded Wednesday, October 25, 2006 at The Newberry Library.