“All things [humans] have ever worshiped by vain religion have been nothing but phantasms and the hallucinations of a sad and fearful psyche.” – Spinoza, Theologico-Political Treatise, P.1-P.6
Born in 1632 in Amsterdam to a modest Jewish family, Baruch Spinoza became one of the key figures of the seventeenth-century Dutch and European Enlightenment. As a young man, he was considered an outstanding student of the Talmud and a promising religious scholar. But he soon found himself on the outside of the orthodox tradition due to his radical and unorthodox opinions. [Read More]
Spinoza claimed to be the first writer to take a “scientific” approach to understanding the Bible and what it teaches. For Spinoza, all intelligent interpreters of the Bible must consider how to read it. Because the Bible is accessible to all literate adults, what, then, differentiates an impious reading from a reading consistent with what God intends? [Read More]
Steven Nadler discusses Spinoza’s views on religious toleration.