By Rebecca Goldstein
In 1656, Amsterdam’s Jewish neighborhood excommunicated Baruch Spinoza, and, on the age of twenty–three, he turned the main recognized heretic in Judaism. He was once already germinating a secularist problem to faith that will be as radical because it used to be unique. He went directly to produce some of the most bold structures within the heritage of Western philosophy, so sooner than its time that scientists this day, from string theorists to neurobiologists, count number themselves between Spinoza’s progeny.
In Betraying Spinoza, Rebecca Goldstein units out to rediscover the flesh-and-blood guy frequently hidden underneath the veneer of rigorous rationality, and to crack the secret of the breach among the thinker and his Jewish prior. Goldstein argues that the trauma of the Inquisition’s persecution of its compelled Jewish converts performs itself out in Spinoza’s philosophy. The excommunicated Spinoza, not less than his excommunicators, was once responding to Europe’s first test with racial anti-Semitism.
Here is a Spinoza either hauntingly emblematic and deeply human, either heretic and hero—a strangely modern determine ripe for our personal doubtful age.
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Additional resources for Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity (Jewish Encounters)
The lesson of Foucault’s archaeological histories was the need to develop an effective alternative to the dialectical method of explaining historical change. Only in this way could Foucault carry out Hyppolite’s “alternation” by confronting philosophical thought with a historical reality that thought could not reduce to itself. We shall see in Chapter 5 how Foucault eventually found such a method in Nietzsche’s genealogy. Foucault’s historical “alteration” of Hegel took him quite a distance away from traditional philosophical projects.
Faubion (New York: New Press, 1998), 466. 14 Michel Foucault, “Jean Hyppolite (1907–1968)”, Revue de métaphysique et de morale, 74 (1969), 134. My translation. Further references will be given in the text. 15 Michel Foucault, “The Discourse on Language”, in The Archaeology of Knowledge, tr. Alan Sheridan (New York: Pantheon, 1972). References will be given in the text. THE HEGELIAN CHALLENGE 33 possible? Can any philosophy continue to exist that is no longer Hegelian? Are the non-Hegelian elements in our thought necessarily non-philosophical?
Hyppolite diplomatically says that his brief here is not to debate this issue, but simply to “elucidate as clearly as possible the endeavor of the Phenomenology”. In this regard, he concludes, there “can be no doubt about the meaning [sens] of the dialectic of unhappy consciousness. As Hegel put it explicitly: ‘Self-consciousness which reaches its fulﬁllment in the ﬁgure of unhappy consciousness is only the torment of the spirit struggling to rise again to an objective state but failing to reach it’” (p.
Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity (Jewish Encounters) by Rebecca Goldstein