Philosophical Library would like to wish a happy 384th birthday to Baruch Spinoza.

“If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.” – Baruch Spinoza

Philosophical Library would like to wish a happy 384th birthday to Baruch Spinoza, a philosopher, independent thinker and rationalist who paved the way for the Enlightenment period. He was born on November 24, 1632 in Amsterdam to a merchant father and a mother who died when he was only six years old. Baruch spoke Portuguese from an early age as this was his native language; however, he later became fluent in Hebrew, Dutch Spanish and Latin. Though raised in a Jewish household and having attended to his studies immersed in this religion, he left school at the age of seventeen after the death of his older brother to begin working in his family’s importing business.

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.” – Baruch Spinoza

Still continuing his learning, Baruch began to study Latin from a man named Francis van den Enden. He introduced Baruch to modern philosophy and the works of Descartes. His father died a year later, and he turned to his religion in his time of mourning. Afterward, Baruch assumed the Latin name Benedictus de Spinoza, took up residence with Francis, and began teaching.

“The world would be happier if men had the same capacity to be silent that they have to speak.’’ – Baruch Spinoza

There came a point in Baruch’s life where he decided to part with Judaism, a hard-thought decision that ultimately caused him to be ostracized by the Jewish community. His modern views on theology and vocal expressions didn’t help matters, and he was publically attacked with a knife for being a “heretic.” He spent the remainder of his life studying and writing, living life with the philosophy of tolerance and benevolence. He died when he was forty-four years old from what is believed to be a lung illness.

“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them.’’ – Baruch Spinoza

Baruch Spinoza was a man of free thought, seeking truth from observations, studying and his own thinking. One of his works that depicts this nature is titled The Book of God. Written in his early years during a time of great political and religious turmoil, the author saw the bullies, bigots and the like trying to rally the masses into their beliefs. All of Europe was in a war over the right church, yet Baruch was seeking the right God. The Book of God is the result of his findings. Having studied the philosopher Rene Descartes, Baruch formed his own thoughts on his philosophies. In the book Principals of Cartesian Philosophy, an in-depth look into the philosophical doctrine of Descartes is compared to metaphysics and Baruch himself. For those seeking an insightful view on Baruch Spinoza, Letters to Friend and Foe makes for an intriguing read. Here, letters to and from the author written during the last two decades of his life await your viewing. Though only a fraction of the total amount of correspondences exchanged in his lifetime, Letters to Friend and Foe serves as a personal record of Baruch Spinoza. To view and purchase these and other titles by Baruch Spinoza, please click here.

“Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.’’ – Baruch Spinoza

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