March 10, John 3: It is assumed by many that the public at large knows this verse well enough that you can simply post the reference on a sign at an athletic event and the world will know exactly what it signifies.
Collected Essays on Spinoza 1. Life and Works Spinoza came into the world a Jew. Born inhe was the son of Marrano parents. They had immigrated to Amsterdam from Portugal in order to escape the Inquisition that had spread across the Iberian Peninsula and live in the relatively tolerant atmosphere of Holland.
Spinoza's father, Michael, was a successful merchant and a respected member of the community. His mother, Hanna, the second of Michael's three wives, died injust before Spinoza was to turn six.
The young Spinoza, given the name Baruch, was educated in his congregation's academy, the Talmud Torah school. There he received the kind of education that the community deemed necessary to constitute one as an educated Jew. This largely consisted of religious studyincluding instruction in Hebrew, liturgy, Torah, prophetic writings, and rabbinical commentaries.
Although Spinoza no doubt excelled in these, he did not move on to the higher levels of study which focused on the Talmud and were typically undertaken by those preparing for the rabbinate.
Whether by desire or by necessity, Spinoza left the school in order to work in his father's business, which he eventually took over with his half-brother, Gabriel. The Jewish community in Amsterdam was by no means a closed onebut Spinoza's commercial activities put him in touch with more diverse currents of thought than those to which he had hitherto been exposed.
Most significantly, he came into contact with so-called 'free-thinking' Protestants - dissenters from the dominant Calvinism — who maintained a lively interest in a wide range of theological issues, as well as in the latest developments in philosophy and science.
This naturally included the work of Descartes, which was regarded by many in Holland to be the most promising of several alternatives to scholasticism that had emerged in recent decades.
In order to discuss their interests, these free-thinkers organized themselves into small groups, they called colleges, which met on a regular basis. Spinoza may have attended such meetings as early as the first half of the 's, and it is most likely here that he received his first exposure to Cartesian thought.
This is not to say that Spinoza ceased to mine the resources of his own tradition - he became steeped, for example, in the writings of such philosophically important figures as Maimonides and Gersonides - but his intellectual horizons were expanding and he was experiencing a restlessness that drove him to look further afield.
It was at this time that he placed himself under the tutelage of an ex-Jesuit, Franciscus Van den Enden, who had recently set up a Latin school in Amsterdam.
Van den Enden turned out to be the perfect teacher for Spinoza. In addition to having an excellent reputation as a Latinist, he was a medical doctor who kept abreast of all that was new in the sciences. He was also notorious for his allegedly irreligious cast of mind, and he was a passionate advocate of democratic political ideals.
It is safe to say that Spinoza's studies with Van den Enden included more than lessons on how to decline nouns. Spinoza's intellectual reorientation, however, came at a cost.
His increasingly unorthodox views and, perhaps, laxity in his observance of the Jewish law strained his relations with the community. Tensions became so great that, inthe elders of the synagogue undertook proceedings to excommunicate him.
It then levels a series of curses against him and prohibits others from communicating with him, doing business with him, reading anything he might write, or even coming into close proximity with him. Spinoza may still have been a Jew, but he was now an outcast.
Little is known about Spinoza's activities in the years immediately following his excommunication.
He continued his studies with Van den Enden and occasionally took up residence in his teacher's home. As it was now impossible for him to carry on in commerce, it was most likely at this time that he took up lens grinding as an occupation.
There is also evidence that he traveled periodically to Leiden to study at the university. There he would have received formal instruction in Cartesian philosophy and become familiar with the work of prominent Dutch Cartesians. Inhe settled near Leiden, in the town of Rijnsburg. It was during this same period, in the late 's, that Spinoza embarked upon his literary career.
It contains, in addition, reflection upon the various kinds of knowledge, an extended treatment of definition, and a lengthy analysis of the nature and causes of doubt. Most notably, it contains an unambiguous statement of the most famous of Spinoza's theses - the identity of God and Nature.
Spinoza's stay in Rijnsburg was brief. In he moved to the town of Voorburg, not far from The Hague, where he settled into a quiet, but busy, life. The result was the only work that he was to publish under his own name, now Latinized to Benedict: As a condition of publication, Spinoza had his friend, Lodewijk Meyer, write a preface to the work, warning the reader that his aim was exposition only and that he did not endorse all of Descartes's conclusions.Introduction Surfer is a contouring and 3D surface mapping program that runs under Microsoft Windows.
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