Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spinoza and the Enlightenment

Actually, to become a professor or a clergy member in Europe even a hundred years following Spinoza’s death, you had to have your denunciation of him ready.  That was part of the oral exam, knowing where he’d made his mistakes.  And this meant that everyone was reading Spinoza; they had to read him in order to denounce him, so he was radicalizing Europe, and in about a hundred years they were ready for the Enlightenment.
—Rebecca Goldstein’s acceptance speech for the 2011 Humanist of the Year award.  Published in The Humanist.  November-December, 2011.  Pages 12-16.

BTW: Spinoza is the only person I have heard of that was excommunicated permanently.

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