Benedict de Spinoza, or Baruch d'Espinoza, lived (1632-1677) in Amsterdam. He was a glass grinder whose philosophical work caused his excommunication from the Jewish synagogue. His excommunication declared: "By the decrees of the Angels and the words of the Saints we ban, cut off, curse, and anathematize Baruch de Spinoza… with all the curses written in the Torah. Cursed be he by day and cursed by night, cursed in his lying down and cursed in his waking up, cursed in his going forth, and cursed in his coming in; and may the Lord not want his pardon, and may the Lord’s wrath and zeal burn upon him… and ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are all alive today." The excommunication then warns that anyone who aids or abets Spinoza or "reads anything composed or written by him will suffer the same fate."
Spinozism includes the belief that all existence consists of only one substance, such as God or nature. Under this view, everything from mind to matter is merely a manifestation of the one true reality. Evil has only a fleeting existence in the mind or heart, and is extinguished in due course by the divine Whole.
- There is at least one substance of the universe.
- God exists, and is of a substance.
- God is infinite in attributes.
- For there to be two substances, they must differ in attributes.
- God has all of the attributes, so no substance may differ from that substance, therefore there is only one substance, God.
- If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.
- All happiness or unhappiness solely depends upon the quality of the object to which we are attached by love.
- Be not astonished at new ideas; for it is well known to you that a thing does not therefore cease to be true because it is not accepted by many.
- True virtue is life under the direction of reason.
- Dr. Steven Smith, "What Kind of Jew Was Spinoza?" In "Modernity and Its Discontents: Making and Unmaking the Bourgeois from Machiavelli to Bellow," p. 89.