Spinoza, the Great Jewish Heretic, Can Only Be Properly Understood in His Jewish Context

Oct. 22 2020

More than most other scholars of the 17th-century Sephardi philosopher Benedict Spinoza, Steven Nadler has paid attention to his subject’s Jewish upbringing, and the influence of rabbinic thought on his work. Nadler argues, for instance, that Part V of Spinoza’s magnum opus, the Ethics, can only be understood with reference to its “Jewish philosophical context,” as a “kind of dialogue with Maimonides.” In an interview with Nigel Warburton, Nadler explains more about Spinoza’s background:

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Read more at Five Books

More about: Benedict Spinoza, Heresy, Moses Maimonides, Philosophy, Sephardim

At America’s Best Universities, Biblical Religion Is a Curiosity, if Not a Menace

Oct. 20 2021

At the time of Columbia University’s founding in 1784, notes Meir Soloviechik, the leader of the local synagogue, Gershom Mendes Seixas, was made a member of its board of regents. A Jewish student even gave a commencement address, composed by Seixas, in Hebrew. In the 20th century, Columbia attracted numerous Jews with the relaxation of quotas, and was the first secular university to create a chair in Jewish history. Barnard College, Columbia’s all-women’s school, was itself founded by a Jewish woman, and today has a large number of Orthodox Jewish students.

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Read more at Commentary

More about: American Jewry, American Religion, Columbia University, Orthodoxy, University