Spinoza is one of the most important philosophers—and certainly the most radical—of the early modern period. Raised in the Portuguese-Jewish community of Amsterdam, and ultimately shunned by it and by his family, he is correctly assumed to be the father of modernist thought with his developed highly controversial ideas that are often misinterpreted. He is mistakenly considered to have been an atheist, although his work includes no arguments against the existence of God.
The questions, then, are how and why are atheism and modernism associated with him and why is he so important to our understanding of our own world? To find the answers, author and Georgetown University professor Ori Z. Soltes explores the philosophy of Spinoza by examining what he thought and wrote—and when; events in the Jewish and Christian communities in which he lived; and his relationship with the people and the world around him.