Rebecca Newberger Goldstein received a PhD in Philosophy from Princeton University, has taught philosophy at Bernard College and written five previous philosophically motivated novels. Her most recent book of nonfiction is Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity. Bertrand Russell considered Spinoza "the noblest and most lovable of the great philosophers."
Spinoza (1632-1677) also figures in 36 Arguments for the Existence of God. In fact, the 35th argument is based on Spinoza's philosophy. Though raised in the Jewish faith and receiving a rabbinical education, Spinoza was expelled from the synagogue at Amsterdam for defending heretical opinions in 1656. He went on to develop his own philosophy, contained in a series of books. Ethics, completed in 1676 and published shortly after Spinoza's death, presents his conviction that the universe is a unitary whole and forms the basis for Argument 35. For Spinoza, God is absolutely infinite and identical with reality. Of this philosophy, Einstein wrote, "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.
Read more about Spinoza
Rebecca Goldstein discusses being a philosopher and a writer with Robert Wright, the author of The Evolution of God:
This article was originally published in February 2010, and has been updated for the
February 2011 paperback release.
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