BENEDICTUS de SPINOZA
(1632? -1677)

Dr. A Wolf's 1910 Introduction to his Translation of

Spinoza's "Short Treatise on G-D,

Man and his Well-Being" (ST)



 


Notes by JBY:

1.  The text of the Wolf's Introduction—the "Life of Spinoza" and "History of the Short Treatise",
     was taken from Book XXIII. Page Numbers given refer to this book.  

    For Wolf's unabridged translation of the Short Treatise see Terry Neff's Web Site.
    For a translation and commentary of the Short Treatise by Edwin Curley see Bk.VIII:46. 

2.  For Runes' abridged version of Spinoza's "Short Treatise on G-D, Man, and His Well-Being"       see Book XXII scanned herein.  


 3.Symbols:  


4.  See Short Treatise Notes 4, 5, and 6.


5. I have changed "Old Testament" to "Hebrew Bible" throughout where Torah is intended.


6.  For note to Encyclopædia Britannica links given herein, see here.
      
"Spinoza, Benedict de" on Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
 


Book XXIII Title Page


Page V - See Note 1.
PREFACE

[i-1]   THIS volume is primarily intended to be an introduction to the philosophy of Spinoza. The Short Treatise, though by no means free from difficulties, is well adapted for the purpose. It contains the essentials of Spinoza's philosophy in a less exacting form than the Ethics with its rigid geometric method. The Short Treatise cannot, of course, take the place of the Ethics, but it prepares the way for a much easier and more profitable study of it than is otherwise possible The Introduction and the Commentary provide all the help that the reader is likely to require.

[i-2]   At the same time, the Short Treatise has a special interest for more advanced students of Spinoza as the most important aid to the study of the origin and development of his philosophy. And their needs have not been overlooked. Every care has been taken to give a faithful version of the Treatise; notice is taken of all variant readings and notes which are likely to be of any importance; even peculiarities of punctuation and the lavish use of capital letters are for the most part reproduced here from the Dutch manuscripts. And the Introduction and the Commentary, though largely superfluous for the advanced student, will, it is hoped, also be found to contain something that may be interesting and helpful even to him.

[i-3]   The Translation was, in the first instance, based on the Dutch text contained in Van Vloten and Land's second edition of Spinoza's works. Subsequently, however, I spent a very considerable amount of time and trouble in going through the manuscripts themselves, with the result that the present version may, I think, claim to be more complete than any of the published editions or translations.

[i-4]   The Life of Spinoza, which forms the greater part of the Introduction, is based on an independent study of all the available material. This material has been considerably increased in recent years by the researches of the late Prof. Freudenthal, Dr. K. O. Meinsma, and Dr. W. Meyer, so that the older biographies of Spinoza require correction in some respects. I have also utilised to a greater extent than has been done hitherto all that is known of contemporary Page VI Jewish history and Jewish life, and have devoted more attention to Manasseh ben Israel than he has so far received in this connection. It has not been thought necessary to give detailed references to authorities, because the earliest biographies and all the available documents relating to Spinoza have been edited by Prof. Freudenthal in a single volume under the title of Die Lebensgeschichte Spinozas, and the evidence can easily be found there. For the general history of the period I consulted Motley, Blok, and the Cambridge Modern History; and Graetz, for his History of the Jews.

[i-5]   In the second part of the Introduction I confined myself to such a general statement of the history, &c., of the Short Treatise as may be followed without any previous knowledge of the Treatise itself, leaving details for the Commentary, where they are dealt with as occasion arises. By the aid of facsimiles {not reproduced herein} the reader is enabled to judge for himself on various matters which would otherwise have to be taken on trust. In the preparation of this part and of the remainder of the volume I found the writings of Prof. Freudenthal, Dr. W. Meyer, and C. Sigwart very helpful, and I am also indebted more or less to the other writers mentioned on pp. cxxviif., or in other parts of the volume.

[i-6]   In conclusion, I desire to acknowledge my obligations to all who have helped me in any way. Dr. Byvanck (Librarian of the Royal Library, The Hague) and Mr. Chambers (Librarian of University College, London) have enabled me to consult the MSS. with as little inconvenience as possible. The Royal Society has given me permission to reproduce the facsimile on p. Ix. Prof. S. Alexander, of the University of Manchester, has read the Introduction in proof, and made valuable suggestions. I wish to thank them all very cordially, and I hope that the usefulness of the result may in some measure compensate for all the trouble given and taken in the preparation of this volume.

                                                                                                     A. WOLF
Harrow, November 1909
 
 



 

                               CONTENTS

                                                                                       Page # of Book XXIII

INTRODUCTION                                                                                ix

TRANSLATION OF THE SHORT TREATISE.                Bk.XXII Translation is given herein.
                   (See Separate Table of Contents, pp. 9, 10.                       1   Not Scanned

COMMENTARY                                                                                  163   Not Scanned

INDEX                                                                                                 241     Not Scanned

JBY ENDNOTES


 


Page xl
THE LIFE OF SPINOZA
 

§ I. HISTORICAL ANTECEDENTS

[I-1]   BARUCH or Benedict (Benedictus is simply the Latin equivalent of the Hebrew Baruch) Spinoza was born of Jewish parents, on the 24th of November 1632, at Amsterdam. At that time the Jews of Amsterdam consisted almost entirely of refugees, or the children of refugees, who had escaped from Spain and Portugal, where they had lived as crypto-Jews {Crypto—a person who secretly supports or adheres to a group, party, or belief.}, in constant dread of the Inquisition {see Note 6}.

[I-2]   Spain had been the home of Jews long before the introduction of Christianity. Under non-Christian rule they enjoyed considerable power and prosperity. With the introduction of Christianity, however, came the desire to convert the Jews; and as the Church was not very nice or scrupulous about the methods employed, there commenced a series of intermittent barbarities which stained the annals of medieval Christianity for many centuries. Fortunately for the Jews these persecutions were neither universal nor constant. Bad blood broke out now here, now there, but there were usually also healthy spots, and healthy members, immune from the fell disease. While the fanaticism of the mob was often irritated by envy, the fanaticism of princes was, as a rule, overcome by their personal interests. For the Jews of Spain numbered some of the bravest soldiers, some of the ablest Ministers of State, and, above all, some of the most resourceful financiers. The Kings of Spain and Portugal, accordingly, took the Jews under their protection, though they could not always prevent outbreaks which involved the loss of thousands of Jewish lives. During periods of respite, Jews outvied their neighbours in  Page xii their devotion to literature, science, and philosophy. They produced eminent poets, celebrated doctors and astronomers, and most influential philosophers. Indeed the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries have come to be regarded as the golden age in the history of the Jews since the dispersion, and that chiefly through the distinction achieved by the Jews of Spain. But fanaticism neither slumbered nor slept. And the climax was reached in the year 1492, when, under the baneful influence of Torquemada, the Jews were expelled from Spain, in spite of the golden promises made by Ferdinand and Isabella so long as they needed Jewish aid against Moorish foes. Baptism or banishmentsuch were the alternatives offered to the Jews. And those who preferred the wanderer's staff to the baptismal font were prohibited from taking away their gold or silver with them. Some two hundred thousand Jews or more paid the penalty for their religious loyalty, and wandered forth from their native land, the home of their fathers and forefathers for centuries; many thousands of them only to meet with an untimely death owing to the hardships of their wanderings. Some fifty thousand, however, chose baptism, and remained in Spain. Many of them remained Jews at heart, fighting the Jesuits with their own weapons, until an opportunity should present itself of making good their escape with what worldly goods they possessed. Some of these crypto-Jews (or Maranos, (The etymology of the name Marano is uncertain. But it seems to have been applied to the New Christians in the sense of "the damned," possibly in allusion to 1 Corinthians, xvi. 22: If any man loveth not the Lord, let him be anathema maranatha.) as they were called), as also many of the original exiles of 1492, found refuge for a time in Portugal. But only for a short time. Soon the hounds of the Inquisition were on the scent for the Jewish blood of the New Christians, in Portugal as well as in Spain. The most frivolous pretext served as sufficient evidence. Countless converts, or descendants Page xiii of converts, were condemned to the dungeon, the rack and the stake without mercy, while princes and priests shared the spoils without scruple. No wonder that the eyes of Spanish and Portuguese Maranos were ever strained in search of cities of refuge. About a century after the expulsion from Spain, good tidings came from the revolted Netherlands.

[I-3]   Not content with the wholesale expulsion and slaughter of Jews and Moors, the Spanish Inquisition turned its attention to all Christians who were in any way suspected of the slightest disloyalty to Roman Catholicism. And the work of this "holy office" was vastly extended in scope when the religious policy of Ferdinand and Isabella was adopted by their grandson, the Emperor Charles V., who desired nothing less than the entire extermination of all heresies and heretics, so that the world and the fulness thereof might be reserved for the exclusive enjoyment of Roman Catholics, with the Emperor at their head. In accordance with his policy he issued various edicts for the extirpation of sects and heresies, and introduced the Inquisition into the Netherlands, with which alone we are here concerned. On the abdication of Charles in 1555, his son, King Philip II., continued his religious policy, only with far greater zeal. Within a month of his accession to the throne he re-enacted his father's edicts against heresy, and four years later he obtained from Pope Paul IV, a Bull for an ominous strengthening of the Church in the Netherlands. Instead of the four Bishoprics then existing, there were to be three Archbishoprics with fifteen Bishoprics under them, each Bishop to appoint nine additional prebendaries, who were to assist him in the matter of the Inquisition, two of these to be inquisitors themselves. Four thousand Spanish troops were stationed in the Netherlands, the government was more or less in the hands of Anthony Perrenot, Archbishop of Mechlin (better known as Cardinal Granvelle), a kind of Torquemada after Philip's own heart, and his underling the Page xiv inquisitor Peter Titelmann, who rushed through the country like a tempest, and snatched away whole families to their destruction, without being called to account by any one. Fortunately for the Netherlands, William of Orange, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, had learned from King Henry of France the whole extent of Philip's bloody schemes for the extirpation of dissenters. Though at that time a Catholic himself, he revolted from such heartless inhumanity in the guise of religion, and determined to watch and wait. In the meantime, the holy inquisitors had ample opportunity to slake their unholy thirst. Wedged in between France and Germany, the Netherlands were naturally influenced by the Calvinism {the doctrines and teachings of John Calvin or his followers, emphasizing predestination, the sovereignty of God, the supreme authority of the Scriptures, and the irresistibility of grace} of the one and the Lutheranism of the other. Under the circumstances, to give unlimited power to the Inquisition meant practically to condemn a whole people to death. The people were furious. Various leagues and confederacies were formed. The position of affairs seemed for a time so threatening that the Regent, Margaret of Parma, a worthy disciple of Loyola, granted an Accord in 1566 in which the Inquisition was abolished. But this was only done to gain time by duping the rather tactless malcontents. The following year, 1567, there appeared on the scene Alva, the most bloodthirsty and unscrupulous villain even of his generation. He brought with him ten thousand veteran troops to purge the Netherlands of heretics. And now commenced the grim struggle for existence which was to last eighty long years (1567-1647). After various fortunes and misfortunes the seven northern provinces, more or less deserted by the ten southern provinces, leagued themselves together by the Union of Utrecht, in 1579, to defend one another "with life, goods, and blood" against the forces of the King of Spain, and they decreed, at the same time, that "every citizen shall remain free in his religion, and that no man shall be molested or questioned on the subject of divine worship." The united provinces managed to hold their own under the leadership of "Father William," Page xv  the silent but sleepless guardian of his country's fortunes. Commerce also soon revived, for Dutch sailors were more than a match for the Spaniards, whom the English also helped to cripple, notably by the destruction of the great Armada in 1588.

[I-4]   The Netherland revolt against Spain and the Inquisition was, we may be sure, followed with keen interest by the Spanish and Portuguese Maranos, who had their relatives and agents in all the European centres of commerce. The decree of toleration included in the Union of Utrecht seemed to hold out some promise to them; and the lot of the Maranos was not likely to improve (indeed their needs only became more urgent) when Portugal was conquered by Spain in 1579. About the year 1591 there arrived in Amsterdam a new consul from the King of Morocco. The consul's name was Samuel Pallache, and he was a Jew. He commenced negotiations with the magistrates of Middelburg, in Zeeland, for the settlement of Portuguese Maranos there. The religious temper of the clergy made the negotiations fruitless. But the Portuguese Maranos were in such straits that some of them resolved to seek refuge in Holland without any preliminary arrangements, relying simply on the natural sympathy of the Dutch with all fellow-victims of Philip and the Inquisition. Accordingly, in 1593 there arrived in Amsterdam the first batch of Marano fugitives. They had sailed from Oporto, and had had an adventurous voyage. They were captured by English buccaneers and taken to London. They owed their release chiefly to the bewitching beauty of one of their number, the fair Maria Nunes, who had an audience of Queen Elizabeth, and actually drove with her in an open carriage through the streets of London. An English Duke offered her his hand, but the beautiful Marano declined the honour, being determined to return to the religion of her ancestors. Such was the spirit of these fugitive Maranos who settled in Amsterdam, and secretly returned to Judaism. The secret leaked out in I596. They Page xvi were celebrating the Day of Atonement, at the house of the above-mentioned Pallache, when their mysterious gathering aroused the suspicion of neighbours. Armed men thereupon arrived on the scene, and arrested the surprised worshippers who were suspected of being Papists. But when it was explained that they had fled from the Inquisition, that they had brought considerable wealth with them, and would do their utmost to promote the commercial prosperity of Amsterdam, they were set free and left in peace. Two years later, in 1598, they were allowed to acquire their first place of worship, though it was not till 1619 that formal permission was given to the Jews to hold public worship, nor were they recognised as citizens till 1657. At all events the first Jews settled in Amsterdam in 1593, and others soon followed from Spain, Portugal, France and elsewhere. What interests us here is that among these early arrivals were Abraham Michael d'Espinoza and his son Michael, who was to be the father of our philosopher, Benedict Spinoza.

§ 2. THE HOME OF SPINOZA

[2-1]   The name Spinoza (also written variously as Espinosa, d'Espinoza, Despinoza, and De Spinoza) was most probably derived from Espinosa, a town in Leon. The Spinozas lived originally in Spain. During the persecutions there some of them seem to have outwardly embraced Christianity. (As late as 1721 eight descendants of theirs, living in or near Granada, were condemned to life-long imprisonment as Judaising heretics.) Some fled to Portugal, others to France, but they met again in Amsterdam as soon as it became known that Jews were tolerated there. Benedict's grandfather is twice described in the Synagogue archives as Abraham Espinosa of Nantes, from which it Page xvii would appear that he lived there some time. On the other hand, it seems that Michael (his son, and the father of Benedict) stayed at one time in Figueras, near Coimbra, and that his third wife hailed from Lisbon. And as tradition unanimously describes Spinoza as of Portuguese descent, it seems reasonable to suppose that his father and grandfather came from Spain or Portugal, and that their stay in France was only brief.

[2-2]   Very little is known of Spinoza's father and grandfather. They were merchants, and were evidently held in high esteem. For, already in 1622, we find Abraham Espinosa filling an important honorary office in the Amsterdam Jewish community, of which he seems to have been the recognised head in 1628. His son, Michael Espinosa, held office even more frequently. He was Warden of his Synagogue in 1633, 1637-8, 1642-3, and again in 1649-50, when he was also one of the Wardens of the Amsterdam Jewish School, and presided over the charity for granting loans without interest. If not rich, he was probably well-to-do. In 1641, it is true, we still find him living in the Vloyenburgh, but this was probably not at that time the poor quarter which it became subsequently. Soon afterwards, however, he moved into the Houtgragt (now the Waterlooplein), and the house in which he lived the closing years of his life looks substantial even now. It is numbered 41, and can also be identified by a stone tablet (placed there in 1743) which bears the inscription "'t Oprechte Tapijthuis" (the upright tapestry house). But, whatever his worldly fortune may have been, Michael had more than his share of domestic sorrow. His first wife died in 1627. His second wife, Hannah Deborah, the mother of Benedict, died in 1638. He married again in 1641; but his third wife, a Lisbon lady, also predeceased him in 1652. The year before, in 1651, his daughter, Miriam, died at the age of 22, and but a little more than a year after her marriage to Page xviii Samuel de Casseres. Michael had also lost three other children, and only two of his six children, namely, Benedict and a daughter, Rebekah (born of the first marriage), survived him when he died shortly afterwards, in 1654.

[2-3]   The childhood of Spinoza was no doubt happy enough. Until he was five he would be entirely under his mother's care, as was the Jewish custom. Then his school-life would begin, with its quaint introductory ceremonial. The ceremony connected with the little boy's entrance into school-life was probably one of the last, and happiest, of the poor mother's experiences. It was performed partly in school and partly in the Synagogue, of which his father was Warden at the time. According to traditional custom, three cakes of fine flour and honey were baked for the boy by a young maiden, and fruit was provided in profusion. One of his father's learned friends would carry him in his arms to the Synagogue, where he would be placed on the reading-dais while the Ten Commandments were read from the Scroll of the Law. Then he would be taken to school to receive his first lesson in Hebrew. Some simple Hebrew verses would be smeared on a slate with honey, and little Baruch would repeat the Hebrew letters, and eat the honey and other dainty things, so that the words of the Law might be sweet to his lips. And then into his mother's arms!

[2-4]   Unfortunately his mother died when Baruch was barely six years old, and, for the next three years or so, he was left to the care of his stepsister, Rebekah, who may not have been more than twelve years of age herself. To judge by subsequent events, there was probably not much love lost between Rebekah and Baruch. For, when their father died in 1654, she did her utmost to prevent Benedict from receiving his share of the inheritance, and he went to law, though he let her keep nearly everything after he had won the lawsuit. At his death also her conduct was not Page xix exemplary; she hastened to the Hague to claim her inheritance, but made off again as soon as she learned that the property left was hardly enough to cover his debts and funeral expenses. All this, however, belonged as yet to the future. In the meantime one may well imagine the pathetic picture of the child standing by his mother's grave and lisping the mourner's prayer in Hebrew, which he had but just commenced to learn. For nearly a whole year afterwards he might be seen twice or three times each day in the neighbouring Synagogue, reciting aloud that same mourner's prayer, with a mysterious feeling of awe and solemnity, yet glad withal to be doing something for his poor mother. Each anniversary of her death would be commemorated by a special light that was kept burning at home for twenty-four hours in memory of a light that had failed, but was believed to be still shedding its rays in another sphere. And the solemn days of the Jewish calendar were only made more solemn for him by tender memories of "the touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that was still."

[2-5]   We must not, however, exaggerate the sad side of young Spinoza's lifethough it certainly had its sad side. When he was in his ninth year he received a stepmother. Being but a recent Marano refugee from Lisbon she may not have been exactly the kind of woman to inspire young Spinoza with any specially warm attachment to Judaism. Like so many Maranos she may have been half Catholic in her training, from the necessity of outward conformity to Roman Catholicism. Still, she was probably kind to the children, and the home would resume its normal tone. The Jewish calendar, moreover, has its joyous Festivals, even its frivolous carnival; and a good Jew like Michael Espinosa was not likely to neglect his religious duty to be and to make merry on these occasions. First, there was the weekly Sabbath and Sabbath eve (Friday evening) so often and so justly celebrated in verseeven by Heine, in his Page xx Princess Sabbath. The spirit in which it was celebrated is perhaps best expressed in the following verses from one of the later Sabbath hymns:

[2-6]

(Translated by I. Myers (see I. Abrahams: Jewish Li/e in the Middle Ages, p. 136)

[2-7]   Then there were the three Pilgrim Festivals, Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, all of them essentially joyous in character. On the first two evenings of Passover especially, children play an important role. One can easily imagine the important air with which little Baruch opened the domestic celebrations on these occasions by asking the meaning of such strange dishes as bitter herbs, a yellow-looking mixture of almonds, cinnamon and apples, &c. By way of answer his father would then relate to the assembled household the old, yet ever new story of the bitter lives which the Israelites had lived in Egypt, of the bricks and mortar with which they had to build Pithom and Ramses under cruel taskmasters, until God delivered them from Page xxi their oppressors. And the familiar story of ancient Egypt and its tyrants would soon lead up to the more recent barbarities in Spain and Portugal. {What would Wolf say of the barbarities of Germany?} Possibly, nay most probably, there were strangers, guests at tablefor hospitality had become, not a luxury, but a necessity among the wandering Jews. Perhaps some recent arrival, fresh from the hell-fires of the Inquisition, would relate the latest story of martyrdom. On such an occasion it may have been that Spinoza heard of the martyrdom of "a certain Judah, called the Faithful, who in the midst of the flames, and when he was already believed to be dead, commenced to chant the psalm To thee, O God, I commit my Soul, and died singing it.'' (Epistle 76. The incident took place at Valladolid on the 25th of July 1644.) But the ground-notes of the Passover evening celebrations were those of courage, and faith that the Guardian of Israel neither slumbered nor slept.

[2-8]   There were also other celebrations of Israel's deliverance in the past. There was the Feast of Lights, or of the Rededication of the Temple (Chanukah) in memory of the brave Maccabees. A whole week was more or less spent as a half-holiday, and given to games and merriment. The spirit of the holiday is well expressed in a gay table-hymn composed by Ibn Ezra, the poet and commentator of whom Spinoza thought so highly. The following are the opening stanzas:

" Eat dainty foods and fine,
                           And bread baked well and white,
      With pigeons, and red wine,
                           On this Sabbath Chanukah night.

       CHORUS.

       " Your chattels and your lands
                      Go and pledge, go and sell!
     Put money in your hands,
                    To feast Chanukah well !"

                   See I. Abrahams, op. cit. p. 135'.)

Page xxii
[2-9]   Then there was the Feast of Lots (Purim) in celebration of Israel's escape from the evil designs of Haman, as told in the Book of Esther. As the life of the Jew would become intolerably solemn if all his persecutors were taken seriously, Haman was treated more like a clown than a villain, and the half-holiday associated with his name was celebrated as a kind of carnival, when it was deemed wrong to be staid, and when wits were readily indulged in parodying even Rabbis and prayers, and had ample licence to make fools of themselves and of others. Above all it was the occasion for plays, Purim plays, as they were called. At that time these were not yet set plays, but informal buffooneries linked to the story of Ahasuerus and Haman, or, by way of variety, turning on the story of the Sale of Joseph, or David's encounter with Goliath, and the like. On one such occasion Spinoza may have witnessed a play written by one of his senior school-fellows, Moses Zacuto, whose L'Inferno Figurato (written in Hebrew) expressed the writer's scorn of the Inquisition. The hero of the story was Abraham, whose steadfastness against Nimrod and legendary escape from the fiery furnace were meant to typify the Jewish fortunes in Spain.

[2-10]   Lastly, mention may also be made of what may roughly be described as a kind of Confirmation ceremony when Spinoza completed his thirteenth year. On that Sabbath he would chant aloud in the Synagogue a portion of the Law, or Pentateuch, and possibly also the portion from the Prophets appointed to be read on that day. After the service in the Synagogue, his father would entertain all his friends at home in honour of the occasion, and young Baruch would, according to custom, make a speech at table. This speech would, of course, have been carefully prepared by him for the occasion, not without the assistance of his teacher; and filial gratitude for the past and lavish promises for the future would begin and end a more Page xxiii or less learned discourse. One would like to know what he actually did say, and what he thought of it all afterwards!

[2-11]   In the meanwhile his time must have been fully occupied. He was at school from 8 till 11 each morning, and from 2 till 5 in the afternoon on weekdays; and some of the hours when he was not at school were occupied in school preparation, and also in the study of secular subjects under a private teacher or teachers. Most probably he continued to study at the Jewish school or academy until he was eighteen, so as to give him an opportunity to develop that uncommon ability of which he showed unmistakable signs at the age of fifteen in the perplexing questions which he asked of Rabbi Morteira. At eighteen it was high time to think of a means of livelihood. His brother, or half-brother, Isaac died just about that time. His father may have thought of taking him into business. But Spinoza's tastes did not lie in the direction of business. He preferred to seek the means of support in some occupation that would keep him in touch with science and scholarship. This probably determined him to learn the art of polishing lenses, which was taken up by many learned men of his generation. By that time he may already have shown some of his heretical tendencies, and these may have given rise to some little friction at home. Possibly this was the reason why his half-sister Rebekah and his brother-in-law de Casseres tried soon afterwards to exclude him from his share of the property which his father left when he died. Spinoza, however, could scarcely have been so inconsiderate as to cause his father unnecessary pain, and most probably he kept most of his doubts to himself, and remained in his father's house so long as his father lived, that is to say, till March 1654, when he was in his twenty-second year.


Page xxiv

§ 3. THE EDUCATION OF SPINOZA
 

[3-1]   The general features of Spinoza's early education it is not difficult to delineate. The Amsterdam Jewish community had their own boys' school, which was founded about 1638, and which all Jewish boys would attend as a matter of course. The general curriculum of this school is known from contemporary accounts. We also know the names and characters of some of its most important teachers in the time of Spinoza. There were seven classes in the school. In the lowest class little boys were taught to read their prayers in Hebrew. In the second class they learned to read and chant the Pentateuch in Hebrew. In the next class they were taught to translate parts of the Pentateuch from Hebrew into Spanish (which for a long time continued to be the mother-tongue of many Amsterdam Jews, notwithstanding the worse than step-motherly treatment which had been meted out to them and their fathers in Spain). Here also they commenced to study Rashi's Hebrew Commentary on the Pentateucha commentary written in the eleventh century, but sober far beyond its age. The boys in the fourth class studied the Prophets and the Hagiographa. In the remaining higher classes they studied Hebrew Grammar, portions of the Talmud and of the later Hebrew Codes, the works of Ibn Ezra, Maimonides, and others, according to the discretion of the Rabbi who instructed and advised them. The school hours were from 8 till 11 A.M. and from 2 till 5 P.M. (or earlier during the winter months). We are explicitly informed that during the hours that the boys were at home they would receive private tuition in secular subjects, even in verse-making. The school also possessed a good lending library.

[3-2]   Of the teachers under whose influence Spinoza must have come during his school-days, the most important Page xxv undoubtedly were Rabbi Saul Morteira and Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel. Saul Morteira was the senior Rabbi of Amsterdam. Born in Venice about 1596 he studied medicine under Montalto, the Marano Court physician of Maria de' Medici. Montalto died suddenly while accompanying Louis XIII. to Tours, in 1616, and it was the desire to bury Montalto in a Jewish cemetery that brought Saul Morteira to Amsterdam, where the Jews had only recently (1614) acquired a cemetery in Ouwerkerk (also called Ouderkerk), not very far from the city. While in Amsterdam, Morteira accepted a call to the Rabbinate of the older of the two Synagogues there (the House of Jacob). A third Synagogue came into existence two years later, but in 1638 the three Synagogues were amalgamated, and Morteira acted as the senior or presiding Rabbi till his death, in 1660. Morteira had had a taste of Court life, and was not altogether wanting in philosophical appreciation; but he was essentially medieval, strait-laced, prosy, and uninspiring. It is related that when Spinoza was but fifteen years old Morteira marvelled at the boy's acumen. By an irony of fate he also presided over the court of Rabbis who issued the ban against Spinoza in I656.

[3-3]   In Manasseh ben Israel we have a different type of character altogether. He was born in 1604, and had a tragic infancy. His father, Joseph ben Israel, was one of a hundred and fifty Jews whom the Inquisition in Lisbon was about to consign to the flames, in 1605, when Mammon was successfully enlisted against the priests of Moloch. A million gold florins, eight hundred thousand ducats, and five hundred thousand crusados were paid to King Philip III., a hundred thousand crusados to the saintly ecclesiasticst and they became reconciled to spare their victims the flames of hell on earth even if it should entail their loss of heaven hereafter. At the auto-da-fe in January 1605 the unhappy Jews were paraded in penitential garb and Page xxvi made a formal confession of their secret and most sinful loyalty to the religion of Jesus and of the Prophets. The King graciously obtained papal absolution for their heinous crime, and they were dismissedalive, it is true, but wrecked in health by torture, and robbed of their possessions by Catholic king and holy priests. Joseph ben Israel naturally fled, at the very first opportunity, with his wife and their infant son Manasseh. They went to Amsterdam, where Manasseh lived nearly all his life. He succeeded his teacher, Rabbi Uzziel, as Rabbi of the second Amsterdam Synagogue (the Habitation of Peace) in 1622, when he was barely eighteen years old; started a Hebrew printing-house about the year 1627; and in 1640 he was about to emigrate to Brazil when he received an important appointment in the senior department of the Amsterdam Jewish School, where Spinoza must have come under his influence. Manasseh was not a great thinker, but he was a great reader, and made up in breadth of outlook for what he lacked in depth of insight. Like so many contemporary theologians he was inclined towards mysticism, it is true, but there was a touch of romance in his character, and, urged by an irresistible yearning to help his suffering brethren, his very mysticism with all its puerilities {childishly foolish; immature; silly} played a useful part: it prompted him to schemes which may indeed appear quixotic, which certainly brought his life to an untimely end, but which bore fruit nevertheless, and were well adapted to bear fruit in an age in which religion and superstition, the flame and the smoke, were so curiously intermingled. What he conceived to be the mission of his life is indicated in the Biblical verse with which he headed the dedication of his Hope of Israel (1650). The book, it is interesting to observe, was dedicated to Spinoza's father and the other Wardens of the Jewish school. At the head of the dedication is the first verse from Isaiah xli.: To preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted. Page xxvii in 1655 Manasseh came to England on a special mission to Oliver Cromwell for the readmission of the Jews into England. Two years later he returned to the Netherlands, carrying with him the corpse of his eldest son. His great schemes seemed shattered. Poor, prematurely aged, and full of sorrows he died, at Middelburg, in 1657.

[3-4]   Manasseh ben Israel was a prolific writer, and his books show undeniable evidence of very wide reading and extraordinary industry. He cites not only Jewish writers like lbn Gabriol and Maimonides, but also Euripides and Virgil, Plato and Aristotle, Duns Scotus and Albertus Magnus. Poets and legalists, mystics and rationalistshe had an appreciation for all, if not always a very intelligent appreciation. And he rather prided himself on his secular knowledge, and felt flattered when he was described, not simply as a "theologian," but also as a "philosopher" and" Doctor of Physics." On a portrait engraved in 1642 he is described as "Theologicus et Philosophus Hebraeus." (Over this portrait, it is interesting to note, are also the words Peregrimando Quoerimus, which formed the motto or trade-mark of Manasseh's press; in the top left corner there is a small shield with a picture of a pilgrim carrying a staff and lamp, while in the right corner are the Hebrew words for Thy word is a !amp unto my feet (Psalm cxix. 105)). Moreover he had numerous Christian acquaintances and friends, and corresponded with learned men and women in all parts of Europeeven with Queen Christina of Sweden, and Hugo Grotius, the famous statesman, jurist and historian. In various letters to Vossius, Grotius expressed his great and sincere esteem of Manasseh. Gerhard Vossius, "the greatest polyhistor {very learned} of the Netherlands," was on intimate terms with Manasseh, and visited him often. Nor was Manasseh at all intolerant. He was very friendly with Caspar Barlaeus, the Amsterdam Professor of Philosophy and Rhetoric, who was rather suspected of being a free-thinker. Barleaus was a noted Latin scholar and poet, and prefixed to one of Manasseh's books (De Creatlone) a Latin poem which was Page xxviii scarcely orthodox. We also hear of Manasseh's presence at a merry gathering in the house of Episcopius in honour of Sobierre, a noted French wit. On occasion, Manasseh would also introduce some of his Jewish friends to his Christian acquaintances. In one of his letters to a professor at Leyden, Vossius mentions that Manasseh had just paid him a visit, and brought with him a Portuguese Jew, whom he desired to recommend for the medical degree. It does not seem unreasonable to suppose that Manasseh ben Israel exercised a potent personal influence over Spinoza, who must have studied under him for a number of years. Not that Manasseh was competent to make any direct contribution towards the development of Spinoza's philosophy. But his indirect influence must have been considerable. After all, the greatest service which even the best teacher can render does not consist so much in the actual information which he imparts as in the stimulus which he gives, and the love of truth which he inculcates. And Manasseh, we have seen, was a man of wide culture, of broad sympathy, and really devoted to scholarship. What is more likely than that he should use his influence with Spinoza's father so that Baruch might be taught Latin and other secular subjects? And what is more natural than that Manasseh who encouraged and helped his young Christian friend, a son of Gerhard Vossius, to study and translate Maimonides, should have been even more eager to urge his Jewish students to study their own Hispano-Jewish literature, of which they were justly so proud?

[3-5]   At the house of his Rabbi, Spinoza would occasionally meet Christians who were interested in Judaism, or in the Jewish interpretation of the {Hebrew Bible}. Here also he may have met Rembrandt, who, between 1640 and 1656, lived in the very heart of the Jewish quarter and was probably on friendly terms with "The Amsterdam Rabbi," as Manasseh was called. For Rembrandt etched a portrait of Page xxix Manasseh in 1636, and illustrated one of his books (the Piedra Gloriosa, published in 1655). Moreover, in the Hermitage at St. Petersburg, there is a Rembrandt painting of a Rabbi, aged and worn, and believed to be Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel. If so, we must suppose that Rembrandt, hearing of the return and illness of his old friend of twenty years or more, hastened to him to Middelburg, and, deeply impressed by the tragic change which had come over the once handsome but now prematurely aged and broken-down Rabbi, embodied his impression in that portrait. Perhaps it was the art of Rembrandt which stimulated young Spinoza to try his hand at drawing. For we are told that Spinoza was an amateur draughtsman, and his early biographer, Colerus, actually possessed a number of ink and charcoal sketches which Spinoza had made of his friends, also one of Spinoza himself in the costume of Mas Anjellos (A fisherman'in his shirt with a net over his right shoulder" (Colerus).) (Thomas Aniellos), who in 1647 led the Neapolitan revolt against Spain, and was murdered soon afterwards. In any case, it is known that Spinoza had a number of Christian acquaintances and friends at a very early stage in his career, and that he helped some of them in the study of the Hebrew Bible, and it is not improbable that he was first introduced to some of them by Manasseh ben Israel, the courteous and easily accessible Rabbi, whom they at first consulted when they took up the study of Hebrew. And it is probably more than a mere accident that Spinoza knew and corresponded with Isaac, the son of Gerhard Vossius, and possessed copies of some of the works of both, as also of Grotius, and even of Delmedigo, all of them friends of Manasseh, whose own book, The Hope of Israel, Spinoza also possessed.

3-6]   Last, though by no means least, there was the moral earnestness of Manasseh. He was an earnest disciple of an earnest master. His teacher and predecessor in office, Rabbi Uzziel, was known for his moral courage. It was Page xxx his outspoken condemnation of the moral laxity of a portion of Amsterdam Jewry that led to a schism {a formal division within, or separation from, a church or religious body over some doctrinal difference} in the young community, and the formation of a third congregation in 1668. For reasons already explained, some of the members of the community had been Roman Catholics for several generations, and had grown dangerously accustomed to the habit of obtaining priestly absolution for moral delinquencies. Rabbi Uzziel would have none of it. Like the prophets of old he would make no truce with immorality, and denounced it without respect of person. Manasseh ben Israel also had the reputation of being an earnest and eloquent preacher, and probably passed on some of his master's moral earnestness to his pupil Spinoza. No doubt young Spinoza could and did draw from the wells of the living waters; no doubt he could and did draw moral inspiration from the prophetic books themselves. Still, a living example of their moral tone could not fail to intensify his susceptibility to that spirit of the prophets which Spinoza's own writings still breathe. (For fuller information about Manasseh ben Israel, see Kayserling's essay in the Miscellany of Hebrew Literature (second series), and L. Wolf's Manasseh ben Israel's Mission to Oliver Cromwell.)

[3-7]   The school curriculum, though fairly encyclopaedic in range of subjects, was all in Hebrew. Other languages and the more modern sciences, or the more modern treatment of them, had to be studied outside the school. Spanish and Portuguese he learned from his parents; Dutch, from his environment. Morteira, who was a Venetian by birth, may have taught him some Italian; and Manasseh ben Israel, some French. Latin, we are informed, he learned from a German scholar, possibly a certain Jeremiah Felbinger, a man of rather unorthodox reputation, who may also have taught him German. The study of Latin was not popular among the Jews at that time. It was too intimately associated with Roman Catholicism and the Inquisition. In fact it was usual Page xxxi among the Jews to speak of Latin as "the priests' language." Hence the knowledge of Latin was not a common accomplishment of Jews then. A certain Mochinger, writing to Manasseh ben Israel in 1632, complained that in Bohemia and Germany he had not come across any Jew who had learnt even the rudiments of Latin; and he goes on to encourage Manasseh to persevere with his Latin and to teach it also to others. Even in Amsterdam, where, as the same writer states, there were a number of Jews who knew Latin well, it was regarded with misgiving as the medium of a worldly wisdom, which, like the "Greek wisdom" of old, was suspected, not without reason, of leading to an estrangement from Judaism. And Spinoza's schoolfellow, Moses Zacuto, to whom reference has already been made above, and who began as a poet and ended as a mystic, actually fasted for forty days by way of penance for his early devotion to Latin. If, therefore, Spinoza studied Latin, it may be taken for granted that he also pursued other secular studies, especially mathematics (which he is reported to have studied under an Italian), and physics, both of which he soon required for optical work, and which may actually have disposed him to learn the art of polishing lenses; probably also the later scholastic philosophy as expounded about that time, in the works of Burgersdijck, Professor of Philosophy at Leyden (died 1632), and by his successor, Heereboord (died 1659). In 1652 Francis van den Enden, an ex-Jesuit, ex-diplomat, ex-bookseller, doctor, and classicist, opened a school in Amsterdam, and Spinoza went there to complete his secular studies. Van den Enden was certainly unorthodox, and was strongly suspected of atheism. Colerus relates that some of the past students of Van den Enden "blessed every day the memory of their parents, who took care in due time to remove them from the school of so pernicious and impious a master." But he was admittedly an able teacher, and Spinoza, no doubt, owed to him his mastery of Latin, also Page xxxii what little knowledge he had of Greek, the advancement of his medical and physical knowledge, and most probably also his first introduction to the philosophy of Descartes, whose recent death, in 1650, must have attracted renewed attention to his writings. Van den Enden, as we shall see, was also kind to Spinoza in other ways, and certainly deserved something better than the tragic fate which befell him.  

[3-8]   In March 1654 Spinoza's father died. Spinoza had now to provide for his own maintenance. His "schooling" was finished. A new period commenced for him.

 

§ 4. SPINOZA'S ALIENATION FROM THE SYNAGOGUE—1654-1656
   

[4-1]   Spinoza had an inborn passion for clear and consistent thinking. And the great intellectual gifts with which fortune had unstintingly endowed him were abundantly exercised and sharpened in the prolonged study of the Hebrew legal and religious codes. These abound in subtle problems and subtler solutions. And whatever Spinoza may have subsequently thought of their intrinsic merits, yet their value as a mental discipline was undeniable. But this power of penetration was slowly but inevitably bringing him into antagonism with the very sources from which it had drawn strength. Moreover, even quite apart from this sharpening of his reasoning powers, his Hebrew studies provided him also with ample material and stimulus for the exercise of his critical acumen. The spirit of rationalism pervades the whole literature of the Jews of the Spanish period, (See the writers Aristotle in Medieval Jewish Thought.) and the masterpieces of that literature were the pride of the Jewish refugees from the Peninsula, indeed, of all Jews. In the commentary of Abraham Ibn Ezra (1092-1167) he found many bold and suggestive hints. In the Preface, Page xxxiii Ibn Ezra states that he "will show no partiality in the exposition of the Law," and although the promise seems bolder than the fulfilment, yet now and again one meets with "a word to the wise" which is just sufficient to direct attention to some inconsistency in Scripture, to the post-Mosaic authorship of certain passages in the so-called Five Books of Moses, or to the different authorship of the first and of the second parts of Isaiah. These hints, obscure as they may seem, justify Ibn Ezra's claim to be called "the father of the Higher Criticism of the Bible," and they certainly led to Spinoza's subsequent important contributions to this kind of Biblical criticism. In the Guide of the Perplexed of Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) his attention was drawn to certain crudities and inconsistencies in Biblical theology, which Maimonides, indeed, tried to explain away, or to reconcile with the requirements of reason, though apparently, in the judgment of Spinoza, with little success. And Maimonides' treatment of the institution of sacrifices as merely a temporary concession or device to wean Israel from idolatry could not but suggest to Spinoza that other religious customs, too, were only temporary in character and validity. In the writings of Gersonides (1288-1344) he saw rationalism encroaching on miracles and on prophecy, so as to explain away their supposed supernatural character. Maimonides had already boldly asserted that any passage in the Bible which appeared to conflict with reason must be so reinterpreted as to be in harmony with it. This method of "interpreting" Scripture into conformity with reason still seemed to save the priority of the Bible over human reason— though only in appearance. Gersonides went further than that. Frankly admitting the possibility of a real conflict between Reason and Revelation, he openly declared that the Bible "cannot prevent us from holding that to be true which our reason prompts us to believe." Moreover, the tendency towards free thought was very much in the air Page xxxiv ever since the Renaissance, and it affected young Jews as it affected others. For example, in 1628 there arrived in Amsterdam a Jewish scholar, Joseph Delmedigo by name, who had studied at the University of Padua. He was well versed in philosophy, medicine, physics, and mathematics, as well as in Hebrew literature, and he had also studied astronomy under Galileo. He seems to have stayed several years in Amsterdam, where Manasseh ben Israel published a selection of his works for him. He was a remarkable product of that age of conflict between the old and the new. Unsettled by the new spirit of the age, yet faithful to the old, his mind inclined now towards scepticism and again towards mysticism, and his nomad life was at once typical and expressive of a restless, vacillating mind seeking in vain to regain its equilibrium. And, to judge from contemporary complaints, Amsterdam Jewry had not a few of such religious malcontents, and the leaders had to cope with the trouble as best they could. Already in 1623 Samuel da Silva, a Jewish physician at Amsterdam, was called upon to write a defence of the immortality of the soul, and the inspiration of the Bible, against the sceptical views aired by Uriel da Costa. In 1632 Manasseh ben Israel published the first part of his Conciliator, wherein he sought to reconcile the apparent inconsistencies of Scripture. The Marano refugees, like others who threw off the yoke of Roman Catholicism, turned back to the Bible, and the difficulties which some of them encountered there may have been one of the causes which prompted Manasseh's enterprise. Spinoza, no doubt, knew this book. But he probably appreciated the problems which it attacked much more than the solutions which it offered. And if the Bible already presented difficulties, how extravagant and unwarranted must have appeared that elaborate superstructure which the Rabbis had reared upon it "line upon line and precept upon precept"! At all events, Spinoza's difficulties, Page xxxv in so far as they turned on the narrower problems of the Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish ceremonial, were by no means new. They had been clearly realised, and partly dealt with, by others long before him.

[4-2]   As regards the wider philosophical questions, it is difficult to say what Spinoza's philosophy was like at that epoch of his life. One can scarcely suppose that his thought was already systematised into a definite philosophic theory. Most likely his views were as yet but loosely connected, and, in the main, negative rather than positive in tendency. And these views also were, in very large measure, if not exclusively, suggested to him by Jewish writers. These more philosophical problems, too, were not altogether new, they had been realised, and grappled with, by other Jews before him. The popular conception of Creation (creatio ex nihilo) had been denied by both Ibn Ezra and Gersonides, who maintained the eternity of matter. Crescas (1340-1410) had maintained that G-D had extension, and the Jewish Mystics taught that Nature was animated. Maimonides had denied that man was the centre of creation, maintaining that each thing exists for its own sake, and Crescas denied the validity of final causes. Maimonides also had suggested the relativity of good and evil, and Ibn Ezra and Crescas had maintained a thoroughgoing determinism.

[4-3]   Spinoza, however, felt the accumulated burden of all these problems, and he may already have been sufficiently influenced by Cartesian {pertaining to Descartes, his mathematical methods, or his philosophy} thought to refuse to accept any unproved assertions. Moreover, Spinoza lacked the power (one is almost inclined to call it a gift) which his Jewish predecessors possessed, namely, the power of detaching their theories from their practical everyday life. However advanced or heterodox their views may have been, yet they were conservative in feeling, and conservative in practice, and observed religious customs just like the most orthodox. Such an attitude may easily be accused of duplicity; but Page xxxvi we do not really explain it by calling it bad names. It is often perfectly honest, and it is to be met with in all creeds, at the present no less than in the past. And, after all, the difference is mostly one of degree rather than of kind. Even Spinoza's feeling remained to the end more conservative than his thought. That was why he could not help using the language of religion {Endnote 4-3a} long after his thought seemed to have emptied it of its religious meaning. At all events he made no secret of his views, and he grew lax in the matter of ceremonial observances, whose theoretic basis no longer appealed to him. The elaborate dietary laws of orthodox Judaism must have been something of an obstacle in his intercourse with Christian friends, and although he, no doubt, observed these laws for a time from sheer force of habit, even when their raison d'etre had already lost its hold on him, still he probably got weary of excusing his apparent unsociability on the ground of a custom in which he no longer believed. Moreover, the comparatively liberal religion of his Mennonite and Collegiant (See p. xli on the character of these sects.) friends, their Quaker-like simplicity, their brotherly equality, their humanitarian repudiation of strife and war, the plain decorum of their prayer-meetings—all this must have tended to make him increasingly dissatisfied with the over-elaborated ceremonial of his own community, and the comparative indecorum of their Synagogue services. On the other hand, his Jewish neighbours were beginning to feel scandalised by this breach of ritual observances, his frequent absence from the Synagogue, and the reports of his attendance at Christian prayer-meetings, especially so, considering that his father and grandfather had held office in the Synagogue, and Baruch himself had been looked upon as a promising "light of the Exile." Mutual distrust developed into mutual antipathy. The conservatives could not understand how any one could, merely on account of personal inconvenience, deliberately ignore divinely ordained Page xxxvii precepts—except from sheer perverseness. They failed to realise that any one who did not accept the divine origin of such customs, and did not see any very obvious moral purpose in them, would simply not think it worth while sacrificing time or anything else on their account. And Spinoza himself was almost equally unsympathetic when he failed to realise that customs which seemed a burden to him were nevertheless felt to be a blessing and a privilege by those who sincerely regarded them as divine ordinances, as opportunities of serving God; while the apparent indecorum of the Synagogue was largely the outcome of Israel's feeling of familiarity with God. Such mutual misunderstandings neither began nor ended in the days of Spinoza. At all events trouble was brewing. After his father's death Spinoza probably became less cautious than before. He did not entirely sever his connection with the Synagogue, for the Synagogue accounts show that he was present in the Synagogue on the Sabbath, the 5th of December 1655, and made an offering. It was the Sabbath of the Feast of Lights, in memory of the Maccabean uprising against Antiochus Epiphanes, and Spinoza had a warm admiration for all enemies of tyranny—did he not actually picture himself in the guise of Aniellos, the Neapolitan rebel against the tyranny of Spain? That Spinoza should have kept up his connection with the Synagogue stands to reason. He could hardly resist the call of filial piety to recite the mourner's prayer for his father, even as, in the days of his childhood, he had done for his mother. The prayer was innocent enough. Though a "mourner's prayer," it was not a prayer for the dead, in fact it contained no reference whatever to the dead. It was a prayer for peace, and its ground-note was that of praise of God, which, coming at the moment of profoundest sorrow, was regarded as the finest expression of resignation and faith. Spinoza could scarcely have taken any serious objection to it, at that time, and on such Page xxxviii an occasion, and he would thus remain attached to the Synagogue during his year of mourning. In the months of September, October, and November fell the anniversaries of the deaths of his sister Miriam, his stepmother, and his mother respectively. He would be expected to attend Synagogue on these occasions, and hardly be disinclined. We need not, therefore, be surprised to find him again in the Synagogue on the 5th of December. In all probability that was not the last occasion either on which he was seen in Synagogue—the anniversary of his father's death, in March 1656, most likely saw him there again. What exactly happened in the interval between March and July 1656 is not certain, though it may not be difficult to conjecture. Possibly some of his young Jewish friends spoke to him on the subject of death—a subject natural enough under the circumstances—and may have been surprised and shocked to hear from him that in his view the Bible did not teach the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and that, in the Bible, "soul" was simply synonymous with "life." This might have led up to the more general question of the existence of disembodied spirits or angels, which Spinoza then described as unreal, and mere phantoms of the imagination. But what about God? would be the natural rejoinder. G-D, said Spinoza, was also not incorporeal, but extended {Nature, body, thought - pantheism}. At all events, it was these heretical views which were soon afterwards made the ground of his excommunication; but they were not really the whole ground—there were other reasons.

[4-4]   Reference has already been made to the fact that, on the death of their father, Rebekah endeavoured to keep her half-brother from his share in the inheritance. Her idea no doubt was that Spinoza might earn his livelihood, whereas she had nothing wherewith to support herself, and ought therefore to be provided for. Possibly her brother-in-law, de Casseres, a prospective Rabbi, learned in the Page xxxix Law, and uncommonly shocked by Spinoza's religious lapses, of which Rebekah probably knew much and told him more, advised her that according to strict Jewish law Spinoza's delinquencies disqualified him from inheriting his father's property. Spinoza naturally resented such high-handed methods, and appealed to the law of the land, which of course took no notice of the subtleties of Rabbinic legislation. Spinoza won his lawsuit, but, realising the moral claims of his sister's position, he refrained from taking anything beyond a bedstead, and that very likely as a memento quite as much as an article of value, or of which he had need. This appeal to the secular arm against his sister hardly tended to make him more popular with his people, however little some of them may have sympathised with her peculiar methods. Moreover, the report of his heresies, on which Rebekah had based her exclusive claims, got abroad and was duly magnified as it passed from mouth to mouth.

[4-5]   Meanwhile Spinoza had to earn his bread. He could hardly think of staying with his sister, or with any other relative, after this family quarrel, and he had nothing very definite to fall back upon for his support. Fortunately Van den Enden, realising his pupil's plight, came to his rescue. Spinoza assisted him in his school, and, in return, Van den Enden provided him with a home and all necessaries at his own house. This, of course, entailed a complete breach with the Jewish dietary laws. But this was not all. Van den Enden, as already remarked, had an evil reputation, and his school was strongly suspected of being a centre for the teaching of atheism. Whether Van den Enden really merited his ill repute is by no means certain. That he was not particularly orthodox in his views may be granted; he knew too much to satisfy the requirements of the zealots. On the other hand, it must be remembered that when Dirck Kerckrinck wooed Clara Maria Van den Enden, he had to turn Roman Catholic before her father consented to
Page xl the marriage (1671). Be that as it may, the school had a bad name, and Spinoza's reputation did not improve by his more intimate connection with it. Possibly some of the fathers, who subsequently earned the daily blessings of their sons for taking care in due time "to remove them from the school of so pernicious and impious a master" as Van der Enden was reputed to be, were not slow in fastening some of the blame on his Jewish assistant; and Spinoza, who was as yet too inexperienced to appreciate the wisdom of discretion, may have given utterance to many a heterodox thought. If so, the scandalised fathers who repeatedly tried to persuade the city magistrates to close Van den Enden's school, and who actually did succeed in driving him out of Amsterdam eventually, would not keep very quiet about Spinoza, and the Jewish authorities would have good reason to take alarm.

[4-6]   Except by the select few, religious toleration was scarcely understood in those days, even in the Netherlands. That the persecuted turn persecutors has become a truism; it is sad, but it is true. In practice, the cry for religious toleration has all too often amounted to this: you have persecuted me long enough now, let me persecute you for a change. At the very commencement of their long struggle against the tyranny of the Inquisition, the mutual intolerance of the various religious sects in the Netherlands caused infinite trouble to William the Silent, and very nearly wrecked their enterprise. As their fortunes improved and the need of union became somewhat less urgent, intolerance became increasingly manifest. The Calvinists, who were in the majority, regarded their Church more or less as the established Church, to which the Reformed clergy tried their utmost to compel all others to conform. When Philip III. made a twelve years' truce with the United Netherlands in 1609, he did so, it is said, in the sinister hope that mutual religious persecutions among the different religious sects Page xli would bring about that fall of the Netherlands which the Spanish troops had failed to effect. Sooth to say, there was considerable justification for that sinister hope. In 1610 the followers of Arminius (Professor of Theology at Leyden, died 1609) presented to the provincial parliament of Holland and West Friesland their Remonstrance {remonstrate—to reason or plead in protest, objection, or complaint} (The "five points" of the Remonstrance were (i) conditional election; (ii) universal redemption through Christ; (iii) salvation by grace; (iv) the irresistibleness of grace; and (v) the possibility of falling from a state of grace.) against extreme Calvinism, and the struggle between the Arminians (or Remonstrants) and the extreme Calvinists (or Contra-Remonstrants) culminated in 1619, when the Synod of Dordrecht excommunicated the Arminians, closed their places of worship, and brought about the expulsion of Remonstrant preachers from most of the States. Barneveldt, the political head of the Remonstrants and reputed to have been the greatest statesman of the Netherlands, was executed; Hugo Grotius, one of their most eminent scholars, was thrown into prison, and only escaped from it through the bold ingenuity of his wife. One interesting result of the banishment of Arminian pastors was the formation of the Collegiant sect, which simply decided to dispense with the clerical office altogether, and held more or less informal gatherings (collegia) for prayers and religious discussions conducted entirely by laymen. (The Mennonites, with whom also Spinoza stood in friendly relations, had come into existence under very similar circumstances during the sixteenth century). The events of 1619 show clearly enough the temper of the dominant religious sect in the United Provinces. Fortunately, enlightened statesmen and magistrates generally managed to resist the persecuting zeal of the Reformed or Calvinist clergy. But not always; nor did the zealots relax their efforts in spite of repeated discouragement. In 1653 the clerical Synods forced the States-General to issue a strict edict against the Socinians {Any follower of Faustus and Laelius Socinus, who rejected the divinity of Christ, original sin, etc.} Page xlii or Unitarians {A person who maintains that God is one being, rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity.}, many of whom consequently went over to the Collegiants.

[4-7]   After all, then, the decree of toleration embodied in the Union of Utrecht did not secure very much in the way of real toleration. Non-Calvinist Christians were allowed to live in the Netherlands without suffering in person or property on account of their nonconformity. For those days even that was a great deal; but the right of public worship was quite another matter. And if the Union of Utrecht did not secure real toleration for all Christian sects, much less did it guarantee anything to the Jews, who had not been contemplated in it at all, who had not even been formally admitted into the Netherlands, but whose presence had been more or less connived at. Even in 1619, when the Jewish question was definitely raised in the Netherlands, it was decided to allow each city to please itself whether it would permit Jews to live there or not. Their position was precarious indeed. They had to take care not to give offence to the religious susceptibilities of their neighbours. And their troubles commenced soon enough.

[4-8]   About the year 1618 there had arrived in Amsterdam a Marano refugee from Portugal whose name was Gabriel da Costa. Both he and his late father had held office in the Catholic Church, but seized by a sudden longing to return to the religion of his ancestors, Gabriel fled to Amsterdam, where he embraced Judaism and changed his name from Gabriel to Uriel. His ideas about Judaism had been derived chiefly from reading the New Testament, and his contact with actual Rabbinic Judaism somewhat disappointed him. He thereupon commenced to speak contemptuously of the Jews as Pharisees {A member of an ancient Jewish sect that differed from the Sadducees chiefly in its strict observance of religious practices, liberal interpretation of the Bible, and adherence to oral laws and traditions.}, and aired his views very freely against the belief in the immortality of the soul, and the inspiration of the Bible. These views were, of course, as much opposed to Christianity as to Judaism. The Jewish physician, de Silva, as already stated, tried to controvert these heretical Page xliii views in a book published in 1623. Da Costa replied, in 1624, with a treatise which was very confused, and which, while accusing de Silva of slander against the author, actually reiterated those heresies. Partly from fear that an outcry might be raised against the Jews as promulgators of heresy, the Jewish authorities excommunicated Uriel da Costa, and as a kind of official repudiation of all responsibility for him, they communicated the facts to the civil authorities, who thereupon imprisoned him, fined him, and ordered his book to be burned. Shunned by Jews and Christians alike, da Costa found his existence very lonely and intolerable, and in 1633 he made up his mind, as he said, "to become an ape among apes," and made his peace with the Synagogue. But he soon got quite reckless again, and was excommunicated a second time. Again he grew weary of his isolation, and once more he approached the Synagogue authorities for the removal of the ban. Determined not to be duped again, yet reluctant to repel him absolutely, they imposed hard conditions on him. He submitted to the conditions—he recanted his sins publicly in the Synagogue, received thirty-nine lashes, and lay prostrate on the threshold of the Synagogue while the congregation stepped over him as they passed out. It was a cruel degradation. And so heavily did his humiliation weigh on his mind that he committed suicide soon afterwards. This happened in 1640, and Spinoza must have remembered the scandal.

[4-9]   If the Jewish community in Amsterdam felt it necessary to repudiate, in such drastic manner, their responsibility for Uriel da Costa's heresies, so as to avold giving offence to their Christian neighbours, there was every reason why they should feel even greater discomfort on account of Spinoza's heresies in 1656. It was a critical period in the annals of Jewish history. During the Muscovite and Cossack invasion of Poland (1654 -1656) entire Jewish communities were Page xliv massacred by the invaders; nor did the Poles behave much better towards the Jews during the war. Naturally, whosoever could tried to escape from the scene of slaughter. There was consequently a considerable influx of Polish Jews into Amsterdam. Now, even in the twentieth century, when countless missionaries are sent to spread the Gospel from China to Peru, Jewish refugees have been shown but scant Christian charity under similar circumstances, so we have every reason to suppose that the condition of the Amsterdam Jewish community did not gain in security through this influx of destitute refugees. Then more than ever was it necessary to be circumspect, and avoid giving offence to the people of the land, especially in the matter of the most delicate of all things—religion. (That their apprehensions were not unfounded is clear from the fact that even some twenty years afterwards various Synods of the Reformed Church tried to induce the civil powers to pass strong measures for the forcible conversion of the Jews.) They did not want another scandal. One da Costa affair was enough, and more than enough. Yet they must not incur the responsibility for Spinoza's heresies. So at first they tried to bribe Spinoza. They promised him a considerable annuity if he would only keep quiet, and show some amount of outward conformity to his religion. They must have known well enough that silence and partial outward conformity do not alter a man's views; they were surely shrewd enough to realise that a heretic does not cease to be a heretic by becoming also a hypocrite. If their sole object had been to suppress heresy in their midst, that was not the way to gain their end. Heresy would not languish through becoming profitable. The real motive that prompted them must have been that just indicated—though it is very likely that they did not realise it so explicitly. If they had done so, and if they had urged these points on Spinoza, he would, undoubtedly, have appreciated the need for caution and silence. But they evidently did not understand him, they evidently misconceived his character entirely, and the Page xlv attempt to gag him with a bribe was just the way best calculated to defeat their end. The only person who might have understood him, and whose intervention might have been successful, was Manasseh ben Israel. But he was in England then, on a mission to Cromwell. So threats were tried next; but the threat of excommunication had no effect on Spinoza. They had reached the end of their tether. The only course open to them, as they felt, was to put him under the ban. The feeling against him was, no doubt, so strong that a fanatic might have tried to do him some physical violence. And it may be that such an attack gave rise to the story of an attempt to assassinate Spinoza with a dagger, as he was leaving the Synagogue or the theatre. But there is no evidence of this, and the probability is decidedly against it.
 
[4-10]   Some time in June 1656 Spinoza was summoned before the court of Rabbis. Witnesses gave evidence of his heresies. Spinoza did not deny them—he tried to defend them. Thereupon he was excommunicated for a period of thirty days only—in the hope that he might still relent. But he did not. Accordingly, on the 27th July 1656, the final ban was pronounced upon him publicly in the Synagogue at Amsterdam. It was couched in the following terms: 

[4-11]   "The members of the council do you to wit that they have long known of the evil opinions and doings of Baruch de Espinoza, and have tried by divers methods and promises to make him turn from his evil ways. As they have not succeeded in effecting his improvement, but, on the contrary, have received every day more information about the horrible heresies which he practised and taught, and other enormities which he has committed, and as they had many trustworthy witnesses of this, who have deposed and testified in the presence of the said Spinoza, and have convicted him; and as all this has been investigated in the presence of the Rabbis, it has been resolved with their consent that the said Espinoza should be anathematised and cut off from the people of Israel, and now he is anathematised with the following anathema:  

[4-12]   This amiable document of the "holy congregation" is nothing less than a blasphemy. It must be remembered, however, that the actual anathema was a traditional formula, and (unlike the preamble and conclusion) was not specially written for the occasion. No doubt it shows a greater familiarity with the phraseology of the Bible than with its best teaching. But the Jews who excommunicated Spinoza were no worse than their neighbours in this respect. These awful curses were but the common farewells with which the churches took leave of their insubordinate friends. Nor were these the worst forms of leave-taking, by any means. After all, swearing breaks no bones, and burns none alive, as did the rack and the stake which were so common in those days. The Catholic Church excommunicated only when it could not torture and kill; and then its anathemas, though they may have been more polished in diction,
Page xlvii were incomparably more brutal in effect. The ban pronounced upon William the Silent, for instance, contained nothing less than an urgent invitation to cut-throats that they should murder him, in return for which pious deed they would receive absolution for all their crimes, no matter how heinous, and would be raised to noble rank; and that ban actually accomplished its sinister object! It is, therefore, unjust to single out this ban against Spinoza and judge it by present-day standards. Nor should it be forgotten that if Judaism alone had been concerned, more leniency would have been shown, the whole thing might have been ignored. Elisha ben Abuyah, the Faust of the Talmud, was not persecuted by the Jews, in spite of his heresies. The ban against Spinoza was the due paid to Caesar, rather than to the God of Israel.

[4-13]   As in the case of da Costa, and for the same reasons, the Jewish authorities officially communicated the news of Spinoza's excommunication to the civil authorities, who, in order to appease the wrath of the Jewish Rabbinate and the Calvinist clergy, banished Spinoza from Amsterdam, though only for a short period.

[4-14]   On the whole there is some reason to suppose that the anathema was not a curse, but a blessing in disguise. It freed him entirely from sectarian and tribal considerations; it helped to make him a thinker of no particular sect and of no particular age, but for all men and for all times.

[4-15]   However reprehensible his heretical utterances and unorthodox doings may have been considered by some of his fellow-Jews, yet there can be no doubt that Spinoza did not really desire to sever his connection entirely with them. This is evident from the fact that he did not ignore, as he might have done, the summons to come before the court of Rabbis in order to defend himself against the charge of heresy. It is true that when informed of his final excommunication he is reported to have said: "Very well, this Page xlviii does not force me to do anything which I would not have done of my own accord, had I not been afraid of a scandal." But the last words of this expression of his natural resentment only seem to confirm the suggestion about his previous anxiety to avoid a complete rupture, if he could do so honestly. It was partly perhaps also for this reason that even after his excommunication he addressed to the Synagogue authorities an Apology (written in Spanish) in which he probably sought to defend his heretical views by showing that they had the support of some of the most eminent Rabbis, and to condemn the iniquity of fastening on him "horrible practices and other enormities" because of his neglect of mere ceremonial observances. Unfortunately, this document has not yet been recovered, though some of its contents are said to have been subsequently incorporated in his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. It would throw a flood of light on Spinoza's mental history. However, the Apology did not mend matters. Cut off from his community, without kith or kin, he stood alone, but firm and unshaken. Unlike da Costa, he never winced. He seems to have got into touch with Jews again afterwards; but it was they who had to seek him.

§ 5. THE LAST YEARS OF SPINOZA'S STAY IN
AND NEAR AMSTERDAM—1656-1660
 

[5-1]   Banished from Amsterdam, Spinoza went to live in Ouwerkerk, a little village to the south of Amsterdam. Possibly he had some Christian friends there who had influence with the civil authorities; and apparently he meant to return to Amsterdam at the earliest opportunity. Maybe also he was not altogether uninfluenced by the thought that the Jewish cemetery was there, and that his mother, his sister, his father, Page xlix and others once dear to him, had found their last resting-place in it.

[5-2]   For his support he had to rely on the lenses which he made—an art which he had mastered during the years immediately preceding his exile. He made lenses for spectacles, microscopes, and telescopes, and his friends sold them for him. The work suited his tastes well enough, because it kept him in touch with his scientific studies. And he evidently excelled in it, for later on his fame as an optician attracted the notice of Huygens and Leibniz, among others. But it was an unfortunate occupation otherwise. The fine glass-dust which he inhaled during his work must have been very injurious to his health, especially when we bear in mind that he eventually died of consumption, and that he probably inherited the disease from his mother, who died so young. For the time being, however, it was a congenial occupation, and, with his frugal habits, left him sufficient time to pursue his scientific and philosophic studies.

[5-3]   As already suggested, Spinoza did not stay long in Ouwerkerk, but returned, after a few months, to Amsterdam, where he remained till 1660. Of the events which happened during this period (1656-1660) we possess the most meagre information. Apparently he gave some private lessons in philosophy, and pursued his studies unremittingly. At the end of this period he had already left Descartes behind him, and had thought out the essentials of his own philosophy.

[5-4]   From Spinoza's subsequent correspondence, we obtain a glimpse of his friends and associates during this period, while the opening pages of his Improvement of the Understanding at once enlighten and mystify us about his life during those last years in Amsterdam.

[5-5]   After leaving Amsterdam in 1660 Spinoza continued a friendly correspondence with several residents in Amsterdam, whom he also visited for a short time in 1663. These Page L correspondents must therefore have been known to him during his stay in Amsterdam, and what is known about them helps to throw some light on this obscure period in Spinoza's life-history. They were Pieter Balling, Jarig Jelles, Dirck Kerckrinck, Lodewijk Meyer, Simon Joosten de Vries, and Jan Rieuwertsz.

[5-6]   Pieter Balling had acted for some time as the representative or agent of various Spanish merchants. And it is just possible that Spinoza's knowledge of Spanish first brought him into touch with him. Balling was a Mennonite {a member of a Protestant sect that refuses oaths and the bearing of arms and is noted for simplicity of living}, and a pronounced enemy of dogmatism. In 1662 he published book entitled The Light on the Candlestick, in which he attacked religion based on stereotyped dogmas, and advocated a religion, partly rationalistic, partly mystical, based on the inward light of the soul. The whole spirit of the book might be summed up in the familiar lines of Matthew Arnold:  

"These hundred doctors try
                    To preach thee to their school.
We have the truth, they cry.
   And yet their oracle,
Trumpet it as they will, is but the same as thine.

"Once read thy own breast right,
               And thou has done with fears.
Man gets no other light,
              Search he a thousand years.
Sink in thyself: there ask what ails thee, at that shrine."
 


[5-7]   In 1664 he translated into Dutch Spinoza's version Descartes' Principia. In a letter written in the same year we see Spinoza trying to console Balling on the loss of his child, and dealing tenderly with Balling's "premonitions" of his impending loss.

[5-8]   Jarig Jelles was at one time a spice-merchant in Amsterdam, but feeling that "knowledge is better than choice gold, that wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things Page li that may be desired are not to be compared to her," he left his business in the charge of a manager, and devoted himself to study. He wrote a book to show that Cartesianism did not lead to atheism, but was, on the contrary, quite compatible with the Christian religion. Spinoza seems to have helped him in the composition of this book. Jelles was one of the friends who persuaded Spinoza to publish his version of Descartes' Principia, and even defrayed the cost of its publication. He also took an active share in the publication of Spinoza's posthumous works, the preface to which is so similar in tone to the book of Jelles that he is regarded as its author by some very competent authorities.

[5-9]   Dirck Kerckrinck was seven years younger than Spinoza, whom he first met at Van den Enden's school (? 1652-6). He studied medicine, and became the author of various medical treatises. Colerus relates some gossip to the effect that Spinoza and Kerckrinck were rivals for the hand of Clara Maria, the gifted daughter of Van den Enden, and that she accepted Kerckrinck because he was rich, while Spinoza was poor. But as Clara Maria was born in 1644, this very natural attempt to introduce a touch of romance into Spinoza's life of single blessedness is an utter failure. Clara Maria was barely sixteen when Spinoza left Amsterdam for good in 1660, and he had ceased to be her father's pupil in 1654 or, at the latest, in 1656. As an inmate in her father's house he may have been fond of her as a mere child, and some expression of endearment uttered in that sense probably gave rise to this pretty tale. It is true, however, that Kerckrinck did marry her in 167I, as already mentioned. Spinoza possessed several of the medical works of Kerckrinck, who had, no doubt, sent them to him as an old friend of his.

[5-10]   Lodewijk Meyer was a medical practitioner in Amsterdam. He was about two years older than Spinoza, and a man of versatile talents. He had studied not only medicine but Page lii also philosophy and theology, made his bid as poet and dramatist, lexicographer and stage-manager, and was the moving spirit in a certain literary society, the name and motto of which was (as we need scarcely be surprised to hear) Nil volentibus arduum (Nothing is Difficult to Those Who Are Willing—Bk.XX:294). It was he who wrote the interesting preface to Spinoza's version of Descartes' Principia.

[5-11]   Simon Joosten de Vries was an Amsterdam merchant. He was only about a year younger than Spinoza, though his attitude towards Spinoza was always that of a humble disciple. He studied medicine under the direction of Spinoza, and his attachment to Spinoza is evident from a letter of his written in 1663, after Spinoza had left Amsterdam. "For a long time," he writes, "I have been longing to be with you; but the weather and the hard winter have not been propitious to me. Sometimes I complain of my lot in being removed from you by a distance which separates us so much. Happy, most happy, is your companion Casearius, who lives with you under the same roof, and who can converse with you on the most excellent topics during dinner, or supper, or on your walks. But although we are so far apart in the body, yet you have constantly been present to my mind, especially when I take your writings in my hand, and apply myself to them." In the same letter he reports about a philosophical society for the study of Spinoza's philosophy, as communicated to de Vries and others in manuscript form, and asks for further elucidation of some difficult points. The sincerity and extent of his devotion was further shown by his offer of a gift of 2000 florins to Spinoza, which was, however, declined. Later on, Simon de Vries, whose health was even less satisfactory than Spinoza's, feeling that his end was drawing nigh, desired to make Spinoza his heir. Again the philosopher dissuaded him, urging the prior claims of the testator's own kindred. On the death of Simon de Vries his brother
Page liii offered to Spinoza an annuity of 500 florins, but Spinoza declined to take more than 300 florins.

[5-12]   Jan Rieuwertsz was a bookseller at Amsterdam, and some fifteen years older than Spinoza. He was a Collegiant, and very liberal in his views. His shop enjoyed the evil reputation of being the seat of scoffers. He published and stocked the works of many authors of unorthodox repute, including those of Descartes, Ballng, Jelles, and Spinoza. His son also was a devoted admirer of Spinoza.

[5-13]   Such were some of the men with whom Spinoza stood in friendly relationship during his last years in Amsterdam. Further details are wanting. Possibly he had given private tuition to Simon de Vries (who speaks of him as "master"), Balling, and others; or he may have held some kind of seminar or class for the informal discussion of religious and philosophical questions. If so, the substance of his Metaphysical Thoughts (which were subsequently appended to his version of Descartes' Principia) and of his Short Treatise on God, Man and his Well-being must have been elaborated during these years, and for these purposes. This would also account for the continuation or revival of similar meetings for the discussion of Spinoza's views, as reported in the letter of Simon de Vries.

[5-14]   Little as is known of these years, there can be no doubt that they were years of storm and stress in the mental history of Spinoza. This much may be gathered from the impressive pages with which he opens his Treatise on the Improvement o! the Understanding.

[5-15]   "After experience had taught me [so he writes] that all things which are ordinarily encountered in common life are vain and futile, and when I saw that all things which occasioned me any anxiety or fear had in themselves nothing of good or evil, except in so far as the mind was moved by them; I at length determined to inquire if there were anything which was a true good capable of imparting itself, and by which alone the mind could be affected to the Page liv exclusion of all else; whether, indeed, anything existed by the discovery and acquisition of which I might have continuous and supreme joy to all eternity. I say that I at length determined: for at first sight it seemed unwise to be willing to let go something certain for something that was yet uncertain. I saw, forsooth, the advantages which are derived from honour and riches, and that I should be obliged to abstain from the quest of these if I wished to give serious application to something different and new: and if, perchance, supreme happiness should lie in them, I saw clearly that I should have to do without it; but if, on the other hand, it did not lie in them, and I applied myself only to them, then I should also have to go without the highest happiness. I, therefore, revolved in my mind whether, perchance, it would not be possible to arrive at the new plan of life, or, at least, some certainty about it, without any change in the order and usual plan of my life, a thing which I have often attempted in vain. Now the things which one mostly meets with in life, and which, so far as one may gather from their actions, men esteem as the highest good, are reducible to these three, namely, riches, honour, and pleasure. By these three the mind is so distracted that it can scarcely think of any other good .... When, therefore, I saw that all these things stood in the way of my applying myself to any new plan of life; in fact, that they were so opposed to it that one must necessarily abstain either from the one or from the other, I was forced to inquire which would be the more useful to me; for, as I have already said, I seemed to be willing to let go a sure good for something uncertain. But after brooding a little over this subject I found, in the first place, that if I let go those things and devoted myself to the new plan of life I should be letting go a good uncertain by its very nature . . . for one which was uncertain, not in its nature . . . but only as regards its attainment. After unremitting reflection I came to see that, if I could only make up my mind thoroughly, then I should give up sure evils for a sure good .... Not without reason did I use the words, if I could only make up my mind thoroughly. For although I saw this so clearly in my mind, yet I could not thus put aside all avarice, sensuous pleasure, and the desire for fame. This one thing I saw, that so long as my mind revolved these thoughts, so long did it turn away from those things, and consider seriously the new plan of life. This was a great comfort Page lv to me .... And although at first these periods were rare and only of very brief duration, yet as the true good gradually became better known to me so these periods grew more frequent and longer."  


[5-16]   The above "confession" was written by Spinoza in 1661. The inner struggle between worldly allurements and the beck of the spirit was over then. Indeed already his earlier Work, the Short Treatise, which was completed in 1660, bears unmistakable evidence of the peace which crowned that inward conflict. This conflict must therefore be referred to the years immediately preceding 1660. His last years in Amsterdam, when he made his first acquaintance with real life and the struggle for existence, must have brought home to him often enough the desirableness of worldly goods, and the hardships of poverty and obscurity. After all, he was human, and he could scarcely escape the common lot mortals—the conflict between the two souls which dwell in mortal breast. But Spinoza was not given to speak about himself. He lifts but a corner of the veil, behind which we may well conjecture scenes of storm and stress during the period intervening between his excommunication in 1656 and his departure from Amsterdam in 1660. Early in that year, weary of the whir and the worldliness of that commercial centre, he went to dwell among unworldly folk with old-world virtues in an out-of-the-world village—Rijnsburg. He withdrew from the madding crowd, but not in disgust or misanthropy. He had caught a glimpse of the highest good of man, and he wanted to strengthen his hold thereon under more favourable conditions. He had discovered that the sorrows of man "arise from the love of the transient {corruptible}," while "love for an object eternal and infinite {G-D} feeds the mind with unmixed joy {better PcM}, free from all sorrow.
 

Page lvi

§ 6. SPINOZA'S STAY IN RIJNBURG—1660 -1663
 


[6-1]   Rijnsburg is a village some six or seven miles north-west of Leyden. Its modest cottages, narrow lanes, quiet waterways, and quaint medieval church still present an old-world appearance very much as in the days of Spinoza—except, of course, for the clumsy, though convenient, steam-trams which pass by on their way to and from Leyden and Katwijk—or Noordwijk-aan-Zee. Within easy walking distance from it, on the road to Leyden, is Endgeest, a nice rural little place where Descartes once stayed for a number of years, but now noted chiefly for its lunatic asylum.

[6-2]   During the seventeenth century Rijnsburg was the headquarters of the Collegiants. This sect, whose origin has already been explained above, repudiated infant baptism, and insisted on adult baptism by immersion. And Rijnsburg, on the old Rhein, was their place of baptism. That was the reason why the Collegiants were also commonly called the "Rijnsburgers." Now Spinoza, as we have seen, numbered several Collegiants among his friends, and it was probably on the suggestion of one of his Collegiant friends that he went to live there. At all events, early in the year 1660 he seems to have taken up his quarters there, probably with a surgeon of the name Hermann Homan, in a newly built little cottage standing in a narrow lane, which has since, then come to be known as Spinoza Lane. Some time afterwards, apparently, the landlord's pious humanitarianism led, him to inscribe or to have inscribed on a stone in the cottage wall the well-meant message expressed in the concluding stanza of Kamphuyzen's May Morning:  

 "Alas! if all men would be wise,
         And would be good as well,
  The Earth would be a Paradise,
Now it is mostly Hell."

Page lvii
[6-3]   And it was by this inscription that, on the authority of an old tradition, the cottage has been identified. It is still in existence, and is still surrounded by open fields rich in garden produce and bulbs. Restored, and equipped with all that diligent search could find and that money could procure in the way of things interesting to students of Spinoza, the cottage is now known as the Spinoza-huis or Spinoza Museum, and serves as a kind of shrine sacred to the memory of the philosopher, and many pilgrims bend their footsteps there to pay homage to a profound mind and lofty character, and feel something of his calm of mind in that haunt of ancient peace.

[6-4]   One reason which prompted Spinoza to seek a quiet retreat was probably the desire to write down his thoughts in some systematic form. Dissatisfied with the Scholastic philosophy still in vogue then, he and his friends had turned eagerly to the writings of Descartes. The opposition of the strict Calvinists to the Cartesian philosophy rather tended to recommend it to the Remonstrants (including the Collegiants), and, indeed, to all who had suffered from, or were opposed to, the religious intolerance of the dominant Reformed Church. The cry for impartiality and an open mind in the interpretation of Scripture was felt to have a certain kinship with the Cartesian method of philosophising, his preliminary doubt of whatever could be reasonably disputed. Hence there was a gradual coalition between liberal religion and Cartesian philosophy. Spinoza's friends were mostly Cartesians, and remained such to the end. Whether Spinoza himself was ever a thoroughgoing Cartesian is not known. That Descartes' writings exercised a very potent influence on Spinoza there is no doubt whatever. By 1660, however, Spinoza had already outgrown the fundamentals of Cartesian Metaphysics, though he still continued to follow Descartes in his Physics. Now we have already remarked that, during his last years in Amsterdam, Page lviii Spinoza seems to have acted as teacher or leader of a small philosophical circle. Its members, including Spinoza himself, were primarily interested in religious questions at first. They approached philosophy from the side of religion, and only in so far as religious problems led up to philosophical considerations. G-D and His attributes, Nature and Creation, Man and his Well-being, the nature of the Human Mind and the Immortality of the Soul—these were the topics which chiefly interested them, and on which, we may assume, Spinoza had accumulated various notes for those informal talks with them. These notes he wanted to elaborate and to systematise. This was the first task which occupied him at Rijnsburg, and it resulted in the Short Treatise on God, Man and his Well-being. But he continued to keep in touch with his Amsterdam friends and sent them the parts of the manuscript as he completed them. Though Cartesian in appearance, and partly also in substance, the Short Treatise, Spinoza's very first philosophical essay, already marks a definite departure from the philosophy of Descartes, in its identification of G-D with Nature, and its consequent determinism and naturalism. Spinoza himself fully realised the extent of his deviation from Descartes, and the novelty of his views even as compared with the novelties of Cartesianism, which was at that time "the new philosophy" par excellence. So he begged his friends not to be impatient with his novel views, but to consider them carefully, remembering that "a thing does not therefore cease to be true because it is not accepted by many." He also realised that some of these views were liable to prove rather dangerous to minds more eager for novelty than for truth. He was therefore careful about the kind of people to whom he communicated his views, and also begged his trusted friends to be careful likewise. Caution was also necessary on account of the unremitting vigilance of heretic-hunters.  

Page lxi 
[6-5]   "As the character of the age in which we live [Spinoza adds] is not unknown to you, I would beg of you most earnestly to be very careful about the communication of these things to others. I do not want to say that you should absolutely keep them to yourselves, but only that if ever you wish to communicate them to others, then you shall have no other object in view except only the happiness {peace of mind-Mark Twain} of your neighbour; being at the same time clearly assured that the reward of your labour will not disappoint you therein."

[6-6]   Having finished the first draft of his Short Treatise Spinoza felt that he had attacked all the great problems of religion and of philosophy, without any preliminary account of the requirements of philosophic method, without any adequate justification of his own mode of treatment. To this problem, accordingly, he turned his attention next, and began his Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding. In a letter dated October 1661, in reply to some questions of Henry Oldenburg, Spinoza states that he had written a complete little treatise on the origin of things, and their relation to the first cause, and also on the improvement of the understanding, and that he was actually busy just then copying and correcting it. It would appear from this that Spinoza's intention at that time may have been to combine the Short Treatise and the Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding. What actually happened, however, is not quite certain. The editors of Spinoza's posthumous works only had a fragment of the Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding, and apparently nothing of the Short Treatise, of which we only possess at present two Dutch versions, discovered about 1860. The editors of the Opera Posthuma say that the Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding was one of Spinoza's earliest works, and that he had never finished it, but they appear to be uncertain whether it was only want of time or inherent difficulties of the subject which prevented him from finishing it.  
 
Page lxii
[6-7]   In the meantime Spinoza seems to have acquired some reputation not only with the Rijnsburgers but even among some of the professors at Leyden. This may have been due to his participation in the Collegiant Conferences held at Rijnsburg. These conferences for the discussion of religious questions were open to all who cared to come. And some of the students from the neighbouring University at Leyden made a practice of attending these meetings and taking part in the debates. Some of them very likely came there for fun, though others, no doubt, had worthier motives. It was in this way that Spinoza came into touch with, among others, Johannes Casearius and the brothers Adriaan and Johannes Koerbagh, of whom more will be said anon. And in this way also Spinoza's name and history may have become known to some of the Leyden professors, among them Johannes Coccejus, professor of theology, famous as the author of the first standard Hebrew dictionary, and even more so as the author of the dictum that an interpreter of the Scriptures should approach his task with a mind free from all dogmatic prejudices—the dictum which helped to bring about a kind of alliance between the Remonstrants and the Cartesians, to which reference has already been made. Now Coccejus was a native of Bremen, and when his countryman Henry Oldenburg visited Leyden in 1661, eager as usual to make the acquaintance of everybody who was remarkable in any way, Coccejus may have suggested to him a visit to Spinoza. Possibly Oldenburg had also heard something about Spinoza from Huygens, who was in correspondence with the English scientists among whom Oldenburg had moved, had actually visited London that very year, and may have met Oldenburg at one of the meetings of the "Gresham College," which was soon to blossom into the "Royal Society." At all events, in July 1661 Oldenburg visited Spinoza in Rijnsburg.  

Page lxiii
[6-8]   Henry Oldenburg, as already remarked, was a native of Bremen, where he was born about 1620. During the war between England and Holland which followed Cromwell's enforcement of the Navigation Act, in 1651, the shipowners of Bremen seem to have suffered. It was therefore decided to send an envoy to make representations to Cromwell concerning the neutrality of Bremen. Accordingly in 1653 Henry Oldenburg was entrusted with this diplomatic mission, which brought him into touch with Milton, who was then Latin Secretary to the Council, and other eminent Englishmen of the time. For some reason he remained in England after the conclusion of his mission, staying in Oxford in 1656, and acting as private tutor to various young gentlemen, including Boyle's nephew, Richard Jones, with whom he travelled in France, Germany, and Italy, during the years 1657-1660, attending the most important academies of science, and becoming acquainted with the great lights of the scientific world. During his stay in Oxford, Oldenburg had been associated with the leading spirits of the "Invisible College," a society for the discussion of scientific problems. There was a similar society in London, the "Gresham College." With the Restoration of Charles II., in 1660, it was decided to apply for a Charter for the formation of a "Royal Society" to carry on the work of these two societies, and an acting secretary was required to undertake the work of organisation, &c. Just then Oldenburg returned from his continental tour, and his wide reading and extensive knowledge of men and matters marked him out as just the man for the post, for which he was accordingly nominated. In the following year, 1661, Oldenburg had occasion to visit his native town, Bremen, and on his return journey viá Holland, he visited Leyden (among other places), and thence Rijnsburg, where, as already mentioned, he had a long interview with Spinoza.  


[6-9]   The subject discussed on that occasion and the impression Page lxiv which Spinoza made on Oldenburg may be gathered from the following letter which Oldenburg wrote to Spinoza immediately after his return to London, in August 1661. "It was with such reluctance [he writes] that I tore myself away from your side, when I recently visited you in your retreat at Rijnsburg, that no sooner am I back in England than I already try to join you again, at least as far as this can be effected by means of correspondence. Solid learning combined with kindliness and refinement (wherewith Nature and Study have most richly endowed you) have such an attraction that they win the love of all noble and liberally educated men. Let us, therefore, most excellent sir, give each other the right hand of unfeigned friendship, and cultivate it diligently by every kind of attention and service. Whatever service my humble powers can render, consider as yours. And permit me to claim a part of those intellectual gifts which you possess, if I may do so without detriment to you. Our conversation at Rijnsburg turned on G-D, infinite Extension and Thought, on the difference and the agreement between these attributes, on the nature of the union of the human soul with the body; and further, on the Principles of the Cartesian and the Baconian Philosophy. But as we then discussed themes of such moment only at a distance, as it were, and cursorily, and as all those things have since then been lying heavily on my mind, I now venture to claim the right of our new friendship to ask you affectionately to explain to me somewhat more fully your views on the above-mentioned subjects, and not to mind enlightening me, more especially on these two points, namely, first, what do you consider to be the true distinction between Extension and Thought; secondly, what defects do you observe in the Philosophy of Descartes and of Bacon, and how, do you think, might they be eliminated, and replaced by something more sound? The more freely you write to me about these and the like, the more closely Page lxv will you bind me to yourself, and the greater will be my obligation to render similar services, if at all possible." The letter concludes with a promise to send Spinoza a volume of scientific essays by Robert Boyle, between whom and Spinoza, Oldenburg subsequently acted as a kind of intermediary.

[6-10]   It is not at all clear what kind of an introduction Oldenburg had to Spinoza, or, indeed, whether he had any introduction at all. And Spinoza was neither so loquacious nor so indiscreet as to unburden his whole mind to a stranger. But he had evidently treated Oldenburg ungrudgingly and with his wonted courtesy, and Oldenburg's letter is certainly very remarkable for its tone of generous appreciation—all the more remarkable because he was considerably older than Spinoza, and had been befriended by so many of the intellectual giants of that period, while Spinoza was apparently an obscure outcast.

[6-11]   It is noteworthy that Spinoza's conversation with Oldenburg turned on Bacon and Descartes. This is not surprising, for Spinoza was at that time (1661) very much occupied with the question of philosophical method, and the two alternatives which he must have been carefully weighing against each other were the empirical, inductive method of Bacon {an early empiricist, he rejected scholastic accounts of the natural world in favor of a new method for achieving knowledge, based exclusively on careful observation and cautious induction}, and the deductive, geometric method of Descartes. This was the very problem with which he was then grappling in his Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding, as we gather from his subsequent reply to Oldenburg, which has already been cited above. Spinoza ultimately sided with Descartes, in favour of the geometric method. He felt that the deductive method was the right one in philosophy, and that the best form of exposition was that exemplified in Euclid's geometry. This had already been urged, and, to some extent, also illustrated by Descartes; and Spinoza also now tried a similar experiment by casting one of the chapters of his Short Treatise into geometric form, constituting Page lxvi what is now its First Appendix. Soon afterwards he was occupied even more with Descartes, and tried a much more extensive experiment in the application of the geometric method.

[6-12]   In 1662, possibly in the winter of 1661-2, Johannes Casearius, a student of Theology at the University of Leyden, came to stay in Rijnsburg, and lived in the same house with Spinoza, who agreed to help him with the study of philosophy. Casearius was only about nineteen then, apparently rather immature and fickle-minded, more devoted to novelty than to truth. He proved to be very trying to Spinoza, and caused him some anxiety. Still, Spinoza had faith in the youth's good qualities, which only required a little time to mature and assert themselves. And the subsequent history of Casearius confirmed Spinoza's anticipations. In the meantime, however, Spinoza had to be cautious in the treatment of his pupil. What Casearius no doubt wanted of Spinoza was, that he should expound to him the newest philosophy. This generally meant Cartesianism then. Spinoza had something newer than that, and Casearius may have got some inkling of this, and came to him for that reason. But Spinoza did not think it good for one of his youth and temper. He therefore decided to teach him the essentials of the scholastic metaphysics as then taught at most of the universities, but to combine with it a good deal of his own criticism, and also to substitute altogether the Cartesian for the older physics. He had probably pursued a very similar course with his previous pupils in Amsterdam. But being convinced by this time that the geometric method was the most persuasive method of imparting knowledge, he turned the Second Part and a portion of the Third Part of Descartes' Principia into geometric form.

[6-13]   In the meanwhile, Spinoza had been growing discontented with his Short Treatise. For a time he probably tried to Page lxvii bring it into line with the continuous advance of his thought by means of modifications and additional notes. Finding, however, that he could wield the geometric method of exposition so well, he seems to have decided to start afresh, and to do for his own philosophy what he had already done, in a measure, for the philosophy of Descartes. In short, he commenced his Ethics, and early in the following year, 1663, a part, if not the whole, of the First Book of the Ethics was already in the hands of his Amsterdam friends.

[6-14]   By that time, however, Spinoza was already preparing to leave Rijnsburg. He had been there about three years then. Most likely they were his happiest years. They were certainly among his most fruitful years. But one of the reasons which had brought him there also drove him away now. He had come there so as to be able to work quietly, undisturbed by friend or foe. And for the first two years or so his hopes were realised. But gradually, as his circle of friends and acquaintances extended, more and more of his time was taken up by then, and taken away from his work. He therefore decided to remove from there to Voorburg, near the Hague. He left Rijnsburg in April 1663, but, before going to Voorburg, he wanted to see his old friends again, and went accordingly to Amsterdam, where he stayed about two months. While on this visit to Amsterdam he showed to his friends his Euclidean version of Descartes' Principia, Part II. Jarig Jelles, Lodewijk Meyer, and other Cartesian friends of his thereupon persuaded him to do the same with the first part of the Principia. He did so in a fortnight, and consented to their publication, together with his own Metaphysical Thoughts, on condition that Meyer revised the whole work, improving its phraseology where necessary, and adding a preface to explain that Spinoza was far from being in entire agreement with the Cartesian philosophy, even as thus moulded in the Euclidean Page lxviii mould. This was readily done, and the work appeared soon afterwards. It was published by Rieuwertsz; Meyer wrote the Preface; and this was followed by a poem, Ad Librum, composed by J[ohannes] B[ouwmeister], M.D., Meyer's "oldest and best friend." It was the only book to appear in Spinoza's lifetime with his name on it. Spinoza (it should be noted at once here) had no delusions about the absolute cogency {power to convince} of the geometric method. For in his very first publication he expounded and defended more geometrico a system of philosophy with which he did not agree.
 

§7. SPINOZA'S STAY IN VOORBURG—1663 -1670
 


[7-1]   In June 1663 Spinoza arrived in Voorburg and took up his lodgings in the Kerklaan, at the house of a painter whose name was Daniel Tydemann. Though little more than half an hour's walk from the Hague, the village of Voorburg was at that time almost as isolated as Rijnsburg, and there were times when it took Spinoza a week and more to get a letter to or from the Hague. During the next two years or so he was busily at work on his Ethics. But he found time also to keep up a fairly extensive correspondence with old friends, to make new friends, and to pay occasional visits to other towns. In the winter of 1663-4 he returned to Rijnsburg for about two months; in the following winter (1664-5) he seems to have visited either the sister or the brother of Simon de Vries, at Schiedam; in the following April (1665) he visited his, old friends in Amsterdam; he also made frequent excursions to the Hague, where he was wont to stay with a certain Mesach Tydemann, possibly a brother of his Voorburg landlord.

[7-2]   If Spinoza found Voorburg rather lonely at first, conditions changed soon enough, so that he complained that he was scarcely his own master, so much of his time was taken up Page lxix by callers. Of the people with whom he associated more or less during his stay in Voorburg the most interesting were Vossius the philologist {The study of literary texts and of written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning.}, subsequently Canon of Windsor (who probably consulted Spinoza on subjects relating to the Hebrew language and literature, much as his father, Gerhard Vossius, used to consult Manasseh ben Israel), Christian Huygens, Hudde, van Beuningen, and Jan de Witt.  


[7-3]   Christian Huygens, the discoverer of Saturn's rings, inventor of the pendulum clock, and originator of the undulatory {resembling waves} theory of light, was living within easy walking distance of Spinoza during the years 1664-6, and the two saw a good deal of one another during that period. Both of them were keenly interested in the making and improvement of lenses, and this common interest formed their chief or only bond. In character the two men were very unlike. Spinoza was generous and without reserve in imparting whatever knowledge he possessed and which might be of service to others; Huygens, on the other hand, was stinting and ever on his guard lest his trade secrets should leak out. In his letters to his brothers, Huygens refers to Spinoza as l'Israelite, le Juif de Voorburg, or notre Juif, asks his brother to inform him of Spinoza's doings, but urges him to keep from him a certain optical secret lest Hudde and others should get to hear of it through him. To strangers, no doubt, he spoke with greater respect of Spinoza. To Tschirnhaus, for instance, he remarked some years later (1675) that he had a great regard for Spinoza.

[7-4]   It was probably through Huygens that Spinoza got to know Johan Hudde. Hudde was Burgomaster of Amsterdam, and a member of the States of Holland, in which capacity he had frequent occasion to visit the Hague, which was the seat of government. He was, moreover, a man of a scientific bent of mind, which prompted him to take up the art of grinding lenses, which in those days seems to have been a fashionable hobby, not unlike present-day {1910} photography.
 
Page lxx
[7-5]   This interest in lenses may have led to his seeking and making the acquaintance of Huygens, and, through him, of Spinoza. We have just seen how anxious Christian Huygens was lest Hudde should learn from Spinoza more than Huygens cared that he should know. Hudde, moreover, unlike Huygens, was also keenly interested in problems of religious philosophy, and we still have three letters which Spinoza addressed to him on the subject of G-D's unity. Hudde very likely introduced Spinoza to some of his friends in the political sphere, and was, no doubt, instrumental in procuring for Spinoza that protection and patronage the desire for which was possibly one of the chief reasons why Spinoza had come to live near the Hague.  


[7-6]   When Spinoza gave his consent to the publication of his version of Descartes' Principia, he had a special object in view. This object he explained clearly in his letter to Oldenburg, in the latter part of July 1663. "It may be [he writes] that on this occasion some of those who occupy the highest posts in my fatherland may be found desirous of seeing my other writings, which I do acknowledge as expressing my views; they will then enable me to publish them without any risk of violating the civil law. Should this, indeed, occur, then I shall, no doubt, publish something immediately; but if not, then I will rather be silent than obtrude my opinions on men against the wishes of my country, and so incur their hostility." What exactly Spinoza meant to publish immediately is not quite certain—possibly the Short Treatise more likely the first book of his Ethics, or the whole of it which he may have hoped to complete in the near future.

[7-7]   At all events it is clear that Spinoza was anxious to enlist the sympathy of some of those who held the reins of government, and Hudde was just the man to help him. He probably introduced him to Coenraad van Beuningen, an ex-Burgomaster of Amsterdam, and sometime diplomatic, envoy of the Netherlands at the Courts of France and Page lxxi Sweden. Van Beuningen was friendly towards the Jews, and when Louis XIV. remarked to him that it was scandalous that the Dutch should tolerate the Jews, he replied: "Is not the fact that God himself has not destroyed them a proof that He wants them to be tolerated in the world? And since all other countries expel them, and yet they must live somewhere, it cannot be ungodly that Amsterdam at least should receive them." But most important of all was Spinoza's introduction to Jan de Witt, the Grand Pensionary of Holland, of whom more will be said presently.

[7-8]   Spinoza was gradually being drawn into the turbulent current of contemporary politics. In the meantime, however, he was making progress with his Ethics, receiving calls from old friends and distinguished strangers, and corresponding with all sorts and conditions.

[7-9]   Oldenburg's first letter to Spinoza, which was cited above, was followed by a cordial and regular correspondence. The Royal Society, of which Oldenburg was the acting secretary, had (as Spinoza was duly informed) received its royal charter from Charles II in 1662, and was going full sail on its course of scientific exploration. Its ambition was nothing less than (to use Oldenburg's bold phrase) "to take the whole universe to task," and its versatile cosmopolitan secretary spared no pains to publish its doings to the world, and to gather all the latest scientific news and gossip from the four corners of the earth. Spinoza thus heard from Oldenburg all that was done in England for the advancement of science, also frequent kind messages from Robert Boyle, who, however, never condescended to write himself to the "odd philosopher," though he sent him his writings and invited his criticisms, and replied to them through Oldenburg. Spinoza also sent what news he could, especially about Huygens. Occasionally we hear echoes of contemporary events in other than purely scientific spheres. Oldenburg complains about the Plague which was raging in London Page lxxii during 1665, and seriously hindered the work of tile Royal Society. He moralises on the inhumanity of warfare, à propos of the war that was being waged between England and Holland in the same year. And he wants to know what Spinoza and also the Jews of Amsterdam think of the "rumour which is on everybody's lips here that the Jews are about to return to Palestine." This had reference to the escapades of the impostor Sabbatai Zevi, who began as a pseudo-Messiah and ended as an apostate, but whose pretences, aided by the incessant sufferings of the Jews, deceived for a time even the Amsterdam Jews, whose opinion Oldenburg was curious to know—prayers being offered up in the Amsterdam Synagogue for "the King Messiah," and some new prayer-books being dated "the year one of the Messiah"! It would be interesting to know what Spinoza thought about this tragi-comedy. But just at this point the correspondence between Spinoza and Oldenburg comes to an abrupt end. The next letter between them, at least of those which are still extant, was written some ten years later. Possibly there were other letters, or it may be that the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the continued war between England and Holland (in which Bremen, Oldenburg's native city, sided with England) made further correspondence impracticable for a time; while in 1667 Oldenburg was actually imprisoned in the Tower of London, charged with "dangerous plans and practices," the vagueness of which suggests that it was simply his vast foreign correspondence that had made him an object of suspicion to a king who was too much of an adept at intrigue not to suspect everybody, and to a government which had no appreciation of a man who had "taken to task the whole universe." Oldenburg was eventually released; but his sad experiences had made him nervous and circumspect, as we shall see.

[7-10]   Among other correspondence, that with William van Blyenbergh is noteworthy at once as a study in cross-purposes, Page lxxiii when people argue from totally different standpoints, and also as illustrating the patience of Spinoza. Blyenbergh, a merchant of Dordrecht, had read Spinoza's version of Descartes' Principia several times with pleasure and profit, as he informed Spinoza. But finding certain difficulties in that book he ventured to ask Spinoza (in a letter dated December 1664) for further explanations, assuring him, at the same time, that his questions were prompted by no other motive than the desire for truth, as he was not dependent on any profession, supporting himself by honest merchandise, and simply devoting his leisure to problems of religious philosophy. Spinoza thought that here was a man after his own heart, and gladly hastened to deal with his difficulties. These difficulties turned chiefly on the problem of evil—G-D's responsibility for the existence of evil, and the apparent reduction of good and evil to the same moral level, on the views of Spinoza. In the course of his lengthy and rather garrulous epistles Blyenbergh made it quite clear that he followed both Reason and Revelation, but that whenever these conflicted then the Scriptures had precedence over Reason. From such a standpoint, of course, the correspondence was bound to be futile from the first, but Spinoza dealt most patiently and gently with Blyenbergh, as long as human patience could endure it, and brought the correspondence to a close in June 1665. In due course Blyenbergh requited Spinoza's long suffering by writing "refutations" of his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus and his Ethica, for the deep thoughts of which he could design no holier origin than Hell!

[7-11]   From one of Spinoza's letters, written in June 1665, it appears that, by that time, his Ethics had advanced as far as the end of what is now the {Appendix 32 of the} fourth book, and that Spinoza expected to finish it shortly. In a letter, however, which Oldenburg wrote to Spinoza in September of the same year he remarks jestingly: "I see that you are not so much   Page lxxiv philosophising as, if one may say so, theologising; since your thoughts are turning to angels, prophecy, and miracles." Evidently Spinoza had informed him that he was already at work on what was to be the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. And in his reply to Oldenburg's letter, Spinoza writes (September or October 1665) quite explicitly that he is writing a Treatise on the Scriptures. The Ethica, then, must have been put aside suddenly, just as it was nearing completion, and for the next four years or so we find Spinoza hard at work on his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. This certainly seems strange. What was the cause of this sudden change in the direction of his thoughts?

[7-12]   In his letter to Oldenburg, Spinoza states three reasons which prompted him to take up the new Treatise. In the first place, he wanted to deal with the theologians, whose prejudices were the chief obstacle which prevented people from becoming philosophical. Spinoza intended to expose these prejudices, and even hoped to convert some of the more intelligent divines. In the second place, he wanted to refute the charge of atheism which was constantly brought against him. In the third place, he wanted to defend by every means in his power freedom of thought and speech from the tyranny and presumption of the clergy, who were doing their utmost to suppress it. To appreciate these reasons adequately it is necessary to make a brief survey of the historical circumstances which seemed to call for such a book as the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, the need for which must evidently have appeared very urgent to Spinoza to have made him put aside his great work, just as it was nearing completion, in order to attack these mixed problems of theology and politics.

[7-13]   Spinoza, we have seen, was anxious to win the favour of the men who were in power, so that he might publish his philosophy without let or hindrance. Such patronage was indispensable in those days, for the sake of both the thinker Page lxxv and his thoughts. Descartes, for instance, did not feel safe, notwithstanding his most ceremonious bows to the Church; and even in the Netherlands, where there was neither occasion nor inclination to study the susceptibilities of the holy Roman Church, the Cartesian philosophy met with considerable clerical resistance, and was repeatedly forbidden to be taught at the Universities. Although the civil authorities were generally inclined to be liberal, yet the Calvinist or Reformed Clergy often had sufficient power to cause the confiscation and destruction of books to which they took exception, and the authors of such books were occasionally made to suffer both in purse and in person. Spinoza's desire to win the favour and protection of those in power was therefore natural enough. And he succeeded almost better than he could have expected. For he enlisted the sympathy of no less a personage than the Grand Pensionary himself—Jan de Witt. His very success, however, in a way defeated his primary object, by diverting his attention from purely philosophical problems. How this happened will soon be evident.  


[7-14]   Reference has already been made to the struggle between the Remonstrants {remonstrate—to reason or plead in protest, objection, or complaint} and the contra-Remonstrants, and the tragic fate of the Remonstrant leader, Barneveldt, in 16I9. That conflict was by no means a purely religious conflict. Church and State, Religion and Politics, if not quite so intimately united as elsewhere, were anything but completely divorced even in the Netherlands. Politically that conflict was one between the principle of autonomy of each of the United Provinces, and especially of Holland, and the principle of the predominance of the House of Orange. In that early conflict, Barneveldt stood for the former principle, Maurice, the Stadtholder (or so-called "Lieutenant," but virtual or would-be monarch), for the latter. Though Barneveldt came to an end in 1619, the conflict did not; it only required a suitable opportunity to break out afresh. In 1650, the Stadtholder, William II., chagrined Page lxxvi because of the independent attitude of Amsterdam, arrested its five chief burghers, among them Jacob de Witt. They were released soon afterwards and deprived of their office. But their bitter resentment may be gauged by the fact that, on the death of William II., in 1651, de Witt had a medal struck representing William II. lying dead on the groundj with the motto, Liberty for ever! The years which followed were years of great anxiety for the Netherlands. Cromwell prompted by the Utopian idea of a European Protestant Coalition, proposed to the States-General of the Netherlands that they should suffer themselves to be absorbed by England. When this was declined, he brought the "Navigation Act" into operation with a view to crippling the Dutch shipping trade. War followed. But negotiations were soon reopened, and peace was concluded in 1654. It was during these troubles that Jan de Witt, the brilliant son of Jacob de Witt, got and used his opportunity. In 1653 he had been elected Grand Pensionary of Holland, and it was largely through his skill that the peace negotiations with England came to a successful issue in the following year. Unfortunately for de Witt, Cromwell, in his anxiety to keep Charles II. at a safe distance, stipulated as one of the conditions of peace that the young Prince of Orange (son of William II., and nephew of Charles II.) should be made ineligible for the posts of Stadtholder and Captain-General of the Netherlands forces. And, knowing that most of the United Provinces would strongly resent the very suggestion of such a condition, de Witt had to persuade the Hollanders to bind themselves at least to such a secret "Act of Seclusion." This, of course, was bound to intensify the opposition between the de Witts and the House of Orange, and to lead to a fresh conflict between the Republican and the Monarchist parties in the Netherlands. The House of Orange, largely owing to its early alliance (in the days of Barneveldt) with the orthodox majority, eventually Page lxxvii realised their monarchical ambitions, and the de Witts, whose broad tolerance and republican zeal made them more like William the Silent than were his own descendants, were destined to meet with a tragic end. But all that was still to come. At the time with which we are at present concerned Jan de Witt was still the Grand Pensionary of Holland, and virtually the head of the United Provinces. Still, he had his enemies. His very tolerance gained for him the secret opposition of the Reformed Clergy, who were bent on Calvinising everybody and everything. And the Orange party were assiduous in cultivating the friendship of the Calvinists. The one radical safeguard for the maintenance of the Republic, as de Witt must have seen, lay in widening the outlook of its citizens, so that politics might be purged of religious animosities, and people might live at peace with each other, and co-operate in all national enterprises, without regard to their private views on matters which did not affect their conduct as citizens. In 1665, during the wars with England and Sweden, when the Dutch were so hard pressed that they had to employ French troops, the voice of discontent made itself heard in various quarters, and Calvinist prophets made capital out of these temporary trials by proclaiming them to be visitations sent from heaven in punishment of the godlessness of the country's rulers, and clamoured that the young Prince of Orange should be set in supreme authority to make the country more godly. "Moses and Aaron, the Sword and the Word," they cried, must always go hand in hand.

[7-15]   Already before this, Jan de Witt seems to have urged or encouraged various writers, who shared his views, to use their pen in support of his policy of tolerance, in short, in support of the separation between Church and State. One such book was written by his own nephew and namesake, others were written by Dr. Lodewijk Meyer and other members of the Spinoza circle, and Jan de Witt himself is Page lxxviii said to have written or contributed some chapters to such a political pamphlet. It seems natural enough, therefore, that at such a critical period Spinoza, the "good republican," should lay aside his more speculative Ethica in order to play his part in the warfare against bigotry and intolerance. He would expose the prejudices, presumption, and the lust for power of the clerical party. But it was idle simply to add one more political pamphlet to the multitude in which the principle of freedom of thought and speech had already been ably defended on general philosophical and humanitarian grounds. The zealots were deaf and blind to such arguments. To them philosophy meant heresy, and humanism meant atheism. The citadel of the clerics was the Bible. From it they drew all their arguments with which they so often silenced people, even when they failed to convince them. Spinoza resolved to turn his attention to the citadel itself, leaving mere skirmishes to others. He would show that the very Bible on which these presumptuous theologians based their whole case did not bear them out at all, that they were simply ignorant of these very Scriptures, and that they used religion and the Bible merely as a cloak for their own impudent lust for power over others. Such a work required vast and varied learning and insight—but Spinoza (and at that time perhaps he alone) had them in an eminent degree. And it required time—perhaps more than Spinoza anticipated. But Spinoza grudged neither time nor effort, and for the next four years he was deeply engrossed in theological and political studies, which resulted in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus.

[7-16]   Interfused with this wider, grander motive there was yet another, a private or personal motive. He desired to show (as he wrote to Oldenburg in the autumn of 1665) that he was not an atheist, as was commonly supposed. By the time Spinoza finished his treatise he had probably forgotten all about this private aim. If he was really still anxious to convert public opinion about himself, he could scarcely hope Page lxxix to do so by publishing his treatise anonymously, as he did in 1670. The fact is that although his personal experiences added zest to his enterprise in 1665, they gradually sank into the background as he proceeded with his work. But in any case it is interesting to ask what these personal experiences were. One naturally thinks, at first, of his excommunication in 1656. But that was an old story already, and Spinoza was at that time hardly concerned much, if at all, about the good opinion of the Amsterdam Jews. It will be better to turn to Voorburg, and to what happened there in 1665, for light on this subject. It was not an important event to which we are referring, but it is interesting as an incident in Spinoza's life, and as typical of the religious temper of the time. The pastorate of the Voorburg Church happened to be vacant in that year. There were two candidates in the field, one liberal, the other orthodox. Spinoza's landlord and others petitioned the authorities on behalf of the more liberal candidate. Thereupon the orthodox party sent a counter-petition accusing the Tydemann party of sheer wickedness, and stating at the same time that the Tydemann petition had been "concocted by a certain Spinoza, an Amsterdam Jew by birth, who is an atheist, scoffs at all religion, and is inflicting harm on the Republic, as many learned persons and ministers can attest." Evidently Spinoza had an evil repute among the champions of orthodoxy in the village, though it is pleasant to think that the more liberal section showed sufficient faith in him to enlist his sympathy and help even in their religious concerns.

[7-17]   In the course of the same year Spinoza had a distinguished visitor in the person of Field-Marshal Charles de St. Denis, Seigneur de St. Evremont, who has left us a pleasant record of his impression. "Spinoza [he wrote] was of medium height and had pleasant features. His knowledge, his modesty, and his unselfishness made all the intellectual people in the Hague esteem him and seek his acquaintance."  
  
Page lxxx
[7-18]   Spinoza remained in Voorburg till 1670, but not many details have reached us about him even during this period. He kept in touch with his Amsterdam friends, to whom he sent his manuscript of the Ethics for reading and discussion at their philosophical society's gatherings. Some of them, notably Simon de Vries, also visited him at Voorburg. That Spinoza's health was not robust is evident from his letter to one of his medical friends at Amsterdam (A. Koerbagh), to whom he incidentally mentions that he had been suffering repeatedly from tertian ague, and asks him for some conserve of roses. It was about this time apparently that Simon de Vries wanted Spinoza to accept from him a gift of two thousand florins. Simon de Vries died in 1667, and his death must have been felt very deeply by Spinoza. The following years 1668, brought bad news about another of his friends. Adriaan Koerbagh, whom Spinoza got to know at Rijnsburg, had studied law and medicine at Leyden, and was possessed of considerable mental gifts. Spinoza liked him, and encouraged him in the study of philosophy, and in the above-mentioned letter he actually offered to send him the manuscript of the Ethics. But, though clever, Koerbagh seems to have had little or no character. At all events, early in 1668 he published two works, entitled A Garden of Flowers, and Light in Dark Places, in which he attacked medicine, morals, and religion in a most wanton and shameless manner. He was promptly arrested, and though he expressed regret and recanted, yet (as this was not his first offence) he was fined 6,000 florins and condemned to ten years' imprisonment with hard labour, to be followed by exile. It should be mentioned to his honour that he entirely exonerated his brother, who had also been arrested; and when Spinoza's name was mentioned in the course of the trial he took the entire responsibility upon himself, emphatically denying that Spinoza or any one else was in any way responsible for what he had written. However Page lxxxi little there may be to say in Koerbagh's favour, yet the punishment was certainly savage. And one of the officers of the court had actually urged something much more severe, namely, that his fortune should be confiscated, his right thumb cut off, his tongue bored through with a red-hot iron, and that he should be imprisoned for thirty years! Koerbagh died in prison in the following year. The affair must have made a deep impression on Spinoza, who had expected much from him, and some of whose views Koerbagh had certainly assimilated and spread—though Spinoza was the last man to condone immorality.

[7-19]   In the meantime Spinoza had been busy with his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, and it was published in 1670. He had now been seven years at Voorburg, and he may have needed a change, or his friends at the Hague may have urged him to come and live among them. At all events Spinoza left the village, and went to live in the Hague.
 
 

§8. SPINOZA'S STAY IN THE HAGUE—1670 -1677


[8-1]   Spinoza's first lodgings in the Hague were situated on the Stille Veerkade, a quiet wharf not far from the Great Church of St. James. He lodged and boarded with a widow of the name of Van Velen. A single room on the second floor served him as bedroom, workroom, and study, all in one. Curiously enough, it was in that same room that Colerus subsequently wrote one of the earliest biographies of Spinoza. The house has been identified (it bears the number 32) but it has, no doubt, been very much altered since those days; and the Stille Veerkade is no longer a wharf, but an ordinary street, the waterway having been filled up with earth long since.

[8-2]   Probably one of the attractions which the Hague had Page lxxxii for Spinoza was that it brought him into closer touch with Jan de Witt. That he had known him for some time already seems certain. The political views of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus are very like those of the Grand Pensionary, and it was under his protection that this treatise had been published. When the opportunity arose, de Witt's enemies spoke quite openly of the treatise as a wicked instrument "forged in hell by a renegade Jew and the devil, and issued with the knowledge of Mr. Jan de Witt." It was probably also during his stay in Voorburg, and while giving his time and energy to the composition of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, that Spinoza accepted from de Witt an annual pension of 200 florins, which was paid even after de Witt's death. Once in the Hague, Spinoza must have received many a visit from the Grand Pensionary; and local gossip, indeed, still refers to such private visits from him, and his usual entrance by the garden door at the back of the house.

[8-3]   The need of protection from high quarters showed itself soon enough. Already in the June following the publication of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, the Church Council of Amsterdam had condemned it, and the condemnation of other Church Councils followed in rapid succession. The book had made a great stir in the learned world, and ran through five editions within a comparatively short time. But it had stirred a hornet's nest, and, for many years to come, theologians and other respectable folks showed their orthodoxy by incessant denunciations of that godless treatise. The civil authorities were repeatedly approached and worried to exercise the arm of the law. But so long as de Witt was in power the importunate zealots were successfully resisted. Even after de Witt's death there were men, like Burgomaster Hudde, who could, for a time, defeat the efforts of the clerics. But when William III found it desirable to ingratiate himself with the clergy and the mob, Page lxxxiii and to play to the gallery for a crown, the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus was strictly prohibited (1674), and other measures were contemplated also against the known author of the anonymous treatise.  
 

[8-4]   In May 1671 Spinoza found it necessary to change his lodgings. He was in receipt of 300 florins a year from the brother of Simon de Vries, and 200 florins a year from de Witt, that is, about 40 pounds a year, besides what little he may have been still earning by making lenses. He found that he could not afford to continue to pay Mrs. Van Velen's charges for board and lodging, and therefore looked out for rooms where he might provide his own food, and economise that way. He accordingly moved into the adjoining Paviljoensgragt, where he rented two small rooms in the house of a painter, Hendrik van der Spyck. This house has also been identified, and may now be recognised by the tablet affixed to the front wall just below the window on the second story, where Spinoza's rooms were. Here also the "gragt," or waterway, has long since made room for an ordinary road. Spinoza lived with the Van der Spycks till the end of his life.

[8-5]   When Spinoza settled in the Hague, after the publication of his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, he turned his attention once more to his neglected Ethics, which had already seemed to be near completion in 1665. The comparatively long interval which had elapsed since he had put it aside in order to take up the more urgent work had probably brought with it the need or the desire for not inconsiderable modifications or elaborations of details, and the Ethics only attained to its final form in 1675. In the meantime, how ever, Spinoza must have devoted his attention also to other things besides the Ethics. While at work on his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus he had again taken up his Hebrew and Biblical studies, and had mastered a mass of political literature. In that treatise he was chiefly concerned with the Page lxxxiv final results of these studies and reflections, and the different departments of thought were necessarily all intermingled. It would naturally occur to him, or some of his friends would suggest to him, that it was desirable to work out each of these subjects independently, and more fully than was possible in the above treatise. Spinoza, while completing and perfecting his Ethics, would accordingly also be preparing for a scientific treatise on the Hebrew language, for a translation of the {Hebew Bible} based on such an exposition of the character of Hebrew, and, lastly, for a separate treatise on political theories. By way of a change from theology and politics he would also turn again sometimes to mathematics and physical science, with a view to supplementing his Ethics, some day, by a treatise on natural philosophy. That Spinoza wished to write such a work on natural philosophy, and also to give a new exposition of the principles of algebra, we know; but he did not live to realise these wishes. His other intentions fared rather better. Spinoza did begin a Hebrew Grammar, a Dutch translation of the Bible, and a Political Treatise. But he seems to have been dissatisfied with his translation, and destroyed what he had done. The Hebrew Grammar remained unfinished, so did the Political Treatise, which, however, was much nearer completion. He has also left an essay On the Rainbow and another On the Calculation of Chances. Very likely he did not begin to write all or any of these while he was still occupied with his Ethics. But he must have been preparing for them, and we are told that at times he was so hard at work that he did not leave his room for days, nor go out of the house for three months at a stretch.

[8-6]   In the meantime black clouds were gathering in the political atmosphere, and a storm was preparing to burst upon the heads of the de Witts and their friends.

[8-7]   Reference has already been made to the war between England and Holland in 1665. That war was concluded in Page lxxxv 1667, when England was induced to come to terms partly by de Ruyter's daring and successful expedition to Chatham (when the sound of Dutch guns was heard in London), but even more so by the intervention of Louis XIV., who took sides with the Netherlands. Soon afterwards, however. Louis XIV. revived his claims to the Spanish Netherlands (Belgium) and led an army there. The Dutch grew alarmed. It was good to have Louis XIV. for a friend, but it was dangerous to have him for a neighbour. Jan de Witt accordingly sought for a means of checking French pretensions, and succeeded in doing so by means of the Triple Alliance between the Netherlands, England and Sweden. This was in 1668. Louis XIV. meant to be revenged on de Witt. First he started a tariff war with the Netherlands, next he bribed Charles II. (by the Secret Treaty of Dover, 1671), and, in 1672, England and France declared war against the Netherlands, and a French army of 120,000 men invaded the totally unprepared United Provinces. For some time past there had been a growing conspiracy in favour of the young Prince of Orange and against Jan de Witt, who had done his utmost to keep him from power, especially by engineering the "Perpetual Edict" of 1667, which decreed that no Captain-General or Admiral-General of the United Provinces could at the same time be Stadtholder of a province. The conspiracy now came to a sudden head. There was a cry for the Prince of Orange to take the field and deliver the country as his father had done. The "Perpetual Edict" was swept aside, and its author was not forgotten on the day of reckoning. With the country unprepared, and the enemy carrying all before them, the populace was easily stirred to uncontrollable fury, which had to find vent on a scapegoat. After vain attempts to procure their judicial murder, the mob broke into the prison, at the Hague, while Jan de Witt was visiting his brother Cornelis there, and murdered the two brothers in Page lxxxvi the most brutal fashion. This happened on the 20th of August 1672. More than twenty years of the most devoted and able service to the Republic was forgotten in the moment of wrath, and the Prince of Orange, William III. (the future King of England), was not altogether guiltless of the crime.

[8-8]   When Spinoza heard of the horrible tragedy he was quite beside himself. His usual philosophic calm entirely deserted him. He burst into tears, and, distracted with grief and anger, he wrote on a placard his utter abhorrence of "the very lowest of barbarians" who had committed the iniquitous murder. He wanted to go out and post his denunciation near the scene of the crime. Fortunately, Van der Spyck was more discreet. He locked the door, so that Spinoza could not get out to share the fate of the de Witts.

[8-9]   Some time after these terrible events the heirs of Jan de Witt showed some hesitation about continuing Spinoza's pension. Some of the philosopher's friends, when they heard of it, urged him to enforce his legal claims on the strength of the written promise which he possessed. But Spinoza simply returned that document to de Witt's heirs, without any comment. Impressed by his conduct, they continued his pension without any more ado.  


[8-10]   The war between France and Holland proved fatal to yet another friend of Spinoza. His old teacher, Van den Enden, had been compelled to leave Amsterdam some years before these events. For a time he stayed in Antwerp, and then settled in Paris. Here his desire to help his own country at that critical period led him to join in a conspiracy to betray Quilleboeuf to the Dutch, and to raise a rebellion in Normandy. All this would, of course, have greatly helped the Netherlands in their struggle with Louis XIV. But the conspiracy was discovered, and Van den Enden was beheaded in front of the Bastille in November 1674. Such was the tragic end of the man who had befriended Spinoza Page lxxxvii in the early days of his struggle, and who had contributed not a little towards the early development of his scientific thinking.

[8-11]   The war with France had yet further consequences in store for Spinoza. In 1673 the French army under Prince Condé was encamping at Utrecht, and among the Officers there was a Colonel Stoupe, who was in charge of a Swiss regiment. Stoupe was an ex-parson, well read, but an adventurer. Condé was a man of liberal views, and interested in art, science, and philosophy. And during their enforced idleness at Utrecht, Stoupe suggested that as Spinoza (already famous as the author of the geometric version of Descartes' Principia, and much more so as the author of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus) lived quite near, at the Hague, it would be interesting to get to know him. Condé accordingly sent, through Stoupe, an invitation to Spinoza to visit him at Utrecht. What induced Stoupe to seek the acquaintance of Spinoza seems fairly clear. Though a Calvinist, and at one time a minister of his religion, he had brought a regiment of Swiss soldiers to the service of Catholic France against the Calvinist Netherlands. The fact is that he was just an unscrupulous adventurer; at heart (as Bishop Burner has said of him) he was neither a Protestant nor a Christian, but a man of intrigue and of no virtue. But he was anxious lo keep up appearances, and when a countryman of his took him severely to task for helping the Catholics against his own fellow-Calvinists, he tried to defend himself by suggesting that the majority of the Dutch were not Calvinists at all, but heretics of the blackest dye. In a pamphlet which he published about September 1673, he refers to Spinoza as a bad Jew and worse Christian, who had written a treatise with the aim of destroying all religion and establishing atheism. This book (he added) was, nevertheless, openly sold and widely read, and no Dutchman has taken the trouble to refute it, while Page lxxxviii its author was, in fact, much sought after by learned met and fashionable ladies, and so on. The object of the invitation to Spinoza, so far as Stoupe was concerned, was therefore simply to get what information he could that might be turned to account for his self-defence. And such were the terms in which he described Spinoza apparently at the very time when he professed the greatest regard for him!

[8-12]   Spinoza, on the other hand, a dreamer by birth, probably saw in this invitation from Prince Condé a possible opening for peace negotiations, and was anxious to do his duty. He seems to have consulted some people in authority, and whatever they may have thought about it privately, they could certainly see no harm in Spinoza's errand. And so, armed with the necessary safe-conducts, Spinoza made his way to Utrecht in May 1673. He was well received by Count Luxemburg, on behalf of Prince Condé, who had in the meantime been called away, and he was invited to stay there and await the Prince's return. Spinoza's intercourse with the Count, with Stoupe and others there, seems to have been of the friendliest kind, and it is known that he made a very good impression. But when, after waiting several weeks, the news arrived that Condé could not return, Spinoza took his departure. He had been offered a pension if he would dedicate a book to Louis XIV.; but Spinoza was not Stoupe—he was not ready to serve any master for hire. He declined the request, and returned to the Hague.

[8-13]   The people at the Hague had, in the meantime, got wind of Spinoza's visit to the enemy's camp. With mob charity they could give but one meaning to this—Spinoza was a spy. When, therefore, he arrived at the Hague, scowls and stones greeted his return, and Van der Spyck was afraid that the mob would break into the house. Spinoza, however, begged him not to be afraid. "I am innocent," he said, Page lxxxix "some of our leading statesmen know why I went to Utrecht. As soon as the people make any noise, I shall go out to them, even if they should do to me what they did to good de Witts. I am a good Republican, and my desire is the the good of the Republic." Apparently Spinoza's frank fearless bearing in the moment of danger reassured the suspicious people, and he escaped without harm.

[8-14]   The invitation from Prince Condé was not the only paid to Spinoza that year. A more important invitation had reached him in February. It came from the Elector Palatine, Karl Ludwig, the brother of the Princess Elizabeth, who had befriended Descartes. The Elector offered him the Professorship of Philosophy at the University of Heidelberg. The invitation certainly had considerable attractions, and Spinoza considered it for about six weeks. But, in the first place, he could not make up his mind to become a public teacher after all these years of habitual quietude and retirement. In the second place, he had misgivings about the statement made in the invitation concerning the Prince's confidence that Spinoza would not misuse his freedom in philosophical teaching to disturb the public religion. "I do not know [Spinoza wrote] the limits within which the freedom of my philosophical teaching would be confined, if I am to avoid all appearance of disturbing the publicly established religion. Religious quarrels do not arise so much from ardent zeal for religion as from men's various dispositions, and the love of contradiction which makes them habitually distort and condemn everything .... I have experienced these things in my private and secluded life, how much more should I have to fear them after my promotion to this post of honour." So he acknowledged gracefully the Prince's liberality in offering him the Professorship, and declined it with thanks. There can be no doubt that it was the wisest course, for, besides the reasons stated by Spinoza himself, it must be Page xc remembered that he could scarcely tear himself away from his numerous friends in Holland, and that the course of events in his fatherland (as his political writings show) touched him too closely to permit of his going abroad in that critical period. Moreover, though he may not have anticipated quite such an early end as befell him (he died four years afterwards), yet with his state of consumption he could scarcely expect to grow old.

[8-15]   That Spinoza had a large circle of friends and acquaintances there can be no doubt, though the ascendency of the orthodox and the evil repute of his views compelled people, from sheer prudence, to keep quiet about their knowledge and admiration of him. One of his most devoted friends at the Hague was a Dr. J. M. Lucas, a medical practitioner, who subsequently wrote the oldest extant biography of Spinoza, which breathes the most ardent attachment to the philosopher. Another of his medical friends was Dr. G. H. Schuller, who practised medicine at Amsterdam, but also devoted much time to alchemy and philosophy. It was Schuller who brought Spinoza into contact with one of the most promising of the younger scientists, Tschirnhaus, and, through him, also with the most eminent philosopher of the next generation—Leibniz. Tschirnhaus was a young German Count who had studied at Leyden. In 1674 he made the acquaintance of Schuller at Amsterdam. Having studied Descartes, he was interested to hear all about Spinoza, with whom he soon started a correspondence, and also came into personal contact towards the end of the same year. In the following summer, 1675, he visited London, where he met Oldenburg and Boyle. He also visited Paris in the same year, and, on the advice of Spinoza, called on Christian Huygens, who had settled in Paris since 1667, and (it is interesting to compare) had continued to enjoy the profitable patronage of Louis XIV. even during the years of disaster which that King had Page xci inflicted on the Netherlands, while Spinoza had declined even to dedicate a book to him for the sake of a pension. The still interesting correspondence between Spinoza and Tschirnhaus lasted about two years. In 1683 Tschirnhaus published his De Medicina Mentis, dealing with the same problem as Spinoza's Treatise on the Improvement o[ the Understanding, and borrowing some of its ideas. But prudence prevented him from mentioning Spinoza, to whom he simply referred as quidam (somebody).  


[8-16]   Incidentally Tschirnhaus's visit to London led to a resumption of the correspondence between Oldenburg and Spinoza, which seems to have been dropped since 1665. Spinoza had sent a copy of his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus to Oldenburg, who felt rather shocked by its heterodox views, and expressed himself accordingly in a letter which may not have reached Spinoza, but which, in any case, would probably not have brought about a renewal of their correspondence. The account, however, which Tschirnhaus gave of Spinoza and his views seems to have produced a conciliatory effect on Oldenburg, who thereupon wrote another letter to Spinoza, saying that "a closer consideration of the whole subject had convinced him that he (Spinoza) was far from attempting any injury to true religion and sound philosophy." Spinoza, who had taken no notice of the various "refutations" of his treatise published by various people, was nevertheless anxious to know, and to discuss carefully, the objections which Oldenburg—or, indeed, any reasonable people—had to bring against his views. In the course of his increasingly stiff letters, it turns out that Oldenburg objected to the entire system of Spinoza's philosophy, and that what he wished Spinoza to do was nothing less than to write a kind of philosophic apologetic of orthodox Christianity! Spinoza may well have wondered whether Oldenburg was guilty of stupidity or of hypocrisy.  
 
Page xcii

[8-17]   In the meantime Spinoza had finished his Ethics, and was contemplating its immediate publication. He mentioned this to Oldenburg in a letter written at the end of June 1675. Oldenburg replied that he "will not object to receiving a few copies of the said treatise "to dispose of among his friends, but asked him to send them in such a way that no one may know of it, and begged him "not to insert any passages which may seem to discourage the practice of religion and virtue."

[8-18]   About the end of July 1676 Spinoza went to Amsterdam to arrange for the publication of the Ethica. What happened there is best told in Spinoza's own words. "While I was negotiating [he writes to Oldenburg] a rumour gained currency that I had in the press a book concerning God, wherein I endeavoured to show that there is no God. This report was believed by many. Thereupon certain theologians, perhaps the authors of the rumour, took occasion to complain of me before the Prince and the Magistrates. Moreover, the stupid Cartesians, being suspected of favouring me, endeavoured to remove the aspersion by abusing everywhere my opinions and writings, a course which they still pursue. When I became aware of this through trustworthy men, who also assured me that the theologians were everywhere lying in wait for me, I determined to put off publishing till I saw how things were going .... But matters seem to get worse and worse, and I am still uncertain what to do."

[8-19]   Oldenburg must have felt intensely relieved by the news that the publication of the Ethica had been indefinitely postponed. The poor man had changed indeed. In his early days, hearing of Spinoza's hesitation to publish the equally unorthodox Short Treatise, he had begged Spinoza to ignore the "petty theologians" and to publish. "Come, good sir [he then said], cast away all fear of exciting against you the pigmies of our time. Long enough have we sacrificed Page xciii to ignorance and pedantry. Let us spread the sails of true knowledge, and explore the recesses of nature more thoroughly than heretofore." He had grown nervous, almost stupidly nervous, since then. It must be remembered, however, that he had learned an unpleasant lesson in the Tower of London, in 1667, that he was never really a profound thinker, and that his environment, though scientific, was none too enlightened. Robert Boyle, for instance, regarded his escape from a certain thunderstorm as due to miraculous interposition, and one may well believe that he had strange opinions about the author of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, as Tschirnhaus relates. Perhaps it was this very treatise (coupled with "the shades of doubt which," as he confessed, "did sometimes cross his mind") that first suggested to him the idea of founding the Boyle Lectures for the vindication of Christianity. And Oldenburg was sufficiently under the influence of Boyle not only to suspect Spinoza's philosophy, which was defensible enough, but even to suspect his motives, which was quite indefensible, and which Spinoza certainly resented.

[8-20]   The Ethica, then, had to be laid aside, and it was not destined to be published during the author's lifetime. Spinoza now applied himself to the other writings, which have already been enumerated above. The Tractatus Politicus must have engaged most of his attention and interest. From one point of view it was a fine tribute to the memory of that eminent statesman Jan de Witt, whose conduct of affairs received here its fullest philosophical justification. Moreover that liberal régime was rapidly passing away, as Spinoza had good reason to know. The Dutch had arrived at the parting of the ways, and showed a marked tendency to leave the republican highway for the path of monarchy. Like Samuel of old, he was determined solemnly to warn his countrymen. But, above all, he wanted to set before them a vivid exposition of the great principles of all true statesmanship, Page xciv the supreme ideal of all statecraft. That ideal was the perfection of the individual citizen. This was only attainable where there was security and freedom. And the supreme duty of the State was to secure these two conditions. Democracy was the best form of government. The ideal however, may also be approached under other forms ot government. But whatever the external form may be (and Spinoza must have realised his country's almost irrevocable drift towards monarchy), let not the true ideal be forgotten. The Political Treatise was the "Ethical Will and Testament" which Spinoza left for his country; and it was a dying hand that wrote it, too late to finish it.

[8-21]   Four months before his death Spinoza made the personal acquaintance of Leibniz. About eight years before that already Leibniz had read Spinoza's version of Descartes' Principia, and in 1671 he had sent him a copy of his "Notice of the Progress of Optics." In return Spinoza sent him a copy of his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. This book was already known to Leibniz, and had been described by him as "an unbearably free-thinking book." But he did not know till then who its author was, nor did his teacher, Professor Thomas, who had written a "refutation" of it. Leibniz wanted to communicate his discovery to his teacher, without, however, disclosing more than his diplomacy dictated. "The author of the book," he wrote, "is Benedict Spinoza, a Jew (my Dutch friends write me word) expelled from the Synagogue for his monstrous opinions, but a man of universal learning, and especially eminent in Optics, and in the construction of very fine telescopes." In 1675 Leibniz was in Paris, and there he met Tschirnhaus, who had read a manuscript copy of Spinoza's Ethics and now communicated some of Spinoza's views to Leibniz. Leibniz grew eager to read the Ethics for himself, and Tschirnhaus wrote to Dr. Schuller to obtain Spinoza's permission to show Leibniz a copy of the Ethics. But Page xcv Spinoza declined. He had no faith in Leibniz, and his distrust was not unfounded. "What [asked Spinoza] takes Leibniz away from Frankfort, and what is he doing in Paris?" Spinoza had reason to suspect that Leibniz was on a mission for the reunion of Protestants and Catholics, which would lead to a joint effort to repress all liberal tendencies, and to suppress freedom of thought and speech, which were so near to his heart. Leibniz's attitude towards these things was certainly unlike Spinoza's, and his subsequent behaviour towards Spinoza rather justified that instinctive distrust with which Spinoza at first met him. But when Leibniz came to the Hague, in the autumn of 1676, Spinoza's distrust and reserve vanished. Leibniz frequently visited Spinoza in his humble lodgings, and there (as he himself has left on record) "conversed with him often and at great length." He also obtained a first-hand knowledge of Spinoza's Ethics then. During the years which followed Leibniz devoted close attention to the philosophy of Spinoza, and even assimilated some of his ideas, but there was a remarkable lack of common generosity, not to say common honesty, both in the way in which he generally avoided all reference to Spinoza, and also in the tone of his remarks when on rare occasions he did refer to him.

[8-22]   Spinoza's days were ending fast. Dr. Schuller, writing to Leibniz on the 6th February, 1677, expresses his fear that Spinoza would not remain much longer among them, as his consumption was growing worse from day to day. He was only forty-four years of age, but his constitution was enfeebled through hereditary consumption, aggravated by the glass-dust from the lenses, and the sedentary habits of the student. And he had lived strenuous days. To the very last he was up and doing. On Saturday afternoon the 20th February 1677, he was still downstairs chatting with the Van der Spycks. But he had already sent for Dr. Schuller, and retired early to bed. On the Sunday morning Dr. Schuller Page xcvi arrived. Spinoza was up, and at midday had some chicken-broth which the doctor had ordered for him. There seemed to be no immediate danger, and the Van der Spycks went to church in the afternoon. On their way home they were informed that Spinoza was no more. He had passed away at three o'clock, in the presence of Dr. Schuller.

[8-23]   Four days later Spinoza was buried in the New Church on the Spuy, which is quite near to the Paviljoensgragt. Six coaches followed the cortege, and many prominent people followed him to his last resting-place, which was close to that of Jan de Witt. Of wordly possessions he left very little behind him, and that chiefly in the way of books. Dr. Schuller took possession of some of the most valuable of these, and even then there still remained about 160 works (some of them quite costly), the list of which has fortunately been preserved; and copies of nearly all of them are now in the Spinoza Museum at Rijnsburg. The proceeds of these, and of some lenses which he also left behind, were just enough to defray all his debts and the cost of burial—though his grave was but a hired grave, and was used again some years after his death.

[8-24]   In accordance with Spinoza's instructions, his desk, containing the manuscripts of his unpublished works, was entrusted to the care of Jan Rieuwertsz, the Amsterdam bookseller. Immediate publication seemed to be dangerous for publisher and editors; and when they had the courage they had not the money to proceed with the printing. For a time they thought of selling the manuscript of the Ethica to Leibniz, intending no doubt to apply the proceeds towards the cost of printing it from one of their own copies of that work. Schuller had already communicated with Leibniz about it, but at the last moment some one at the Hague came to the rescue, and as early as November 1677 Spinoza's Opera Posthuma appeared in print. It consisted of one quarto {A book size of about 9 ½ x 12 in. (24 x 30 cm), determined by folding printed sheets twice to form four leaves or eight pages. Symbol: 4to, 4°.} volume, and contained the Ethics, the Political Treatise, the Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding, the Letters, Page xcvii  and the Hebrew Grammar. All names and other means of identification had been carefully removed from the correspondence; the editors' names, as also the name of the publisher and the place of publication were not given; and only the initials of Spinoza (B. D. S.) appeared on the title-page. The editors were Jelles (who appears to have written the Preface), Meyer, and Schuller; and the editorial work seems to have been carried on secretly in one of the rooms of the Orphan Asylum, which had just been established in Amsterdam by some of Spinoza's Collegiant friends. It was at this Orphan Asylum (which is still in existence) that some of the originals of Spinoza's letters were subsequently discovered, with editorial pencil-notes on them.

[8-25]   Two hundred years later a remarkable contrast to this secrecy was witnessed, when the whole learned world joined in celebrating the memory of Spinoza. In 1880 his statue was erected in the Hague {Bx.XXIII:xcxvii}, within view of both houses where he had lived his last years. And a new, complete edition of his works was published in 1882, containing a portrait especially engraved from the painting in the library at Wolfenbüttel, where Lessing, poet, philosopher, and champion of the ill-used, had, nearly a century before that, taken the first steps towards the due recognition of Spinoza. The tribute paid to his memory was world-wide; and it was well deserved. For there is considerable truth in Heine's witty saying that "all our modern philosophers, though often perhaps unconsciously, see through the glasses which Baruch Spinoza ground."
 

§9. THE CHARACTER OF SPINOZA
 


[9-1]   In attempting to form an estimate of the character of Spinoza, one should be guided by what is actually known about him from the direct evidence of those who knew him personally. There is a natural temptation to judge his Page xcviii personality by deductions from his views as seen through one's own spectacles. But it is not too much to say that, of the two alternative courses, it is far more safe to interpret the philosophy of Spinoza in the light of what is independently known about his life and character than to estimate his character in the light of certain deductions from an independent interpretation of his views. During his lifetime Spinoza was often condemned and vilified on the score of his opinions, and on account of defects which, it was tacitly assumed, these revealed in his character. There is reason to believe that, but for his death, Spinoza's fate might have been very much like that of Koerbagh. After his death, it was considered a crime to say anything good about Spinoza, and for more than a century afterwards his name was anathema maranatha. Even people who were not too sensitive to his criticism of the Bible felt that a man who maintained the relativity of good and evil, and believed in universal necessity, had no incentive to be good, and, therefore, was very likely bad. Such an interpretation and deduction were, to say the least, very one-sided, and, towards the end of the eighteenth century, its absurdity was exposed by the no less one-sided view which, by laying exclusive stress on "the intellectual love of G-D" and kindred doctrines of Spinoza, transformed him into a "G-D-intoxicated" saint. 

[9-2]   If we turn to the main facts of Spinoza's life, and to the recorded judgments of the people who knew him personally, there can be no doubt that Spinoza, though not a saint in the accepted sense of the expression, was certainly one of the finest characters of which the history of philosophy can boast. The dominant feature in his character was his devotion to the pursuit of truth. For it he was ever ready to make all sacrifices. Neither bribes nor threats could in any way seduce him from that pursuit. And he readily sacrificed his personal comfort in order that he might have money for books, and time for study. To him the pursuit Page xcix of truth was no mere pastime or trade—it was the true life of man. One might almost say that it constituted the religion of Spinoza. Yet he was no mere intellectualist. If his devotion to knowledge reminds one of the striking utterances of his great medieval kinsman, Maimonides (whose Guide of the Perplexed Spinoza read and possessed), his moral earnestness re-echoes something of the voice of the Prophets. Nothing offended him more than the suggestion that his views tended to discourage the practice of virtue; nothing outraged him more than the reading of Homo Politicus, a book in which, from apparently Spinozistic principles, maxims were deduced for the most selfish and immoral conduct. Again and again he insisted on absolute purity of motive even in the communication of views which he regarded as absolutely true. When sending his Short Treatise to his Amsterdam friends he begs of them to be sure that nothing but the good of their neighbours will ever induce them to communicate its doctrines to others. And it was out of considerateness for his fellow-men that he tried, as far as possible, not to unsettle their religious beliefs {a little story}. He assured the Van der Spycks that their religion was quite good, and that they need have no misgivings whatever so long as their conduct was good and upright. Good conduct and pure motives, these were the most essential things, and, devoted as he was to truth, he maintained that Turks and heathens who did their duty and loved their fellow-men were filled with the spirit of Christ, whom Spinoza regarded as the highest type of manhood {as a model of human potential}. Even in the professed polemic of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus he passes by without criticism the less harmful of orthodox doctrines, although he disagreed with them. But there was no duplicity about him; when men of education invited his views on some of these very doctrines (such as the divinity of Christ) he did not mince matters, but expressed his views without {??} any equivocation. His means for active benevolence Page c were not great. Still what little he possessed was at the service of his friends. When informed that a considerable sum of money, which he had lent in this way, was lost, he merely remarked quietly, and with a smile, that he would have to draw in his expenses for the future. Wealth and position had no undue attraction for him. He would not for their sake bind or blind his judgment by accepting the Heidelberg professorship, or even appear to do so by paying a formal compliment to a monarch whose aims and methods he condemned. In this respect he stood head and shoulders above some of his most eminent contemporaries in the world of science. But though of an independent spirit he was neither proud nor cold and reserved. He met half-way, and more, all people who offered him their friendship. He showed wonderful patience with the most mediocre people who turned to him with their difficulties; and he was kindly to the humblest. Amid all the accusations brought against Spinoza, no specific charge was ever made against his moral character. It was always his heretical views, and his character as deduced a priori from these views by the ingenuity of "learned parsons," that were flung at his head. This is remarkable in itself, and is amply confirmed by Colerus, the Lutheran pastor, who, though he considered Spinoza's heresies to be abominable and most outrageous, has nevertheless made it perfectly clear that Spinoza's morals were unassailable. The peasants at Rijnsburg and Voorburg, we are expressly told, agreed that he was "a man whom it was good to know, kind, upright, obliging, and of good morals." People of culture felt a peculiar charm in his presence, and men of his own age, and even older men, looked upon him with the respect of disciples. We have seen already what impression he made on Oldenburg and the Seigneur de St. Evremont when they came into personal touch with him. The account which we have from Dr. Lucas, who knew Spinoza intimately in the Hague, breathes Page ci a spirit of the utmost veneration. And many who have only read his writings have felt themselves in the presence of an uncommon moral atmosphere of utter unselfishness and disinterestedness, and a boundless faith in human goodness.

[9-3]   Spinoza was not a saint. He did not believe in turning the cheek to the smiter. Nor was he so other-worldly as to despise the world and the flesh. He could say hard things against insolent ignoramuses and heretic-hunters; he never quite forgot the wrong done to him by his kinsmen and his tribe; and, in the heat of conflict, he even forgot to pause for a moment in order to acknowledge some of the merits of the Law and the Prophets. He was human, and was influenced by emotions to a far greater extent than is supposed by those who exaggerate his intellectualism, because they deduce his character from certain aspects of his philosophy. He could be angry with immorality and intolerance, and he felt injured by unmerited suspicion. He laughed to see divines excel the devil by their wiles; and he wept over the tragic fate of the de Witts. He was not even an ascetic. Though extraordinarily abstemious in his mode of life—living on a few pence a day and with a pipe for his only luxury—this was mainly due to his circum- stances. His desire for independence and his devotion to books made it impossible for him to earn sufficient to indulge in the ordinary comforts of life, and so abstemiousness gradually became a habit with him. But he had no contempt for the reasonable pleasures or joys of life.
"I enjoy life [he wrote] and try to live it, not in sorrow and sighing, but in peace, joy, and cheerfulness." And those who knew him have confirmed the truth of this. He could not understand how any one could find, or imagine that G-D would find, any virtue in sighs and tears, and the like. "Nothing [he insists] but a gloomy and sad superstition forbids enjoyment'' Indeed, what he had, in the first instance, sought in philosophy was guidance in the attainment of Page cii happiness {better PcM} . It was not, as in the case of Descartes, discontent with the then state of knowledge that drove him to philosophy, but discontent with the ordinary pursuits and pleasures of life, because they failed to bring abiding happiness. This is evident from the opening passage of his Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding, already quoted above. He had turned to philosophy for guidance in the pursuit of happiness, and found his happiness in the pursuit of philosophy.

[9-4]   On the other hand, there was certainly something of the higher mysticism about Spinoza. It would be a mistake to empty his religious terminology {Endnote 4-3a} of all its religious meaning. We are trenching here on a difficult question of interpretation, and we do not wish to dogmatise. Still it should not be forgotten that, though convinced of the truth of his philosophy, Spinoza was far from supposing that it was the whole truth. There were but few things, even in the world of extension and thought, of which he professed to have the highest kind of knowledge; while, besides extension and thought, there were infinite aspects of the universe (or attributes of substance) of which he avowedly had no knowledge whatever. He felt more than he saw. And though he loved to live in the clear, common light of day, and hated the bigotry and superstition that lurk in the shadows of the twilight, yet he felt the glow of the presence that dwells in the setting sun {Isaac Bashevis Singer}, even if he was not absorbed in visions of a light that never shone on land or sea. It was something of this mystic feeling that prompted his religious language, and gave to his personality that charm which won all who came near him. It also won for him the sympathy of poets like Goethe and Lessing, Coleridge and Wordsworth, just as his calm scientific outlook has made him a favourite with men of science. His moral ardour seems almost aglow with this mystic fire, and, if we may not call him a priest of the most high G-D, yet he was certainly a prophet of the power which makes for righteousness.
 


Page ciii

HISTORY OF THE SHORT TREATISE
 

§H1. THE DISCOVERY OF THE MANUSCRIPTS
 

[H1-1]   THE Short Treatise was not published in the lifetime of Spinoza, nor was it included in the Opera Posthuma published in November 1677, shortly after the death of Spinoza. The writer of the Preface to the Opera Posthuma does not even refer to it specifically. He alludes to the essay On the Rainbow, of which he appears to have been unable to obtain a copy, and which he believed to have been burned by Spinoza. But, for the rest, he simply remarks in a general sort of way that "although it is credible that some work of our philosopher [Spinoza] may still be in the possession of somebody or other without his knowledge, it may nevertheless be assumed that nothing will be found therein which is not already given repeatedly in these writings," that is, in the Ethics, the Political Treatise, the Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding, the Correspondence, and the Hebrew Grammar, which between them constituted the Opera Posthuma. Thus no reference is made to the Short Treatise even as a possibly lost work of Spinoza. On the other hand, it should be remembered that to the editors of the Opera Posthuma, as indeed to Spinoza himself, the Short Treatise appeared to have been superseded by the Ethics. Hence the silence about the Short Treatise may not be so strange after all, and one should not attach too much importance to it. A report dating from 1703, the truth of which there is no reason to doubt, tends to show that J. Rieuwertsz (junior), the publisher of the Opera Posthuma, Page civ actually possessed a manuscript copy of what is now called the Short Treatise, but which was then not unnaturally regarded simply as an early draft of the Ethics.

[H1-2]   In 1703, Gottlieb Stolle (1673-1744)—a Silesian who was appointed Professor of Political Science at Jena in 1717—and a Dr. Hallmann travelled through Holland, where they interviewed various people who had known Spinoza. Among others they saw Rieuwertsz at Amsterdam. Rieuwertsz gave them some personal reminiscences of Spinoza, for whom (so they relate) he showed uncommon affection, and, with tears in his eyes, wished that Spinoza were still alive. Rieuwertsz also showed them several manuscripts of Spinoza's works, and among them was one apparently written in Spinoza's own handwriting. This (according to Hallmann) was no other than Spinoza's first, Dutch version of the Ethica; it was quite different from the published Ethica—not worked out in the geometric method, but in the ordinary way, and divided into chapters, like the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus; Rieuwertsz assured them that the printed Ethica was very much better than this manuscript version, though the latter contained some things which were omitted from the former, notably the chapter {28} on the Devil. Several friends of Spinoza, said Rieuwertsz, had copies of that manuscript, which had never been printed because the Latin version, which had been published, was altogether superior and had been well edited. The story is not altogether free from difficulties. But it undoubtedly gives us an explicit reference to the so-called Short Treatise. Stolle and Hallmann's account of their travels, written in 1704, was not published till 1847, (Extracts from Stolle-Haumann's Reisebeschreibung are given in Freudenthal's Die Lebsensgeschichte Spinozas, pp. 221 ff.) but Stolle repeated his information about the Short Treatise in his Brief Introduction to the History of Learning, which was published in 1718. The story about the Dutch Ethics and the chapter on the Devil was repeated by Page cv J. F. Reimmann (1668 -1743) in his Catalogue of Theological Books, which was published in 1731, also by J. C. Mylius in his Library of Anonymous and Pseudonymous Authors, which was published in 1740. These notices, however, do not seem to have attracted any attention. Spinoza had such an evil reputation among respectable scholars (including Stolle and Reimmann) that there was no anxiety to discover or recover any of his unpublished works, the published ones being considered more than enough. In the latter half of the eighteenth century we observe, indeed, some signs of an active interest in Spinoza remains. C.T. de Murr, of Nürnberg, visited Holland in search of Spinoza relics. He brought back with him a Latin manuscript copy of Spinoza's notes to the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, and a report that Spinoza's Ethica was originally written in Dutch and contained a chapter on the Devil, that he then translated it into Latin, throwing it at the same time into geometric form, owing to which and other alterations it was retranslated from the Latin into Dutch by Jarig Jelles. For about a century the matter rested there.

[H1-3]   In 1851 Edward Boehmer, Professor of Philosophy at Halle, went to Holland, also in search of Spinoza rarities. At Amsterdam he bought from F. Müller, a well-known bookseller there, a copy of the Life of Spinoza by Colerus. Section 12 of Colerus' Life of Spinoza {BK.XII:424} treats very briefly of the philosopher's unpublished writings, and Boehmer's copy had a manuscript note (in Dutch) to this section, saying that among certain votaries of philosophy there was still extant, in manuscript, a treatise of Spinoza, which treats of the same subjects as the printed Ethica, though not in the geometric method, and that its style and general drift show it to be one of the earliest of Spinoza's writings, in fact the first draft of the Ethica, and for some people less obscure than this, just because it is not cast in the geometric form, except to a very small extent in the Page cvi Appendix to the treatise. And at the end of the same copy of Colerus' Life of Spinoza there actually followed a fairly complete analysis of the Short Treatise, chapter by chapter, and written in the same hand as the note to section 12. Boehmer published his Benedicti de Spinoza Tractatus de Deo et Homine ejusque Felicitate Lineamenta in 1852, and a new impetus was given to the search for the Short Treatise. Not long afterwards a manuscript copy {codex B} of the Short Treatise itself came to light. F. Müller, the same bookseller from whom Boehmer had got his copy of the Colerus, bought this manuscript of the Short Treatise at an auction. And while Dr. J. van Vloten was preparing to publish it together with some Spinoza letters, which had been discovered at the Collegiant Orphan Asylum in Amsterdam, a second (and older) manuscript {codex A} of the Short Treatise was discovered. The poet, Adrian Bogaers, of Rotterdam, found it among his books. This (the older) manuscript is generally referred to as codex A, the other as codex B. The first edition of the Short Treatise was published, in 1862, by Dr. J. van Vloten in his Ad Benedicti de Spinoza Opera quae Supersunt Omnia Supplementurn. It was based on both the manuscripts, and was accompanied by a Latin translation. A more careful edition of codex A was published in 1869 by Professor C. Schaarschmidt, of Bonn, and also by Van Vloten and Land in their editions of the complete works of Spinoza (1882, 1895.) Both manuscripts are now in the Royal Library at the Hague.
 

§H2. THE HISTORY OF THE MANUSCRIPTS
 


[H2-1]   When Codex B was discovered it was found that the handwriting was the same as that of the notes and "outline" in Boehmer's copy of Colerus' Life of Spinoza, and Page cix Dr. Antonius van der Linde had already shown that the handwriting in Boehmer's Colerus was precisely the same as that of various manuscripts which were known to have been copied by Johannes Monnikhoff, an Amsterdam doctor who was born in 1707 and died in 1787. Preceding the Short Treatise in codex B is a long introduction in which reference is made to the year 1743, so that this copy could not have been written before then. The same codex also contains, at the end, Notes to the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, all of them in the same handwriting. The Introduction seems to be the composition of Monnikhoff, while the Short Treatise and the Notes were evidently copied by him. That the handwriting is that of Monnikhoff is certain from the fact that several manuscripts, at the Hague Library, written in exactly the same hand have introductions which are signed by him. We reproduce from one of these manuscripts a facsimile of some verses signed by Johannes Monnikhoff {opposite Page cix}, for comparison with the facsimiles of several pages from codex B. According to F. Müller, the bookseller who discovered it, codex B of the Short Treatise accompanied a Dutch manuscript translation of Spinoza's version of Descartes' Principia. But of this there is no sign in the parchment-bound quarto volume which contains simply an Introduction on the life and writings of Spinoza, the Short Treatise, and the Notes to the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus—no more. On the back of the volume, however, the title is obviously incomplete. It says

Benedictus   
Posthumous

and there is evidently missing a second volume having on its back the rest of the whole title, namely:

Benedictus   |  De Spinoza
Posthumous |  Works            


Page cx This is highly probable, because in another two-volume manuscript copied also by Monnikhoff the title of the work is similarly spread over the backs of the two volumes. And it is possible that the missing volume may have contained the Principia, or perhaps some other work, since the Principia was already published, in Dutch as well as in Latin. The Introduction in codex B, it is interesting to note, gives also a summary of the Short Treatise which is practically identical with the "Outline" in Boehmer's copy of Colerus.

[H2-2]   Codex A is a much thicker quarto volume, and contains the Short Treatise, the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, and the Notes to it, all in Dutch, but the Notes are not in the same handwriting as the rest of the volume. A is evidently older than B, as may be seen from the very handwriting, which belongs to the seventeenth century, and is much more faded. Moreover, even a cursory inspection reveals the fact that the writer who had copied B had also been busy with A, which contains numerous, though mostly unimportant, additions in the same handwriting as B. For instance, at the beginning of the whole volume there is the following title-page in Monnikhoff's writing—


[H2-3]   Separate title-pages in the same writing also precede the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus and the Notes. Again, following the Table of Contents, there is a portrait of Spinoza apparently inserted there by Monnikhoff, who may have taken it from a copy of the 1677 edition of the Opera Posthuma, and facing it (on the left) are some well-meaning Page cxv lines on the portrait, (Reproductions of the portrait and the verses are given at the commencement of the Translation (inserted between pp. l0 and 11).) and both the writing and the thought are extremely like those of the other verses signed by Monnikhoff, of which a facsimile has already been given. There are also numerous page-headings, chapter-headings, and cross-references in Monnikhoff's writing. Occasionally he also inserted a word in the text, or recopied an illegible note, as may be seen from the accompanying facsimile {Pages cxii & cxiii}, where the illegible marginal note in the original handwriting is seen crossed out and rewritten by Monnikhoff as a foot-note. The corresponding passage from Codex B is also reproduced for comparison.

[H2-4]   It is clear, therefore, that codex A is older than B, and that the copyist who wrote out B also knew and used A. But when and by whom was A written? The writing, as already remarked, belongs to the seventeenth century. But it was certainly not written out by Spinoza himself. This is obvious already from the title-page, where we are distinctly told (in the same writing as the bulk of the manuscript) that the Short Treatise was originally composed in Latin, and that it was translated for some of Spinoza's disciples; and the whole tone of this title-page (or preface, as it might be called) is very unlike what we should expect from Spinoza. Moreover, a reference to Spinoza's autograph (see p. lx.) is quite conclusive on this point. It has been suggested that codex A was copied by William Deurhoff (?1650 -1717), a Dutch theologian and a Cartesian. This suggestion derived considerable plausibility from the fact that the fairly numerous other manuscripts copied by Monnikhoff were all of them the works of Deurhoff—Monnikhoff's signed verses, already given above, actually occur in one such manuscript, and face a portrait of Deurhoff. It seems, therefore, not unnatural to suppose that Monnikhoff copied codex B from Page cxvi A, largely because this was in Deurhoff's handwriting. A comparison with Deurhoff's authentic handwriting is, unfortunately, impossible. The only authentic autograph of Deurhoff that has been discovered so far consists of his signature, written in 1685, and this seems to be insufficient to go upon with certainty. Dr. W. Meyer, who has seen the signature, thinks that it rather tends to disprove the conjecture that A was copied by Deurhoff. And the tone of the Preface on the title-page of A is also unfavourable to it, because Deurhoff had no such admiration for Spinoza. On the other hand, it may be reasonably supposed that codex A was the property of Deurhoff, and that Monnikhoff obtained it from him.

[H2-5]   Dr. W. Meyer has made the interesting suggestion that codex A was originally the property of Jarig Jelles—perhaps the very copy of the translations which he himself had obtained of the Short Treatise and the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. Jarig Jelles was one of the oldest and warmest friends of Spinoza, and had defrayed the cost of publishing Spinoza's version of Descartes' Principia, both the Latin and the Dutch versions. Jelles, who was a spice merchant, did not know Latin, and it may have been he who persuaded Pieter Balling to translate Spinoza's Principia into Dutch for that reason. It would appear that he also had the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus translated into Dutch, and that he was about to have it published in 167I. For, in a letter addressed to Jelles in that year, Spinoza begs him to prevent the publication of the Dutch translation of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, as it might lead to the prohibition even of the Latin edition. Accordingly, no Dutch translation of this treatise appeared till 1693, and then another followed in 1694. Now the Dutch version of the Theologico-Political Treatise which is contained in codex A is not identical with either of these two other translations, and it is most probably earlier than 1694, because a new translation would hardly Page cxvii be made after two others had already been published. Codex A, moreover, bears some evidence of intended publication. Dr. W. Meyer, therefore, suggests that the Dutch version which is contained in A is the very same which was about to be published in 167I, but was kept back at Spinoza's request. And since the Short Treatise is in the same handwriting, and to judge by the preface seems also to have been intended for publication, Dr. Meyer supposes that Jelles had this also translated into Dutch, and that he intended to publish it together with the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. He even conjectures that the translations were made by Dr. Lodewijk Meyer; but there is no real evidence of this.

[H2-6]   One is inclined to ask whether codex A may not be identical with the manuscript which Rieuwertsz is reported to have shown to Stolle and Hallmann in I703. But the terms of the report make it uncertain whether that manuscript purported to be in Spinoza's own handwriting or in that of the bookseller's father. And, in any case, the statement, in the preface on the title- page, that the Short Treatise was originally written in Latin, could scarcely have escaped their eyes, and, since they undoubtedly report that the manuscript was in Dutch just as Spinoza had at first composed it, the probability is that it was a different copy which they then saw. There is no doubt, however, that manuscript copies of the Short Treatise were extant, among various friends and readers of Spinoza, at the end of the seventeenth century, and codex A is most likely one of these manuscripts.

[H2-7]   Both A and B, however, purport to be only translations, or copies of a translation, from the Latin, and not copies of a Dutch original. This is also confirmed by an examination of the text of the manuscripts, which contains various mistakes that can only be explained on the supposition that they are mistranslations from the Latin. Some of these will be indicated in the notes.
Page cxviii
[H2-8]   Again, codex A cannot be the original copy even of a translation, because it contains several mistakes which can only be accounted for on the supposition that they are misreadings of Dutch words, writing (for example) alderwijste (wisest) where the context requires aldervrijste (freest). And codex B has far too much in common with A to be regarded, with any plausibility, as giving an independent translation of the Short Treatise. Prima facie the most plausible supposition is that A is itself a copy of an older manuscript, and that B is more or less a copy of A, and this suggestion is in large measure also confirmed by more internal evidence.

 §H3. THE TWO MANUSCRIPTS COMPARED


[H3-1]   In the main, both manuscripts give practically the same translation of the Short Treatise, although there are numerous minor differences, most of which are indicated in the present translation. In neatness of appearance and smoothness of expression B is very much superior to A. In A notes and additions to the text are found sometimes all round the page—top and bottom, and to the left and right of the text. Sometimes it is difficult to know which, is meant to be text and which is meant to be the note. In B, on the other hand, the arrangement is perfectly clear and neat. Similar differences show themselves in the composition of the two manuscripts. In A the punctuation is sometimes absolutely barbarous—there are whole strings of colons and semi-colons, bringing together ideas which have no real connection, while at other times full-stops disconnect what should have been connected. Occasionally also the trouble of translating technical expressions seems to be shirked, and they are simply given in their Latin form. All or nearly all such barbarisms are absent from Page cxix B—the punctuation is quite normal, and it generally translates into Dutch, and does not simply reproduce, such expressions as a priori, a posteriori, attributum, essentia, idea, &c. Again, in A the second part of the Short Treatise has numerous marginal summaries of the text, in addition to the explanatory notes; B omits nearly all these marginal summaries, and also some of the notes. Apart from these relatively external differences between the two codices, there are also more important differences between them. A often has a sentence or an expression which B omits; on the other hand, there are only a comparatively few cases in which B has any important sentence or expression which A has not. Again, A has numerous mistakes which are not found in B; on the other hand, there are extremely few instances in which a passage is given correctly in A and wrongly in B. Illustrations of all this will be found in the accompanying translation and notes, though the punctuation had to be somewhat improved occasionally. But such, in general terms, is the relation between the two manuscripts of the Short Treatise.

[H3-2]   What may reasonably be deduced from the above facts? Some (Schaarschmidt, for instance) are inclined to minimise the differences between A and B, and suggest that the improvements on A in B were made more or less arbitrarily by Monnikhoff, who had no other manuscript before him except A, and that he was guided simply by his own common sense or fastidious taste, as the case may be, in making the numerous alterations in his own copy. A great many of the differences between A and B might certainly be accounted for in this way. Sigwart, however, maintains that it is scarcely possible to account for all the differences that way; and he inclines to the belief (rightly, we think) that Monnikhoff had some other manuscripts (This hypothetical third MS. is generally called C.) besides A, which enabled him to make so many improvements Page cxx on A. It seems clear, however, that the suggested other manuscript (if Monnikhoff really had another to consult) could not have been the original Latin manuscript or a copy of it, because some of his mistakes would have been impossible in that case. Nor, in all probability, was it even an independent Dutch translation of the original, because in that case B would most likely not have had so very much in common with A as it actually has. That Monnikhoff might have consulted another Dutch manuscript of the Short Treatise (besides A) seems likely from the fact that Rieuwertsz, for instance, had such another Dutch manuscript (as Hallmann reports), and there may have been also others in Amsterdam, where Monnikhoff lived. At the same time, it is just possible that Monnikhoff had only codex A before him, and that his own critical insight enabled him to make the various corrections and improvements.
 

§H4. THE COMPONENT PARTS OF THE SHORT TREATISE


[H4-1]   Even a cursory examination of the Short Treatise show that it is not a homogeneous whole, but a complex of part in which a closer scrutiny reveals different strata of thought representing different stages of development. Comparatively external differences suffice to enable us to distinguish four separate parts in the Short Treatise, namely:

[H4-2]   It may be remarked at once that no one seriously doubts that the Short Treatise as a whole is the work of Page cxxi Spinoza. The only portions the authenticity of which may be doubted are some of the notes. Many of the notes to Part II. in A are evidently mere marginal summaries which were not made by Spinoza, and nearly all of them were omitted by Monnikhoff, no doubt for this very reason. They have also been omitted from all the published editions and translations of the Short Treatise. Some of the remaining notes (or additions) are also probably from some other hand than Spinoza's, and so is the preface on the title-page of A. Most of the long notes, however, are certainly Spinoza's own, and Monnikhoff says so expressly on the extra title-page which he wrote in codex A (which has already been cited above), while the "Outline" in Boehmer's Colerus states explicitly that Spinoza had added notes in further explanation and elaboration of his views. And the rest of the Short Treatise is Spinoza's beyond a doubt. The above-mentioned traditions about his Dutch Ethics with a chapter on the Devil, and passages in his letters, to which we shall refer when we try to determine the date of its composition, sufficiently confirm the authorship of Spinoza which is claimed on the title-page of both the manuscripts.

[H4-3]   But, though Spinoza wrote the whole of the Short Treatise (excepting the suspicious notes) as we now have it, he evidently did not write it all at the same time. What we have before us is a first draft together with successive attempts to correct, or supplement, or reconcile various parts of it. The bulk of the text represents that first draft. The chapters are strung together more or less loosely; inconsistencies of thought or of expression are not yet removed. Some of the so-called notes or marginal additions are really new versions of the corresponding text, which Spinoza apparently meant to rewrite. They often represent a distinct advance in thought, bridging over the gulf between the text of the Treatise and the Ethics. The Dialogues Page cxxii elaborate special points, while assuming what has already been explained in other parts of the Treatise. Like the first Appendix, they also represent an experiment in the form of exposition. Spinoza evidently realised very quickly that his was not the art of writing Platonic dialogues. The second Appendix is concerned with the elaboration of a special point. The first, as already stated, is an experiment in the geometric form of exposition, and is intimately related to the Ethics. The Treatise shows us Spinoza in his workshop gradually shaping the material for his great edifice. It is, of course, all the more interesting for that. But it is practically impossible to determine precisely the chronological sequence of its parts. At one time it was supposed that the Dialogues were the oldest parts of the Treatise. Freudenthal, however, has shown that they must have been written after the main text of the Treatise because they assume knowledge of various views already explained in other parts of the work. Thus all that may be asserted with confidence is that the notes, the Dialogues, and the Appendices are later than the rest of the Treatise. It is also possible to determine which parts of the work were the last additions. Detailed information relating to these questions will be found in the Commentary. But it is important to note immediately that we are dealing with a book which was never properly prepared for publication, Spinoza having finally determined to recast the exposition of his philosophy in the geometric form, as we have it in the Ethics. The present arrangement of the Treatise is probably due in part to one of his disciples, whose insight was not sufficient to guard him against misplacing some parts, omitting other, and retaining passages which were meant to be discarded. Occasionally also readers' comments seem to have found their way into the text through the copyist's lack of discrimination.
Page cxxiii

§H5. THE ORIGIN AND CHARACTER OF THE SHORT TREATISE


[H5-1]   It is difficult to determine with any precision when the Short Treatise was begun, but it is comparatively easy to determine when it was already completed. About the end of 166I Spinoza wrote to Oldenburg, saying, "as regards your new question, namely, in what manner things began to exist, and what is the bond of dependence between them and the first cause, on this subject, and also on the improvement of the understanding, I have written a complete little treatise, and am at present engaged in copying and improving it. Sometimes, however, I put the work aside, for I am not yet sure about publishing it. I fear lest the theologians of our day should take offence, and, with their usual rancour, attack me, who have an absolute horror of quarrels." It is clear from this that the Treatise on the Improvement o/ the Understanding was already sufficiently advanced for Spinoza to think of its early publication. But this cannot be the only treatise to which Spinoza here refers, because it contains nothing about the origin of things and their dependence on the first cause, with which this little treatise, to which Spinoza refers, is primarily concerned, nor does it contain anything to warrant Spinoza's evident apprehension that it would provoke the rancour of the theologians. Spinoza can only be referring, in this letter, to our Short Treatise, the style and contents of which prove it to be an earlier work than the Treatise on the Improvement o[ the Understanding. The Short Treatise must have been already finished when Spinoza wrote the above letter to Oldenburg, but owing to his recent occupation with Bacon and the question of philosophic method, which he had also discussed with Oldenburg, he seems to have begun the Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding with the Page cxxiv intention of using it as a general introduction to his whole philosophy as contained for the most part in the Short Treatise. The opening passages of the former treatise, already quoted above {see pp. liii. ff}, are hardly appropriate as an introduction to a mere theory of knowledge, they refer rather to philosophy as a whole. Spinoza's growing preference for the geometric method, and his successful experiment in applying it to Descartes' Principia, also the gradual modification of some of his views, soon led him to begin a new exposition of his philosophy, such as he eventually gave in the Ethica. And the Short Treatise thus fell into neglect. But there can be no doubt that it was already completed in 1661, possibly already the year before, if we allow for the Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding, which, though a fragment now and probably even more fragmentary then, must nevertheless have taken him some time to write.

[H5-2]   The main text of the Short Treatise, then, must have been written not later than 1661. It seems equally clear that it could not have been finished before 1660—that is to say, before Spinoza's removal to Rijnsburg. The reason for this suggestion is to be found in the concluding paragraph of the Second Part of the Treatise {ST:29-17}. It is really an epistle addressed to his friends, to whom he is sending the entire manuscript of the Short Treatise (before the Appendices were written). And its tone and contents strongly suggest that it was written to friends at a distance. Who these friends were it is not difficult to conjecture. They were Balling, Jelles, Meyer, and the other members of the philosophical coterie to whom Spinoza subsequently also sent the completed portions of the Ethica in manuscript. His friends, then, were in Amsterdam. Had Spinoza still been living in or near Amsterdam, it would scarcely have been necessary for him to write that exhortation. Page cxxv It must, therefore, have been written when Spinoza had already left Amsterdam and its neighbourhood, and had gone to Rijnsburg. And this happened early in 1660.

[H5-3]   We would maintain, accordingly, that the Short Treatise was not finished before 1660. But, as already suggested, it was probably commenced very much earlier than that. Many or most of its chapters very likely contain the substance of the notes which Spinoza dictated to his disciples while teaching at Amsterdam. This seems to be borne out, to some extent, by a marginal summary at the side of the above-mentioned concluding paragraph of the Treatise. This note seems to have been put there by a disciple of Spinoza, and speaks of the Treatise as having been dictated, while the text says that it was written. Very likely a good portion of the Treatise had actually been dictated to his friends while Spinoza was at Amsterdam, but the completed Treatise must have been sent to them in manuscript from Rijnsburg.

[H5-4]   Avenarius has suggested that the Short Treatise was quite a youthful work; that the Dialogues were written about 1651, and the main text in 1654 or 1655. The suggestion was largely based on the assumption that the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus was finished in 1661 or earlier. But it is known now that Spinoza did not complete it till 1669 or 1670. The comparative immaturity of the Short Treatise as compared with it does not therefore compel us to assume that the Treatise was written long before 1661. And the internal evidence is against such an early date as 1655. The tone of the concluding paragraph of Part II. shows that, when writing it, Spinoza had already acquired a certain authority in a circle of philosophical friends. He could not have written in that strain at the age of 22 or 23. Again, his reference to the "character of the age" seems to Page cxxvi point to his own excommunication as an event in the past. Moreover, the Treatise shows an interest in specific Christian doctrines and their reinterpretation (the son of God, Regeneration, Sin in relation to the Law, and Grace). Spinoza must have been moving for some time in a Christian environment to feel such an interest in problems of Christian theology. The characters he introduces as illustrations bear New Testament names, and he even devotes a chapter to Devils, in whom the Jews took very little interest. All this argues in favour of the supposition that the Short Treatise was not written till some years after Spinoza's severance from the Jewish community (1656). Freudenthal maintains, accordingly, that it must have been composed between 1658 and 1660. With this view we concur, allowing, however, that some of the additions may be later than 1660, while some parts of the Treatise or some of its views may date from before Spinoza's excommunication, because one of the charges already brought against him then was that he had asserted that extension was an attribute of G-D.

[H5-5]   It is interesting to note, in conclusion, that when Spinoza made his literary début he was already a pantheist. His pantheism was not in any sense a development of Cartesianism; he started from it, and at once criticised the Cartesian dualism from that point of view. He probably owed his introduction to pantheistic views partly to Jewish mysticism, with which he must have been made acquainted by Rabbis Morteira and Ben Israel, who were both of them strongly inclined towards mysticism, and partly to Bruno, to whose writings as already suggested, Van den Enden may have directed his attention. The Short Treatise shows also considerable familiarity with, and indebtedness to, the writings of Descartes, as will be shown in the Commentary. But Spinoza is never merely a follower of the Jewish Mystics, or of Bruno, or of Descartes. From the first he Page cxxvii has his own peculiar outlook. From the first he is, so to say, his own architect, though he obtains his bricks from many different quarters.

§H6. LlTERATURE ON THE SHORT TREATISE

A. EDITIONS AND TRANSLATIONS

W. Meyer: Korte Verhandeling (a modern Dutch version; also a new edition of       Boehmer's Lineamenta). Amsterdam, 1899.
C. Schaarschmidt: Benedicti de Spinoza "Korte Verhandeling van God . . ." (Dutch text       and Latin introduction). Amsterdam, 1869.
      Spinoza's Kurzgefasste Abhandung (German translation).
      Third edition, Leipzig, 1907.
C. Sigwart: Spinoza's Kurzer Tractat (German translation with Introduction and Notes).             Freiburg, 1870.
J. Van Vloten: Ad Benedicti de Spinoza Opera . . . Supplementurn (Dutch text with       Latin translation). Amsterdam, 1862.
Van Vloten and Land's edition of Spinoza's complete works gives the text in vol. ii. of the       1882 edition, and in vol. iii. of the 1895 edition.

B.  OTHER WORKS

R. Avenarius: Ueber die beiden ersten Phasen des Spinozischen Pantheismus. Leipzig,       1868.
A. Baltzer: Spinoza's Entwickelungsgang. Kiel, 1888.

E. Boehmer: Benedicti de Spinoza Tractatus de Deo . . . Lineamenta. Halle, I852.
L. Busse: Beiträge zur Entwickelungsgeschichte Spinozas. 1888.
Page cxxviii
J. Freudenthal: Spinoza und die Scholastik (in the "Philosophische Anfsätze" dedicated       to Zeller). Leipzig, 1887.
      Spinozastudien ("Zeitschrift für Philosophie," vols. 108, 109). 1896.
      Ueber die Entwicklung der Lehre vom psychophysischen Parallelismus bei Spinoza       ("Archlv für gesamte Psychologie," ix.). 1907.
C. Gebhardt: Spinozas Abhandlung ueber die Verbesserung des Verstandes. Heidelberg,       1905.
M. Joel: Zur Genesis der Lehre Spinozas. Breslau, 1871.

C. Sigwart: Spinozas neuentdeckter Tractat. Gotha, 1866.
A. Trendelenburg: Ueber die augefundenen Ergänzungen zu Spinozas Werken (in       "Historische Beiträge," vol. iii.). Berlin, 1867.

Various references to the Short Treatise occur also in the following more general works on the life or the philosophy of Spinoza:

R. A. Duff: Spinoza's Political and Ethical Philosophy. Glasgow, 1903.
K. Fischer: Spinoza. 4th ed. Heidelberg, 1898.
J. Freudenthal: Die Lebensgeschichte Spinozas. Leipzig, 1899. Das Leben Spinozas.       Stuttgart, 1904
H. H. Joachim: A Study of the Ethics of Spinoza. Oxford, 1901.
J. Martineau: A Study of Spinoza. 3rd ed. London, 1895.
Sir F. Pollock: Spinoza. 2nd ed. London, 1899. { ? }
E. E. Powell: Spinoza and Religion. Chicago, 1906.

A. Rivaud : Les Notions d'Essence et d'Existence dans la Philosophie de Spinoza. Paris,       1906.
 

Page 4

 [Title-Page in Codex A]

SHORT TREATISE ON GOD, MAN, AND hIs WELL-BEING
 

Previously   written   in   the  Latin  tongue
by   B.D.S.   for   the  use  of  his  disciples
who  wanted  to  devote  themselves to the
study    of   Ethics   and   true   Philosophy.
And   now   translated  into  the  Dutch  lan-
guage  for  the  use  of  the  Lovers of Truth
and   Virtue:   so   that   they  who  spout  so
much   about   it,   and   put   their   dirt  and
filth    into   the   hands   of   simpletons   as
though  it  were  ambergris,   may  just have
their  mouths  stopped,   and  cease  to pro-
 fane    what    they    do    not  understand:
  G-D, themselves, and how to help people
 to have regard for each other's well-
being,  and  how  to  heal those
whose  mind  is  sick,  in  a
 spirit of tenderness and
  tolerance,   after   the
   example of the Lord
   Christ, our best
   Teacher
    
  
 
 


Page 6

 [Title-Page in Codex B ]

ETHICA  OR  MORAL  SCIENCE

COMPOSED IN TWO PARTS

WHICH TREAT

COMPOSED BY

BENEDICTUS   DE   SPINOZA
 
 


TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Codex B has no Table of Contents)

OF THE FOLLOWING TWO BOOKS {of Book XXIII}, NAMELY:
{Compare with that of Book XXII.} 
 

THE FIRST BOOK

TREATING OF G-D AND WHAT PERTAINS TO HIM,
CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING CHAPTERS

THE SECOND BOOK

TREATING OF THE PERFECTION OF MAN SO THAT
HE MAY BE IN A POSITION TO BECOME
UNITED WITH G-D

Spinoza's Portrait in Codex A

  
  
  



JBY Endnotes: 


From Encyclopædia Judaica on a CD-Rom. [Accessed August 29, 2003].
 
WOLF, ABRAHAM (1876–1948),
English philosopher.
 
He was professor of logic and scientific method at University College, London, concurrently lecturing at the London School of Economics and Political Science. From 1931 until his retirement in 1941, he was dean of the faculty of economics and political science at the University of London. He was a member of the editorial board of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and was also the editor of the History of the Sciences Library. His main works deal with logic and scientific method, Spinoza, Nietzsche, and the history of science. He also wrote on higher education in Nazi Germany and in German-occupied countries.

[Samuel Hugo Bergman]
Dr.Phil.; Emeritus Professor of Philosophy,
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Endnote 4-3a--Language of Religion.


                  From Steven Nadler's "Spinoza - A Life"; ISBN: 0521552109; Page 146+2
          Picture

The Jewish Quarter of Amsterdam from a 1625 map.
(Gemeentearchief Amsterdam)
 
 

End


     Since May 8, 2002 hits.