Heresy: Baruch Spinoza

By Steven Nadler

Josh Rolnick, The Sh'ma Institute, April 2010

Nadler defends Baruch Spinoza, whom he calls the most famous heretic in Jewish history. Spinoza was highly critical of Judaism, and for some he is the destroyer of Judaism, an enemy from within; for others, Spinoza is a Jewish hero, the first secular Jew and a thinker who envisioned a liberated and modernized Judaism that does not demand rigorous observance of its laws and rituals. Nadler concludes that, if Spinoza represents anything, it is not, as some have suggested, the prototype of the emancipated secular Jew; rather, it is the first truly secular citizen, someone for whom religious affiliation and loyalty play no role whatsoever in his self-identity. Far from being the means to salvation and blessedness, Spinoza believes that such beliefs represent the most serious obstacle to our highest good.

Topic: History, Religion, Secularism

Name of Publication: Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Ideas

Editor: Berrin, Susan

Volume/Issue: Vol.40/no.669

Page Number(s): 9-10

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Nadler, Steven. Heresy: Baruch Spinoza. Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Ideas. Josh Rolnick, The Sh'ma Institute. April 2010: 9-10. http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=7909


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