By Daniel B. Schwartz
Pioneering biblical critic, theorist of democracy, and mythical conflater of God and nature, Jewish thinker Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) was once excommunicated via the Sephardic Jews of Amsterdam in 1656 for his "horrible heresies" and "monstrous deeds." but, over the last 3 centuries, Spinoza's rupture with conventional Jewish ideals and practices has increased him to a popular position in genealogies of Jewish modernity. The First sleek Jew presents a riveting examine how Spinoza went from being one among Judaism's such a lot infamous outcasts to at least one of its such a lot celebrated, if nonetheless hugely arguable, cultural icons, and a strong and protean image of the 1st smooth secular Jew.
starting from Amsterdam to Palestine and again back to Europe, the publication chronicles Spinoza's posthumous odyssey from marginalized heretic to hero, the exemplar of a complete host of Jewish identities, together with cosmopolitan, nationalist, reformist, and rejectionist. Daniel Schwartz exhibits that during fashioning Spinoza into "the first sleek Jew," generations of Jewish intellectuals--German liberals, East ecu maskilim, secular Zionists, and Yiddishists--have projected their very own dilemmas of identification onto him, reshaping the Amsterdam philosopher of their personal snapshot. the numerous afterlives of Spinoza are one of those taking a look glass into the struggles of Jewish writers over the place to attract the limits of Jewishness and even if an earthly Jewish identification is certainly attainable. Cumulatively, those afterlives supply a kaleidoscopic view of recent Jewish cultureand a brilliant background of an obsession with Spinoza that keeps to this day.
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