"Why did Spinoza stop writing his Ethics and begin work on his Theological-Political Treatise?"

Topics: Philosophy, Baruch Spinoza, Metaphysics Pages: 4 (1439 words) Published: April 13, 2014
Inquiry Report (ROUGH DRAFT)

Jeffrey P. Rowan

The question that I have arrived at after much reading is "Why did Spinoza stop writing his Ethics and begin work on his Theological-Political Treatise?" Baruch de Spinoza was a brilliant mathematician and philosoph that lived in the Dutch Republic during the mid seventeenth century. He was raised a Jew and lived much of his life in a in a Yeshiva studying Jewish theology. He was a star pupil but cut short his studies in his late teens due to the death of his older brother Isaac. He then began to help run his families merchant business. The business did not do well under the leadership of Spinoza and his brother Gabriel and soon it floundered. Spinoza seemed relieved by this because he was not very interested in trade and was soon able to get back to his studies and writing. While confiding in some of his close friends in the Jewish community Spinoza was eventually outed as an atheist for his personal views about God and Nature. He was excommunicated from the Jewish community by the issue of the harshest He-rem ever issued by the Portuguese Jewish community. Now that he no longer had his fathers business to run or the Yeshiva to study in he would continue to find his own path toward the modern philosophes and begin work on his masterpiece The Ethics. Spinoza worked on The Ethics from 1660 to 1665 and had a workable draft in hand. But then something happened. He halted publication and further refinement of the Ethics an began immediately on his Theological-Political Treatise. What was the reason Spinoza did this? The Ethics was a master work that still stands today as a shining example of philosophical ideas. But the Theological-Political Treatise was another animal entirely. The Treatise was focused on matters that concerned more metaphysical and psychological issues. It seemed as though Spinoza had an inquiry question of his own that needed answering.

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