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Ethics, Baruch Spinoza (1677)

Excommunicated by the Jews, Spinoza revolutionizes philosophy

Jason Diamond
September 17, 2013

Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics is first and foremost a philosophical treatise, but I also like to look at it as one of the great examples of Jewish magical realism. Reading, “The human mind, like God, contains ideas” around my bar mitzvah age, only because I learned of Albert Einstein’s deep admiration for the excommunicated Dutch-Jewish philosopher, was a game changer for me, and others, who continue to read and reread Ethics as if it’s liturgy. Less Guide for the Perplexed, more a textbook for those who believe there’s something in the universe bigger and better than us.

Jason Diamond is the literary editor of Flavorwire and founder of Vol. 1 Brooklyn. His Twitter feed is @imjasondiamond.