(Benedict de; Despinoza; Baruch is Heb. for blessed, Lat. benedictus; 162377). Philos.; b. Amsterdam of Port.-Jewish parents, who, persecuted in Port., had sought refuge in the Neth.; excommunicated by synagog because of his religious views; spent uneventful life in the Neth., gaining livelihood by grinding lenses. One of the most influential philosophers of modern times. In Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) he attacked the Christian view of revelation and the authenticity of the OT Religiously the work contained principles of rationalism that appeared a c. Later. Politically it anticipated J. J. Rousseau's* ideas in the latter's Du Contrat social. In his main work, Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstreta (pub. 1677), he developed, in contradistinction to R. Descartes'* dualism, a pantheistic monism.* There is only one infinite substance, God (or nature), with an infinite number of attributes, of which man can comprehend only two, thought and extension. Ideas and physical objects are modes of these attributes. See also Enlightenment, 2; Higher Criticism, 4; Menasseh ben Israel; Natura naturans; Pantheism, 2.
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