Tuesday, July 31, 2007
As to their continued existence for so many years when scattered and stateless, this is in no way surprising, since they have separated themselves from other nations to such a degree as to incur the hatred of all, and this not only through external rites alien to the rites of other nations but also through the mark of circumcision, which they religiously observe. That they are preserved largely through the hatred of other nations is demonstrated by historical fact.
Source: From the Theological-Political Treatise (2nd ed.) by Benedictus de Spinoza. (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett, 2001) p. 45.
Photo, above right: Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677)
For denying Jewish chosenness, expressing the idea that Jewish traditions and conduct may have something to do with Jewish-Gentile conflict (today, liberals would call this 'blaming the victim'), and other thoughtcrimes, Benedict Spinoza was declared a heretic from Judaism and "solemnly cut off from the commonwealth of Israel." This only after the Jewish religious authorities of his hometown, Amsterdam, tried to bribe and threaten him into outward conformity. After being cast out from the Jewish community, Spinoza rejected the Hebrew form of his given name, Baruch, for its Latin form, Benedictus. Although Spinoza was never reconciled to Judaism and the writ of cherem, i.e. excommunication, never rescinded, Spinoza's own choice of names is not widely respected and today he is most commonly known as Baruch Spinoza and claimed by many Jews as one of their own.