Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity
Schocken Books/Nextbook Press
In her detailed depiction of the terror the Inquisition inflicted on the lives of the Jews of Spain and Portugal, Goldstein succeeds in building the case that Spinoza developed his rationalist philosophy in an attempt to deal with the problem of Jewish suffering throughout the centuries. Her clearly written, well-researched history of this period includes compelling accounts of individuals and events that form the backdrop and context for her explanations of Spinozist thought.
My only quibble with this text is that the author seems to have a score to settle with the frumpy yeshiva high school teacher who first introduced her to the Orthodox Jewish view of Spinoza’s philosophy. These asides seem out of place in what is otherwise a fine, scholarly endeavor.