Seventeenth-Century Science and Spinoza’s Break with Judaism
3 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2012
Date Written: January 29, 2012
This section of Robert M. Seltzer’s book “Jewish People, Jewish Thought” centers in on a period in history known as “The Enlightenment”. Here it seems that Seltzer’s first goal is to provide a context for which to place this section’s main character, Baruch Spinoza. Thus, with broad strokes Seltzer’s paints a picture of history during it’s a period of religious strife. He points to men like Copernicus's, Isaac Newton and their ideological conflict with Aristotelian science. In other words, Aristotle’s belief that the earth was the center of the universe was being challenged by new mathematical principles combined with modern philosophy, which indicated that the sun was the center of the universe; and also suggested that reason knowledge would offer humanity a more reliable formula for salvation. Hence, a salvation not dependent on God’s actions but simply on mans intellectual progressive procession generally accepted theory of the day. Seltzer writes, “Seventeenth-century science fostered a feeling of liberation from the authority of the past” (548).
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