The Spinoza of Market Street Historical Context

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Spinoza

The protagonist of this story has devoted his life to the study of the Dutch-Jewish philosopher, Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677), particularly his major work, Ethics. Although Spinoza finished writing Ethics in 1675, it was never published during his lifetime, in part due to its controversial nature and the censure of religious authorities. Spinoza is one of the great modern philosophers, associated with Rationalism. As a Jew, Spinoza's skepticism regarding religion, God, and Judaism was highly controversial within the Jewish community. He was excommunicated from Judaism in 1656 for his radical departure from Jewish doctrine. Unrelated to his philosophical works, Spinoza worked as a lens maker, adept at grinding lenses for telescopes, eyeglasses and microscopes. Dr. Fischelson's telescope in the story is clearly a reference to this connection with Spinoza.

Yiddish Language and Literature

The Yiddish language, associated with populations of the Jewish Diaspora, is rooted in Hebrew and Aramaic...

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This section contains 584 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Short Stories for Students
The Spinoza of Market Street from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.