Friday, September 30, 2016
His books were, even when published anonymously, banned by the censors. And yet everyone knew that he was the author of the notorious Tractatus theologico-politicus that carried out a radical, rationalistic deconstruction of the Bible and advocated the creation of a secular state that would guarantee freedom of religious and political expression. In spite of the threats that menaced him (including an attempt at assassination), Spinoza was surreptitiously read and admired by the whole of intellectual Europe. He turned down offers from several prestigious universities, and even an invitation from Louis XIV to teach in Paris, where he would have drawn on a comfortable income. He knew that, if he accepted, he would lose his liberty of thought and preferred to carry out his modest activity as a lens polisher for the rest of his life.
-Frederic Lenoir, Happiness: A Philosopher's Guide