UCL Institute of Jewish Studies


Spinoza on Judaism, Ancient Israelites and Hebrew Studies

09 November 2023, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

Baruch Spinoza lecture picture

A lecture examining the complex background of 17th-century Dutch-Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza In-person lecture and Book Launch, preceded by drinks from 5:30pm

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni






Sara Benisaac

The speaker Professor Jonathan Israel will focus on Spinoza's Jewish background, the meaning of the excommunication of 1656 in his eyes, his total rejection of rabbinic authority, his continuing love of Biblical Hebrew and work on Hebrew grammar and his interest in the ancient Hebrew republic. He will argue that Spinoza's relationship to his Jewish identity and background is more complex than Jewish scholars have tended to assume in the past. The event will launch Professor Israel's new book, Spinoza, Life and Legacy.


About the Speaker

Professor Jonathan Israel

Professor Emeritus at Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

Two of Professor Israel's best-known books are The Dutch Republic. Its Rise, Greatness and Fall, 1477-1806 (Oxford, 1995) and Radical Enlightenment (Oxford, 2001). Jonathan Israel started his academic career first at Newcastle upon Tyne (1970-72) and then taught at the University of Hull (1972-74). He taught in the History Department at UCL for twenty-six years from 1974 to 2000, from 1984 holding the London chair in "Dutch History and Institutions." He became Professor of Modern History at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, in 2001 and became a professor emeritus at the Institute in 2016. His biography, Spinoza, Life and Legacy, was published by the Oxford University Press in August this year.