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Category Archives: Colerus

The Life of Spinoza, Colerus (1705) Part I

Biography by Johannes Colerus, The Life of Spinoza (1705)

[Skip to Part II]

[Published 28 years after Spinoza’s death, this biography was written by a German Lutheran minister who took over a Lutheran congregation at The Hague, 16 years after the death of the famous philosopher. Colerus indeed lived in the same house as Spinoza had lodged in on the Veerkaay, and studied in the room where Spinoza’s bed once was. One can imagine how he felt Spinoza’s physical presence, as he wrote at his desk; it is reliant upon several eye-witness accounts, some of whom, like Spinoza’s Landlady, were members of Colerus’s parish. Colerus had access to many documents now lost, for instance Spinoza’s sketch book of portraits. I post this hard to find biography for the convenience of interested readers.]

SPINOSA, that Philosopher, whose name makes so great noise in the World, was originally a Jew. His parents, a little while after his birth, named him Baruch. But having afterwards forsaken Judaism, he changed his Name, and call’d himself Benedict in his Writings, and in the Letters which he subscrib’d. He was Born at Amsterdam the 24th of November, in the Year 1632. What is com
monly said, that he was Poor and of a very mean Extraction, is not true. His Father, a Portuguese Jew, was in very good Circumstances, and a Merchant at Amsterdam, where he lived upon the Burgwal, in
a good House near the Old Portuguese Synagogue. Besides, his civil and handsome behaviour, his Relations, who lived at ease, and what was left to him by his Father and Mother, prove that his Extraction, as well as his Education, was above that of the Common People. Samuel Carceris, a Portuguese Jew, married the Youngest of his two Sisters. The name of the Eldest was Rebeckah, and that of the Youngest Miriam, whose Son Daniel Carceris, Nephew to Benedict de Spinosa, declared himself one of his Heirs after his Decease: As it appears by an Act past before Libertus Loef, a Notary, the 30th of March 1677, in the form of a Procuration directed to Henry Vander Spyck, in whose House Spinosa Lodged when he died.

Spinosa’s first Studies.

Spinosa shewed from his Childhood, and in his younger years, that Nature had not been unkind to him. His quick fancy, and his ready and penetrating Wit were easily perceived. Read more of this post