Todays images are of Baruch Spinoza laterly Benedictus Spinoza (b. November 24, 1632 – d. February 21, 1677).
Benedictus Spinoza was a dutch jewish philosopher of portuguese descent who was born and spent his formative years growing up in the jewish quarter of Amsterdam.
During this time he had started to develop some very controversial ideas, specifically on the authenticity of the Hebrew bible, the (orthodox) Jewish community had no option but to issue a cherem against him, a form of excommunication, shunning him from the entire Jewish Community in Amsterdam.
Benedictus Spinoza then moved several times before he finally settled in the Pavilijoensgracht, in the Jewish quarter of The Hague. While working as a lens grinder Benedictus Spinoza continued to write various philosophical thesis and although controversial in his day are now considered to be of significant importance having not only influenced future philosophical thought but future philosophers too. One of his papers ‘Ethics’ advocated ‘Freedom of Speech’, one of the earliest papers to do so.
Upon his death Baruch Spinoza was buried in the graveyard of the Protestant Nieuwekerk (New Church) due to his earlier shunning he could not be buried in the Jewish cemetery. He was later disinterred and his bones scattered in the church grounds when his friends and family were unable to continue paying for the rent of the tomb. A memorial stone and headstone for Baruch Spinoza were finally erected (at the start of the 20th century) in the graveyard of the Nieuwekerk recognising his contribution as a philosopher. His headstone carries the latin word ‘CAVTE’, ‘CAUTION’ in english and in Hebrew the word ‘amcha’ , Hebrew for ‘your people’. See photo below.
Given the importance of Baruch Spinoza and in recognition of his contribution to Dutch society his image was placed on the 1000 guilder bank note. Guilders were the dutch currency prior to the euro.
Todays photographs were shot on 13th, 19th, 27th February 2011