Baruch Spinoza

JoAnna Johnson

In 1656, Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza was the subject of an intense interrogation in his family’s adopted hometown of Amsterdam. At the time, the Inquisition was at full power in Spain and Portugal; the Dutch considered themselves a more tolerant people, and allowed Jews to live in the city, albeit with certain constraints: they weren’t considered citizens but resident aliens, and they were allowed to practice their faith but not to discuss it with Christians.