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Einstein Lauds Philosophy of Baruch Spinoza in Tercentenary Message

November 27, 1932
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Praise for the tenets of Baruch Spinoza, the tercentenary of whose birth occurred on Thursday, is expressed in a message sent by Professor Albert Einstein to the Spinoza Institute of America.

The message declared:

“To Spinoza the spiritual and the material are merely different manifestations of one universal, deterministic reality. This concept has become the intellectual heritage of all men who seek the spiritual values in the field of the material. But even our age is still very far from grasping the full implication of this concept in its application to life, as Spinoza has grasped it.

“The recognition of the causal interrelationships of human behavior should lift our actions to a higher plane of conduct, which should not be subject to the irrational reactions of blind emotion. Our behavior should be motivated by the ever-present realization that human beings in their thoughts, feelings and actions are not free agents, but are as subject to the inexorable laws of cause and effect as are the stars in their courses.

“Spinoza has shown us that the comprehension of this all-embracing causality is very largely within the grasp of the human intellect. Spinoza’s analysis of the realm of the spiritual, as given by him in his ‘Ethics,’ is for this reason of far reaching educational significance. There is nothing to be more ardently wished for than that this book may influence an ever-wider circle of human beings and thus exert its spiritual force on individuals and society alike.”

In New York City the tercentenary was marked by a testimonial meeting at City College on Wednesday evening and a dinner on Thursday evening at the Plaza in which educators, writers and scholars participated.

At the City College meeting testimonials were read from Sir Frederick Pollack, legal authority, and Dr. Samuel Alexander, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Manchester.

Speakers included Dr. Frederick B. Robinson, president of City College; Professor Isaac Husik of the University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Gabriel R. Mason, principal of the Abraham Lincoln High School; Dr. Jacob Shatzky, American delegate to the Spinoza Congress at The Hague; Dr. I. H. Muraskin, president of the Spinoza Institute, and Harry Watson, author of “The Philosophy of Spinoza.”

The dinner meeting was addressed by Dr. Robinson, John Erskine, Benjamin De Casseres, a lineal descendant of Spinoza; Professor Erwin Edman of Columbia University; Dr. George S. Hellman, who read from a paper by Dr. A. A. Brill, psychoanalyst; W. P. Montyn, Consul General of the Netherlands; and Dr. Frederick Kettner.

The Spinoza Center, founded nine years ago by Dr. Kettner, celebrated the tercentenary by announcing the establishment of “the first Spinoza Community” which will pool its financial, social, religious and educational resources.

the tercentenary of the birth of Baruch Spinoza.

Three distinguished speakers, all Jews, addressed the Institute and expounded Spinoza’s philosophy. They were Sir Herbert Samuel, Professor S. Alexander and Professor A. Wolf.

All stressed the Jewish surroundings in which Spinoza was brought up and the Jewish influence on his thought. They described the economic and social standing of the Jewish people during Spinoza’s lifetime.

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