Bestselling novelist and psychiatrist Irvin Yalom explores the mindsets of Jewish philosopher Spinoza and Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg. Spinoza’s portrait is fictional. The stone in a former graveyard, does not mark the exact place of his grave. All this gives Irvin Yalom plenty room. Irvin Yalom’s novel ‘The Spinoza Problem’ is reviewed by J. Scott Lewis.

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Yalom does an outstanding job of articulating this problem, actually a paradox, as the existential condition of Judaism. A psychiatrist with a deep interest in philosophical issues, Yalom jointly tells the story of the seventeenth-century thinker Baruch Spinoza, his philosophy and subsequent excommunication from the Jewish community, and his apparent influence on the Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, whose einsatzgruppe was dispatched during the Second World War to investigate a mysterious “Spinoza Problem.

Having been expelled from his community when he was in his twenties, so that not even his brother or sister could approach him, we now know very little about his life. Or rather, he certainly puts Rosenberg in the couch, in whom he detects inferiority complexes arising out of his childhood, but is more respectful of Spinoza. Nietzsche, Schopenhauer e Espinosa.

It is fascinating to read how the different lives in different eras unfold. Are your teachers all Jews? It has its own language generally directed toward other philosophers ievin serious students of the subject. I think it’s Yalom’s greatest yet. He becomes his student and soon moves in with him.


There is not much left. I was very close to abandoning the read, but my own neurosis prevented me. He also recognizes that without the cultic and social loyalty of Jews throughout the centuries, yalok a contr The Very Refuse of Thy Deeds The ethical principles of justice and charity are the enduring legacy of Judaism.

The Spinoza Problem

Yalom is an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Stanford Spinozx and a psychiatrist in San Francisco. Was that a subset of the Jewish Question? Nearly years in the past, the brilliant Baruch Spinoza undergoes his own identity crisis. Thank you for your feedback. Refresh and try again.

Thus the novel is an intriguing contrast between two th who both suffered from isolation and loneliness, who both held fiercely to radical ideas, and who both impacted history.

How do you enlighten a young bigot?

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Being an outcast, the Jewish community can not bury him. Dec 13, Owlseyes rated it really liked it Shelves: The structure is certainly effective. I saw this book on GR. We become included in a conscious conduct of life and in the pursuit of truth. You get more than a glimpse of Spinoza’s brilliant mind, so ahead of his time, but not entirely free of prejudice especially when it came to the rights of women.


Books by Irvin D. Chapters alternate between Bento Spinoza alternate and Alfred Rosenberg. Regarding the fiction Spinoza my balance is quite negative. To achieve and maintain fame, we must like what others like and shun whatever it is that they shun.

Readers therefore must apply the same principles of fair use to the works in this electronic archive that they would to a published, printed archive. Though his life was short and he lived without means in great isolation, he nonetheless produced works that changed the course of history. What I like about him is even though he had a larger-than-life intellect and could probably swipe off of their feet every other great thinker there was, he was still a simple man, a man of his own mind, that refused to believe that only God could give the moral values a man should have.

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The Spinoza Problem by Irvin D. Yalom

Customers who bought this item also bought. Crowds stood up in the s to support one zealot. It becomes a search for understanding of place in a world torn by rigid identity distinctions and unyielding out-group warfare.