In The Spinoza Problem, Irvin Yalom spins fact and fiction into an unforgettable psycho-philosophical novel.
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." Seamlessly alternating between Golden Age Amsterdam and Nazi Germany, Yalom investigates the inner lives of these two enigmatic men in a tale of influence and anxiety, the origins of good and evil, and the philosophy of freedom and the tyranny of terror.
- Format: Paperback
- Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
- Publication Date: 14/03/2013
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780465061853
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Review by LynnB
This is a work of fiction that, as the author says, could have happened. He tells the story of Spinoza's philosophy and expulsion from the Jewish community, interspersed with the story of Nazi party official Alfred Rosenberg who admired Spinoza's ideas while hating his race. This is a novel driven by ideas more than plot or character, and provides insight into philosophical thought, religion, and the extremes of intolerance.