It is well known that Einstein's religious credo was inspired by that of Spinoza. In his book on "Einstein and Religion", Max Jammer writes:The philosopher whom Einstein admired most was Baruch (later, Benedictus) Spinoza, the seventeenth-century Jewish philosopher, who was excommunicated by the Amsterdam synagogue and declined the Heidelberg professorship in order to live as a lens grinder, leading an independent life dedicated to philosophical reflections.... Einstein was most influenced by Spinoza's thesis of an unrestricted determinism and the belief in the existence of a superior intelligence that reveals itself in the harmony and beauty of nature.The earliest recorded reference of Einstein to Spinoza is a poem from 1920. We are not used to think of Einstein as a poet, and one may wonder what triggered his poetic expression in that year. Here I offer a speculation, based on an unexpected discovery made during a recent visit to a little house in the village of Rijnsburg, just outside Leiden.Carlo Beenakker
House in Rijnsburg, near Leiden.
Spinoza lived here from 1660-1663.
Inspection of the book of visitors.
Einstein signed on 2 November 1920.
Was this when Einstein fell in love with Spinoza?
The photographs of the Spinoza house were made by Dick van der Kroef from NWO, on the occasion of a visit by the recipients of the NWO/Spinoza award.
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