cut off from the race of Israel with all the prescribed curses of excommunication upon his head.
Spinoza was not present when excommunication was pronounced upon him. He had left Amsterdam to stay with some Collegiant friends on the Ouwerkerk road, for, so one tradition relates, an attempt had been made by one of the over-righteous upon Spinoza's life soon after he became an object of official displeasure. Although Spinoza was, throughout his life, ready to suffer the consequences of his opinions and actions, he at no time had the least aspiration to become a martyr. When Spinoza heard of his excommunication he sent a spirited and unyielding reply. The spirit if not the words of that reply (not yet discovered) eventually made its way into the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. For the rest of his life, whenever he had occasion to refer to the Jews, Spinoza referred to them as he did to the Gentiles--a race to which he did not belong. And immediately, with the perfect grace and humor of a culture
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