Did Spinoza Lie to His Landlady?
|Abstract||In his biography of Spinoza, Colerus recounts the following exchange: It happened one day that his landlady asked him whether he believed that she could be saved in the religion she professed: He answered,"Your Religion is a good one, you need not look for any other, nor doubt that you may be saved in it, provided, whilst you apply yourself to Piety, you live at the same time a peaceable and quiet life." (Colerus 1906: 41) As biographical tales go, this one is pretty reliable. The biographer, Johannes Colerus, was a German Lutheran minister who took over pastoral duties at the local Lutheran church in the Hague some sixteen years after Spinoza's death. The Van der Spycks, Spinoza's landlord and landlady for the last six years of his life, were members of Colerus' congregation, and the pastor seems to have been intrigued by the contrast between the stories that they told of their quiet, pleasant, upright tenant and the execrable blasphemies and impieties that the preacher found in Spinoza's writings. In writing the biography, Colerus used those of his parishioners who had known Spinoza personally as sources for a number of details, and we can be quite sure that he got the report of the above exchange straight from mevrouw Van der Spyck herself.|
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