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Date of this Version



Ethics by Benedict de Spinoza, Translated by George Eliot, Edited by Thomas Deegan. 1981. Institut fur Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Universität Salzburg, Austria


The Ethics of Benedict (or Baruch) Spinoza (1632-1677) was written in Latin 1664-65 and published posthumously the year of his death. Spinoza's statement of moral philosophy, inspired by the rationalism of Descartes and the Enlightenment, was considered heretical at the time. He was excommunicated by Jewish religious authorities and his writings proscribed by the Catholic Church. His works, however, proved a hiden influence on the thought Locke, Hume, Liebnitz, and Kant, and became one of the foundations of the Western philosophical tradition, with profound influence on the works of Hegel, Goethe, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche.

George Eliot [Marian Evans] (1819-1880) prepared this earliest English translation of the Ethics in 1854-56, but it remained unpublished when she could not agree to terms with the publisher of Bohn's Philosophical Library. The manuscript was acquired by the Beinecke Library at Yale University, where it was transcribed by Thomas Deegan (1939-2001) of St. Xavier College. This transcription was published in the Salzburg Studies in English Literature series, Universität Salzburg, Austria, in 1981.