Steven Nadler

Position title: Senior Fellow (2013-2017)

William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy, UW-Madison

Portrait Image of Steven Nadler wearing a blue shirt and glasses with his hand on his chin in front of a bright window

Becoming Spinoza: The Making of a Philosopher

I am currently working on two projects: a biography of Menasseh ben Israel (1604-1657), a rabbi in the Amsterdam Portuguese-Jewish community and arguably the most famous Jew in seventeenth-century Europe, for the “Jewish Lives” series (Yale University Press); and a book tentatively titled Becoming Spinoza: The Making of a Philosopher, a study of the various contexts — Cartesian, Stoic, Jewish, Hobbesian, Dutch Republican — in which Spinoza’s philosophy developed.

Steven Nadler is the William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy and the Evjue-Bascom Professor in Humanities at UW-Madison, where he has been teaching since 1988. He specializes in the history of early modern philosophy (especially the seventeenth century) and in medieval Jewish philosophy. His books include Spinoza: A Life (Cambridge, 1999, winner of the Koret Jewish Book Award); Rembrandt’s Jews (Chicago, 2003, named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize); The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Story of Philosophers, God, and Evil (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2008); A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza’s Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age (Princeton, 2011); and The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter: A Portrait of Descartes (Princeton, 2013).