Baruch (Benedict de) Spinoza was born in Amsterdam in 1632. He belonged to the emigrant Jewish community. He was much influenced by the writings of Descartes. His unorthodox views led him to be excommunicated by the Jewish authorities in 1659. In the following years he devoted himself to his philosophical writings. He derived a modest income from grinding optical lenses. In 1673 he refused an invitation to become professor of philosophy at Heidelberg. Spinoza died at The Hague from consumption in 1677.