In 1656, the Jewish elders of Amsterdam issued an excommunication notice against Baruch Spinoza. Spinoza was a philosopher who postulated that God and nature are equivalent, and that the Bible is purely allegorical. Spinoza is known as the "Jewish Atheist," and he is considered the founder of modern biblical criticism. Spinoza believed that there is no Divine intervention, and that all events are fatalistically destined to occur (thus there is no free will). For these and other heretical ideas, Spinoza was officially shunned by the Jewish community.
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