May 21, 2022

Acquisitions: Vanderbilt Libraries Acquire Three of Spinoza’s Book Treasures

From Vanderbilt Libraries:

In 1670 the young philosopher Baruch Spinoza published the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus—a book that would change history. It examined the Bible as a human document and inaugurated modern critical studies of sacred scripture.

Tractatus Theologico-Politicus and two other rare 17th-century volumes by Spinoza—Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Manner included in the Opera Posthuma and the Dutch translation of Spinoza’s works—have been acquired by the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries’ Special Collections. The acquisition was made possible by the Provost’s Library Collection Initiative, which encourages faculty and librarians to collaborate on significant additions of primary source material to the collections.


“Through the years since Spinoza’s time, he has increasingly gained stature as one of the greatest philosophical thinkers in the history of the West,” said Lenn E. Goodman, professor of philosophy and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities. “However, during his own lifetime, Spinoza’s works, including Tractatus, were widely banned and condemned.”

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.