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Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) was born in Amsterdam during a period of unprecedented scientific, artistic, and intellectual discovery. Upon its release, Spinoza's Ethics was banned; today it is the quintessential example of philosophical method. Although acknowledged as difficult, the book is widely taught in philosophy, literature, history, and politics. This introduction is designed to be read side by side with Spinoza's work. As a guide to the style, vocabulary, and arguments of the Ethics, it offers a range of interpretive possibilities to prepare students to become conversant with Spinoza's philosophical method and his challenge to conventional thinking.