Winner of the 2010 Musher Prize

Baruch Spinoza

Congratulations to Daniel Schwartz of George Washington University, winner of the 2010 Sidney and Hadassah Musher Subvention Grant to support the publication of his fortcoming book, From Heretic to Hero: Spinoza in the Modern Jewish Imagination (Princeton University Press).

Dr. Schwartz was also a recipient of a Doctoral Dissertation fellowship in Jewish studies (2003-2004).

In making its recommendation, the FJC scholarship cited the importance and originality of Dr. Schwartz’s book, noting that it is likely to become one of the most important books published in Jewish studies in the past decade.

Furthermore, the committee writes:

Daniel Schwartz’s book is a path-breaking study of the multiple and important ways in which a great Jewish hero (or anti-hero) has been understood in modern Jewish culture.  The figure at the heart of the study is Baruch Spinoza, the Dutch Jewish philosopher who was excommunicated from the Amsterdam Jewish community in 1656.

Schwartz presents an illuminating history of Spinoza’s remarkable afterlife in modern Jewish thought, literature, and culture. He traces Spinoza’s surprising and powerful presence in German-Jewish fiction, Zionist ideology, and Yiddish letters, among other sites.  The result is a tour of many of the major centers of modern Jewish culture, seen through the prism of the appropriation and constant re-branding of a major, iconoclastic cultural creator.

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