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In September 1675 Albert Burgh sent Spinoza a long and passionate letter, imploring him to convert, as Burgh himself had recently done, to the Catholic faith. Spinoza was initially reluctant to reply, but when he did so, his response was generally temperate, concise, and tinged with sadness at his friend's conversion. This chapter examines this correspondence, to see what it can tell us about the reception of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (TTP), and about Spinoza's philosophy as it appears in that work. Spinoza did not convert to Christianity, much less to Catholic Christianity. In fact, Burgh's letter provoked Spinoza to be more openly critical of organized religion than he had been in the TTP itself, demonstrating that aggressive proselytization can backfire. The Preface to the TTP suggests a reason why Spinoza may have thought it desirable for the state to sponsor a religion he regarded as superstitious.
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