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Document Details :
Title: Het Vaticaanse manuscript van Spinoza's Ethica
Author(s): SPRUIT, Leen
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 74 Issue: 2 Date: 2012
The recently discovered manuscript Vat. lat. 12838 contains the complete text of Spinoza’s Ethics. It is a copy of Spinoza’s autograph and it was made in the winter of 1674-75 by Pieter van Gent for the German nobleman Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus (1651–1708). During Tschirnhaus’s visit of Rome, in the summer of 1677, Niels Stensen (1638-1686), a former friend of Spinoza who later converted to Catholicism, succeeds in laying his hands upon the manuscript. In September of that year, Stensen presented an accusation against Spinoza at the Roman Holy Office, and after a few days he handed over the manuscript to the same congregation. In 1922 the manuscript, together with over 140 other manuscripts, was transferred to the Vatican Library, where it is still kept. Most probably, the prohibition of Spinoza’s works in 1678 by the Congregation for the Index was triggered by a preliminary examination of the manuscript of the Ethics. Ironically enough, it was its inquisitorial examination that guaranteed the manuscript’s preservation.