Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/275

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253
HANDICRAFT.

"Because, to answer in your own way, I am cumbered with a sacred body, that requires food; and with the handicraft I have chosen I will demonstrate the whole theory of dialectics to you: Two concave glasses laid on one another show the object at which you look through them upside down, the reflecting glass between brings it again into its right position."

"When were you born?" interrupted Oldenburg.

"A strange question. Sir Godfather," replied Spinoza, "if you do not yet know, in November of the year 1632."

"That is excellent," continued Oldenburg; "did you never hear of the Görlitz Apostle who raved in perpetual apostolic ecstasies? On November, '24, he departed this life. He was by trade an honorable shoemaker, and I will show you from the Apocalypse that, seven years after his death, a new philosopher must be born, also a handicraftsman."

"Your comparison limps," said Olympia, "for your Jacob Böhme was a shoemaker, and became a philosopher, while our Maledict, from a philosopher became a handicraftsman."

"Excuse me," said Spinoza; "the jest does not limp, but has a leg too many, for there are eight years between 24 and 32."

"That does not matter," answered Oldenburg, "if you amputate a year. But in truth and earnest, you offend your friends by the aim to which you