Benedictus (Baruch) Spinoza, 1632 - 1677

Benedictus (Baruch) Spinoza was an objective, impersonal philosopher whose theological views influenced German Idealists such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and New England Transcendentalists such as George Ripley and Theodore ParkerRalph Waldo Emerson's ideas presented in the essay "The Over-Soul" are indebted to his insights into the identity of God and Nature.  Henry David Thoreau's thoughts on the human community in Walden reflect his Stoic approach to ethics, wherein the greatest joy is a human nature that is perfectly aware and accepting of its place in and unity with the universe.