This week's In Our Time (on BBC Radio 4) is about Spinoza:
For the radical thinkers of the Enlightenment, he was the first man to have lived and died as a true atheist. For others, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he provides perhaps the most profound conception of God to be found in Western philosophy. He was bold enough to defy the thinking of his time, yet too modest to accept the fame of public office, despite numerous offers, and he died, along with Socrates and Seneca, one of the three great deaths in philosophy. His name is Baruch Spinoza, a Dutch Jewish philosopher from the 17th century, who can claim influence on both the Enlightenment thinkers of the 18th century and great minds of the 19th, notably Hegel, and his ideas were so radical that they could only be fully published after his death.