Honors and theater: Spinoza’s pedagogical experience and his relation to F. Van den Enden

Maxime Rovere
Vol 39, Number 1, p.6
Franciscus Van den Enden (1602–1674) is commonly considered as the man who taught Latin to B. de Spinoza (1632–1677). It is unknown if he actually taught him something else, but we do know he used a pedagogy of his own and made the young philosopher aware of the importance of pedagogical issues. The present article helps to document their relationship from a historical and theoretical perspective, by clarifying Van den Enden’s ideas on a most debated subject: the use of honorary titles to distinguish pupils in the classroom. In particular, it shows how the rejection by Van den Enden of titles commonly used in Jesuits schools finds echoes in Spinoza’s philosophy. At the same time, the article argues that through their common participation in theatrical plays, Van den Enden and Spinoza shared a pedagogical experience that helped to overcome the problems linked to the introduction of a hierarchy, not theoretically, but in practice.