Eric Walten

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Eric Walten (1663–1697) was a Dutch Enlightenment thinker and pamphleteer, notably accused of blasphemy and of secretly following the philosophical thinking of Benedict Spinoza in the 1690s.

A somewhat obscure young man of whose earliest life little information survives, Walten is known to have been born in what is now Ham, Germany, although the Dutch scholar Wiep van Bunge suggests that Walten was probably of English descent.[1]

Though influenced by such iconic Enlightenment writers as Descartes and Spinoza in his philosophical thought, Walten denied the latter as his primary political influence and professed to admire Juan de Mariana as the greatest writer on the powers and responsibilities of kings.[2]

Walten's fate as a controversialist was sealed when his vigorous defense of Balthasar Bekker against the various accusations against him invited a legal prosecution on blasphemy charges against himself. Walten died in prison while awaiting trial.[1]


  1. ^ a b Bunge, Wiep van (1996). "Eric Walten (1663-1697): An Early Enlightenment Radical in the Dutch Republic". In Wiep van Bunge and Wim Klever (Eds.), Disguised and Overt Spinozism Around 1700: Papers Presented at the International Colloquium, Held at Rotterdam, 5–8 October 1994 (pp. 41-54). Leiden, New York, and Köln: BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-10307-8.
  2. ^ Gelderen, Martin van (2007). "In Defense of William III: Eric Walten and the Glorious Revolution". In Esther Mijers and David Onnekink (Eds.), Redefining William III: The Impact of the King-Stadholder in International Context (pp. 143-158). London: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-5028-7.