Spinoza did not think in a historical vacuum or without reference to conceptions whose meaning has clouded with time and whose plausibility is no longer obvious. ‘Background’ looks at what formed Spinoza's philosophy and the influences he felt and adapted. The main influences over Spinoza's thought during his formative years were the Jewish and Muslim writers of earlier centuries, whose thoughts provided the main arguments of contemporary Judaism. In Maimonides he would have encountered the image of philosophy as a guide to life. Of the many influences it is difficult to single out one as decisive. Spinoza's political philosophy is a kind of synthesis of Grotius and Hobbes.