By David Janssens
Praised as an immense political philosopher of the 20 th century and vilified because the putative godfather of up to date neoconservatism, Leo Strauss (1899–1973) has been the thing of heated controversy either within the usa and in another country. This ebook bargains a extra balanced appraisal by means of concentrating on Strauss’s early writings. by way of a detailed and accomplished examine of those texts, David Janssens reconstructs the genesis of Strauss’s concept from its earliest beginnings until eventually his emigration to the us in 1937. He discusses the 1st phases in Strauss’s grappling with the “theological-political problem,” from his doctoral dissertation on Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi to his contributions to Zionist periodicals, from his groundbreaking examine of Spinoza’s critique of faith to his learn on Moses Mendelssohn, and from his rediscovery of medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophy to his examine on Hobbes. all through, Janssens lines Strauss’s rediscovery of the Socratic lifestyle as a conceivable substitute to either smooth philosophy and printed faith.
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Extra resources for Between Athens and Jerusalem: Philosophy, Prophecy, and Politics in Leo Strauss’s Early Thought
In its view, the failure of assimilation proved that Jews could find salvation only in theocracy, faith, and obedience to the revealed Law. Instead of trying to find a place among the other nations, the Jews ought to remain in exile, since the latter could be truly ended only by the coming of the Messiah. The violence of the goyim or non-Jews had to be endured resignedly, in the knowledge that justice ultimately was on the side of the Jewish people. Strauss forcefully dismisses these accusations as well as the view underlying them.
At the 20 BETWEEN ATHENS AND JERUSALEM end of this development, it became necessary to address this claim anew, this time with regard to the conditions that had been created by the critique of religion and its self-critique. ”48 In this way, Strauss brings to light the historical and intellectual background of the problem he himself is struggling with, as it was adumbrated earlier herein: how to do justice to the ancestral Jewish legacy and to the criteria of modernity. Meeting this challenge seems to depend on the possibility of developing a scientific approach to the problem of theology.
68 More importantly, the critical shockwaves of the Theological-Political Treatise also affected the Jewish religion and the ancient vault of the galut. This does not exhaust Spinoza’s significance for Judaism, however. 69 In Spinoza’s model, citizenship was open to all, and hence also to Jews. On the basis of his critique of the Bible, Spinoza had concluded that Mosaic Law was no longer effective. 70 In this respect, Strauss argues, the Theological-Political Treatise can be regarded as the founding document of Jewish assimilation: When what mattered was the justification of the breakup of the Jewish tradition and the entry of the Jews into modern Europe, perhaps no better, but certainly no more convenient, reference offered itself than the appeal to Spinoza.
Between Athens and Jerusalem: Philosophy, Prophecy, and Politics in Leo Strauss’s Early Thought by David Janssens