This translation of eighteen virtually unknown early publications provides access for the first time to the origins of Leo Strauss’s thought in the intellectual life of the German Jewish ‘renaissance’ in the 1920s. Themes range from the Enlightenment critique of the religion of Spinoza and the anti-critique of Jacobi, to the political Zionism of Herzl and the cultural Zionism of Buber and Ahad Ha’am. The essays and reviews reprinted in this volume document a youth caught in the “theological-political” conflict between the irretrievability of premodern religion and the disenchantedness of “honest” atheism, an impossible alternative that precipitated Strauss to seek out the possibility of a return to the level of natural ignorance presupposed in Socratic political philosophy.
About the author
Michael Zank is Assistant Professor of Religion at Boston University. He is the author of The Idea of Atonement in the Philosophy of Hermann Cohen.
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