Leo Strauss: The Early Writings (1921-1932)

SUNY Press
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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.
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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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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 29, 2012
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Pages
258
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ISBN
9780791488829
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
PHILOSOPHY / Eastern
Philosophy / Political
Philosophy / Religious
Political Science / History & Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Leo Strauss
Although Leo Strauss published little on Nietzsche, his lectures and correspondence demonstrate a deep critical engagement with Nietzsche’s thought. One of the richest contributions is a seminar on Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, taught in 1959 during Strauss’s tenure at the University of Chicago. In the lectures, Strauss draws important parallels between Nietzsche’s most important project and his own ongoing efforts to restore classical political philosophy.

With Leo Strauss on Nietzsche’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra,” eminent Strauss scholar Richard L. Velkley presents Strauss’s lectures on Zarathustra with superb annotations that bring context and clarity to the critical role played by Nietzsche in shaping Strauss’s thought. In addition to the broad relationship between Nietzsche and political philosophy, Strauss adeptly guides readers through Heidegger’s confrontations with Nietzsche, laying out Heidegger’s critique of Nietzsche’s “will to power” while also showing how Heidegger can be read as a foil for his own reading of Nietzsche. The lectures also shed light on the relationship between Heidegger and Strauss, as both philosophers saw Nietzsche as a central figure for understanding the crisis of philosophy and Western civilization.
Strauss’s reading of Nietzsche is one of the important—yet little appreciated—philosophical inquiries of the past century, both an original interpretation of Nietzsche’s thought and a deep engagement with the core problems that modernity posed for political philosophy. It will be welcomed by anyone interested in the work of either philosopher.
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