Leo Strauss: An Intellectual Biography

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Yale University Press, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 259 pages
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Since political theorist Leo Strauss’s death in 1973, American interpreters have heatedly debated his intellectual legacy. Daniel Tanguay recovers Strauss from the atmosphere of partisan debate that has dominated American journalistic, political, and academic discussions of his work. Tanguay offers in crystal-clear prose the first assessment of the whole of Strauss’s thought, a daunting task owing to the vastness and scope of Strauss’s writings. This comprehensive overview of Strauss’s thought is indispensable for anyone seeking to understand his philosophy and legacy.

Tanguay gives special attention to Strauss’s little-known formative years, 1920-1938, during which the philosopher elaborated the theme of his research, what he termed the “theological-political problem.” Tanguay shows the connection of this theme to other major elements in Strauss’s thought, such as the Quarrel between the Ancients and Moderns, the return to classical natural right, the art of esoteric writing, and his critique of modernity. In so doing, the author approaches what is at the heart of Strauss’s work: God and politics. Rescuing Strauss from polemics and ill-defined generalizations about his ideas, Tanguay provides instead an important and timely analysis of a major philosophical thinker of the twentieth century.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Zionism Orthodoxy and Spinozas Critique of Religion
10
2 Prophet and Philosopher
49
3 The TheologicoPolitical Problem in Relation to Ancient and Modern Natural Right
99
4 The Conflict Between Jerusalem and Athens
144
Conclusion
193
Notes
217
Selected Works
237
Index
239
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About the author (2007)

Daniel Tanguay is associate professor of philosophy and adjunct professor of political science, University of Ottawa. He lives in Ottawa. Christopher Nadon is associate professor of government at Claremont McKenna College.

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