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Palgrave Macmillan

Reorientation: Leo Strauss in the 1930s

ISBN 9781137381125
Publication Date July 2014
Formats Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) Paperback Hardcover 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Recovering Political Philosophy

Reorientation: Leo Strauss in the 1930s seeks to explain the 'change in orientation' that Strauss underwent during a decade of personal and political upheaval. Though he began to garner attention in the 1950s, it was in the 1930s that Strauss made a series of fundamental breakthroughs which enabled him to recover, for the first time since the Middle Ages, the genuine meaning of political philosophy. Despite this being a period of marked output and activity for Strauss, his research in this era remains overlooked. This volume is the first to assemble in one place an examination of Strauss' various publications throughout the decade, providing a comprehensive analysis of his work during the period. It includes, for the first time in English, five newly translated writings of Strauss from 1929–37, brought to life with insight from leading scholars in the field.

Richard S. Ruderman is Associate Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of North Texas, USA. He has published essays on 'Aristotle and the Recovery of Political Judgment,' 'Homer's Odyssey and the Possibility of Enlightenment,' "Democracy and the Problem of Statesmanship," 'Locke on the Parental Control of Education,' ''Let Freedom Ring': The Abolitionism of William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass,' and 'A Slingshot Recoils: The Critique of Philosophy in Halevi's Kuzari.' He received his PhD from the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought in 1990.

Martin D. Yaffe is Professor of Philosophy and Religion Studies at the University of North Texas, USA. He is author of Leo Strauss and Moses Mendelssohn and Shylock and the Jewish Question; editor of Judaism and Environmental Ethics: A Reader; translator of Benedict Spinoza's Theologico-Political Treatise; co-translator of Thomas Aquinas's Literal Exposition on the Book of Job; and co-editor of Emil L. Fackenheim: Philosopher, Theologian, Jew and The Companionship of Books: Essays in Honor of Laurence Berns.

Introduction; Martin D. Yaffe and Richard S. Ruderman
1. How Strauss Became Strauss; Heinrich Meier
2. Spinoza's Critique of Religion: Reading Too Literally and Not Reading Literally Enough; Steven Frank
3. The Light Shed on the Crucial Development of Strauss's Thought by his Correspondence with Gerhard Krüger; Thomas L. Pangle
4. Strauss on Hermann Cohen's 'Idealizing' Appropriation of Maimonides as a Platonist; Martin D. Yaffe
5. Strauss on the Religious and Intellectual Situation of the Present; Timothy W. Burns
6. Carl Schmitt and Strauss's Return to Pre-Modern Philosophy; Nasser Behnegar
7. Strauss, Hobbes, and the Origins of Natural Science; Timothy W. Burns
8. Strauss on Farabi, Maimonides, et al. in the 1930s; Joshua Parens
9. The Problem of the Enlightenment: Strauss, Jacobi, and the Pantheism Controversy; David Janssens
10. 'Through the Keyhole': Strauss's Rediscovery of Classical Political Philosophy in Xenophon's Constitution of the Lacedaemonians; Richard S. Ruderman
11. Strauss and Schleiermacher on How to Read Plato: An Introduction to 'Exoteric Teaching'; Hannes Kerber
Appendix: Seven Writings by Leo Strauss
A. 'Conspectivism' (1929); Translated by Anna Schmidt and Martin D. Yaffe
B. 'Religious Situation of the Present' (1930); Translated by Anna Schmidt and Martin D. Yaffe
C. 'The Intellectual Situation of the Present' (1932); Translated by Anna Schmidt and Martin D. Yaffe
D. 'A Lost Writing of Farâbî's' (1936); Translated by Gabriel Bartlett and Martin D. Yaffe
E. 'On Abravanel's Critique of Monarchy' (1937); Translated by Martin D. Yaffe
F. 'Exoteric Teaching' (1939); Edited by Hannes Kerber
G. Lecture Notes for 'Persecution and the Art of Writing' (1939); Edited by Hannes Kerber

Gabriel Bartlett, Instructor of Philosophy, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, USA
Nasser Behnegar, Associate Professor, Boston College, USA
Jeffrey A. Bernstein, Associate Professor, College of the Holy Cross, USA
Timothy W. Burns, Professor, Baylor University, USA
Steven Frankel, Associate Professor, Xavier University, Cincinnati, USA
David Janssens, Assistant Professor, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Hannes Kerber, Research Assistant, Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation, Germany
Heinrich Meier, Director of the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation in Munich, also Professor, University of Munich, and permanent Visiting Professor, University of Chicago, USA
Thomas L. Pangle, University of Texas at Austin, USA
Joshua Parens, Professor and Graduate Director of Philosophy, University of Dallas, USA


"The decade of the 1930s saw Leo Strauss make his fundamental breakthroughs in the meaning of classical political philosophy and the possibility of its recovery. This collection of essays by distinguished scholars, with newly translated works by Strauss, covers the whole complexity of Strauss's inquiry in this period, in its movement from the critical readings of the early moderns and the dialogue with Carl Schmitt, to the engagement with the medievals and Xenophon. This volume sheds invaluable new light on each of these investigations and on how they are interrelated, so that now one can much better understand how Strauss became Strauss."—Richard Velkley, Celia Scott Weatherhead Professor of Philosophy, Tulane University, USA
"An exhilarating collection that casts fresh and revealing light on the intellectually decisive decade in which 'Strauss became Strauss.' Indispensable for anyone with a serious interest in Strauss's thought."—Susan Meld Shell, Professor of Political Science, Boston College
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