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Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism by Steven B. Smith

By Steven B. Smith

Curiosity in Leo Strauss is bigger now than at any time when you consider that his loss of life, more often than not due to the purported hyperlink among his idea and the political flow referred to as neoconservatism. Steven B. Smith, notwithstanding, unusually depicts Strauss no longer because the excessive priest of neoconservatism yet as a chum of liberal democracy—perhaps the simplest defender democracy has ever had. furthermore, in studying Leo Strauss, Smith indicates that Strauss’s protection of liberal democracy was once heavily attached to his skepticism of both the severe Left and severe Right.Smith asserts that this philosophical skepticism outlined Strauss’s proposal. It used to be as a skeptic, Smith argues, that Strauss thought of the possible irreconcilable clash among cause and revelation—a clash Strauss dubbed the “theologico-political problem.” Calling this challenge “the subject matter of my investigations,” Strauss requested an identical basic query all through his existence: what's the relation of the political order to revelation regularly and Judaism in particular?  Smith organizes his booklet with this question, first addressing Strauss’s perspectives on faith after which interpreting his proposal on philosophical and political issues.In his research of those philosophical and political matters, Smith assesses Strauss’s try to direct the educating of political technological know-how clear of the exam of mass habit and curiosity team politics and towards the learn of the philosophical rules on which politics are established. together with his provocative, lucid essays, Smith is going far towards developing a particular kind of Straussian liberalism.

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Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism

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31 Strauss writes. ”36 The policy of assimilation seeks to reverse the historical relationship of the Jews with their host nations. Its goal could be stated as providing a minimum possibility for existence by ensuring a maximum normality. Strauss considers this policy illusory. ”38 And likewise Zionism understands the amelioration of this distress as having nothing to do with the coming of the Messiah, but everything to do with the secular, political struggle of the Jewish people for a homeland.

Rather than rejecting tradition in toto, the idealizing critic begins from a posture of “fidelity” or “sympathy” toward one’s tradition. This does not mean uncritical or blind acceptance of tradition, but rather the interpretation of a tradition in the light of its highest possibilities. To idealize is not just to praise or flatter, but to use what one regards as the best or highest aspects of one’s tradition as a standard to criticize others. ”89 It is this kind of idealizing criticism that Strauss practiced himself in his treatment of the Jewish Question.

For this reason, he feared the over-hasty tendency of many of his contemporaries toward assimilation. 59 While remaining an admirer of Cohen, Strauss did not share either Cohen’s rationalistic conception of Judaism or his optimistic assessment of its future in the German homeland. In the first place, he believed there was a kind of unreality in Cohen’s conception of Judaism as the religion of reason. This conception depended for its validity upon a distinction between how jewish was leo strauss?

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