Review: Smith, Reading Leo Strauss

July 31, 2006
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jacket image In the July 21, 2006, issue of the New York weekly Forward, Allan Nadler finds Steven B. Smith’s Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism a “book rich with delightful details” about Strauss’s life and thought; details which, Nadler argues, complicate the intensifying perception of Strauss as a figurehead for “a particularly nasty version of neoconservatism.” A short quote from Nadler’s review follows:

A professor of political science at Yale and the author two previous books on Spinoza, Smith focuses on what Strauss called the “theologico-politico problem”—that is to say, the centuries-old unresolved conflict between the dictates of human reason and the doctrines of divine revelation.…In demonstrating the complexity of Strauss’s thinking, Smith succeeds admirably in rescuing the philosopher from what he calls “the hostile takeover” of the neoconservatives, particularly by disociating himself from President Bush’s simplistic view of the world. As such, this clear and lucid presentation represents an important corrective to the contemporary distortion of Strauss’s legacy—and not a minute too soon.

We also have an excerpt from Smith’s book.

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