Thu, Jan 1, 2009 at 12:26 PM/9:09 PM
I am curious about Leo Strauss. I have been running across his name lately. I have read a couple of his books and browsed several others. I really enjoy what I have read so far and find his observations to be insightful and thoroughly based on close reading of original Greek texts. What I don’t quite understand is the connection between what I am reading and what I hear about Leo Strauss. They don’t seem related. The books are thoughtful and well researched readings of classical history and philosophy and seem unrelated and unsupportive of his reputation of being the grandfather of neoconservatism.
This is a familiar story. One finds that Skinner, Freud, Marx also have little in common with their respective ‘-isms’ when you sit down and read what they actually wrote. Why should Leo Strauss be any different? I avoided him for many years, but in reading his works I found a meticulous and very observant classical historian. I cannot find anything to suggest his reputation. Seems other people who actually know him and his work feel similar regarding his popular reputation:
“The Real Leo Strauss” by Jenny Strauss Clay
“Defending Strauss” by Julie Englander