Commentary

Progressive Minds, Conservative Politics

- Aryeh Tepper, Progressive Minds, Conservative Politics: Leo Strauss's Later Writings on Maimonides, Albany: 2014.
An Israeli scholar considers Leo Strauss’s later writings on Maimonides.

Leo Strauss: Man of Peace

- Rob Howse, Leo Strauss: Man of Peace, Cambridge University Press: 2014.
The NYU law professor Rob Howse interprets Strauss through the lens of questions of war and peace.

Reorientation: Leo Strauss in the 1930s

- Martin Yaffe & Richard Ruderman eds., Reorientation: Leo Strauss in the 1930s, Palgrave: 2014.
From the publisher: 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… More

Strauss on the Prince

- Harvey C. Mansfield, "Strauss on the Prince," The Review of Politics / Volume 75 / Special Issue 04 / Fall 2013 pp 641-665
Here is a study by Harvey Mansfield of what Leo Strauss in his marvelous book, Thoughts on Machiavelli (1958), tells us about Machiavelli’s The Prince, and how he tells it. The “how” is quite remarkable: his book is unlike any other book that has… More

The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss by Laurence Lampert

- Laurence Lampert, The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss, University of Chicago Press, 2013.
From the publisher: The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss takes on the crucial task of separating what is truly important in the work of Leo Strauss from the ephemeral politics associated with his school. Laurence Lampert focuses on exotericism: the use of… More

Leo Strauss’s Defense of the Philosophic Life ed. Rafael Major

- Leo Strauss's Defense of the Philosophic Life, ed. Rafael Major, University of Chicago Press, 2013.
From the publisher: Leo Strauss’s What Is Political Philosophy? addresses almost every major theme in his life’s work and is often viewed as a defense of his overall philosophic approach. Yet precisely because the book is so foundational, if we want to… More

Crisis of the Strauss Divided

- Harry V. Jaffa, Crisis of the Strauss Divided: Essays on Leo Strauss and Straussianism, East and West, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2012.
From the publisher: “Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was the  greatest mind in political philosophy in the twentieth century, and possibly in other centuries as well. That, I am well aware, is a judgment I share with very few, if any.” So writes Harry V. Jaffa… More

Heidegger, Strauss, & the Premises of Philosophy by Richard Velkley

- Richard Velkley, Heidegger, Strauss, and the Premises of Philosophy: On Original Forgetting, University of Chicago Press, 2011.
From the publisher: In this groundbreaking work, Richard L. Velkley examines the complex philosophical relationship between Martin Heidegger and Leo Strauss. Velkley argues that both thinkers provide searching analyses of the philosophical tradition’s… More

Straussianism

- Mark C. Henrie, "Straussianism," First Principles, 5 May 2011.
Excerpt: Straussianism is the term used to denote the research methods, common concepts, theoretical presuppositions, central questions, and pedagogic style characteristic of the large number of conservatives who have been influenced by the thought and… More

Leo Strauss: An Intellectual Biography

- Daniel Tanguay, Leo Strauss: An Intellectual Biography, Yale University Press, 2011.
From the publisher: Since political theorist Leo Strauss’ 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… More

The Cambridge Companion to Leo Strauss

- The Cambridge Companion to Leo Strauss, ed. Steven B. Smith, Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Table of Contents: 1. Introduction: Leo Strauss today by Steven B. Smith 2. Leo Strauss: the outlines of a life by Steven B. Smith 3. Leo Strauss and the theologico-political predicament by Leora Batnitsky 4. Strauss’s recovery of esotericism by… More

The Truth about Leo Strauss: Political Philosophy and American Democracy

- Catherine and Michael Zuckert, The Truth about Leo Strauss: Political Philosophy and American Democracy, University of Chicago Press, 2008.
From the publisher: Is Leo Strauss truly an intellectual forebear of neoconservatism and a powerful force in shaping Bush administration foreign policy? The Truth about Leo Strauss puts this question to rest, revealing for the first time how the popular media… More

Guide for the Perplexed

- Steven J. Lenzner, "Guide for the Perplexed," Claremont Review of Books, 23 August 2007.
Excerpt: In recent years, as the name of the political philosopher Leo Strauss has grown increasingly familiar, his teaching has become increasingly misunderstood. Indeed, the portrait painted sometimes of Strauss as the posthumous mastermind of the Bush… More

Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism

- Steven B. Smith, Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism, University of Chicago Press, 2007.
From the publisher: Interest in Leo Strauss is greater now than at any time since his death, mostly because of the purported link between his thought and the political movement known as neoconservatism. Steven B. Smith, though, surprisingly depicts Strauss… More

Leo Strauss and the Politics of Exile: The Making of a Political Philosopher

- Eugene R. Sheppard, Leo Strauss and the Politics of Exile: The Making of a Political Philosopher, Brandeis University Press, 2007.
From the publisher: Born in rural Hesse, Germany, Leo Strauss (1899-1973) became an active Zionist and philosopher during the tumultuous and fractious Weimar Republic. As Eugene R. Sheppard demonstrates in this groundbreaking and engaging book, Strauss… More

Leo Strauss and the Theologico-Political Problem by Heinrich Meier

- Heinrich Meier, Leo Strauss and the Theologico-Political Problem, Cambridge University Press, 2006.
From the publisher: This book, by one of the most prominent interpreters of the Leo Strauss’s thought, is the first to examine the theme that Leo Strauss considered to be key to his entire intellectual enterprise. The theologico-political problem refers… More

Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss: The Hidden Dialogue

- Heinrich Meier, Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss: The Hidden Dialogue, University of Chicago Press, 2006.
From the publisher: Carl Schmitt was the most famous and controversial defender of political theology in the twentieth century. But in his best-known work, The Concept of the Political, issued in 1927, 1932, and 1933, political considerations led him to… More

Leo Strauss: An Introduction to His Thought and Intellectual Legacy

- Thomas Pangle, Leo Strauss: An Introduction to His Thought and Intellectual Legacy, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.
From the publisher: Leo Strauss’s controversial writings have long exercised a profound subterranean cultural influence. Now their impact is emerging into broad daylight, where they have been met with a flurry of poorly informed, often wildly… More

What was Leo Strauss up to? by Steven Lenzner and William Kristol

- Steven Lenzner and William Kristol, "What Was Leo Strauss Up To?," Public Interest, Fall 2003.
Excerpt: Strauss set himself a remarkable task: the revival of Western reading, and therefore, of philosophizing. Strauss claimed that he had rediscovered “a forgotten kind of writing,” and that for almost two centuries the proper manner of… More

Was Leo Strauss Wrong About John Locke?

- James R. Stoner, Jr., "Was Leo Strauss Wrong About John Locke," Claremont Review of Books, 23 December 2002.
Excerpt: Was Leo Strauss wrong about John Locke?  Surely that he was has been the consensus among historians of political thought, though their reasons are sometimes at variance.  The Cambridge school, influenced by the work of John Dunn, interprets… More

Leo Strauss and the Possibility of Philosophy

- Stanley Rosen, "Leo Strauss and the Possibility of Philosophy, The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 53, No. 3 (Mar. 2000).
Excerpt: To put this in another way, Strauss articulated a public teaching that was not necessarily in conflict with his private views on philosophy, but which served as an ambiguous surface to still more ambiguous depths. Strauss takes his bearings in part… More

Leo Strauss and Nietzsche

- Laurence Lampert, Leo Strauss and Nietzsche, University of Chicago Press, 1996.
From the publisher: The influential political philosopher Leo Strauss has been credited by conservatives with the recovery of the great tradition of political philosophy stretching back to Plato. Among Strauss’s most enduring legacies is a strongly… More

Strauss’s Laws

- Mark Blitz, "Strauss's Laws," Political Science Reviewer, Spring 1991.
Excerpt: After quietly sketching these profound questions, Strauss turns to “the beginning of the Laws,” where the Athenian asks Kleinias the Cretan whether a god or a human is responsible for Crete’s laws. A god, Kleinias replies, giving… More

A Return to Classical Political Philosophy and the Understanding of the American Founding

- Christopher Bruell, "A Return to Classical Political Philosophy and the Understanding of the American Founding," The Review of Politics, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Winter 1991).
Excerpt: What is the significance for the understanding of the American Founding of Leo Strauss’s efforts toward the recovery of classical political philosophy? That this is a legitimate question to address to Strauss’s work is suggested by the… More

Leo Strauss and the American Founding

- Thomas G. West, "Leo Strauss and the American Founding," The Review of Politics, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Winter 1991).
Excerpt: Strauss devoted his life to the recovery of classical political philosophy. The incentive for this enterprise was what Strauss called “the crisis of the West.” That crisis “consists in the West’s having become uncertain of its… More

Blasphemy and Leo Strauss’s Machiavelli

- Dante Germino, "Blasphemy and Leo Strauss's Machiavelli," The Review of Politics, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Winter 1991).
Excerpt: In 1966, I published a review article hailing Leo Strauss’s Thoughts on Machiavelli as an instant classic. I also expressed some reservations or “second thoughts” about its conclusions.’ In the intervening years my… More

A Latitude for Statesmanship? Strauss on St. Thomas

- James V. Schall, "A Latitude for Statesmanship? Strauss on St. Thomas," The Review of Politics, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Winter 1991).
Excerpt: Leo Strauss often spoke of Jerusalem and Athens.2 He never spoke of Rome in the same context, never of Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome. Western civilization, in his view, was fertilized by the dynamic tension between only two, not three, cities. This… More

On the Epistolary Dialogue between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin

- Thomas L. Pangle, "On the Epistolary Dialogue between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin," The Review of Politics, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Winter 1991).
Excerpt: The philosophic correspondence between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin, stretching over thirty years, sheds some helpful light on each of the thinkers’ philosophic positions.’ To be sure, only a few of the letters seem truly significant,… More

Leo Strauss: Between Athens and Jerusalem

- Steven B. Smith, "Leo Strauss: Between Athens and Jerusalem," The Review of Politics, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Winter 1991).
Excerpt: Harold Bloom, the Yale literary critic, once described Leo Strauss as “political philosopher and Hebraic sage.”‘ This always seemed to me unusually prescient. For Strauss is most frequently under- stood as an interpreter and critic… More

Strauss before Straussianism: Reason, Revelation, and Nature

- John G. Gunnell, "Strauss before Straussianism: Reason, Revelation, and Nature," The Review of Politics, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Winter 1991).
Excerpt: Despite the impact of Leo Strauss on American political science and political theory, where, exactly, Strauss was “coming from,” in both senses of that phrase, has been far from clear. Carl Friedrich, reviewing the, at that point, unknown… More

Philosophy and Law: Leo Strauss as a Student of Medieval Jewish Thought

- Hillel Fradkin, "Philosophy and Law: Leo Strauss as a Student of Medieval Jewish Thought," The Review of Politics, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Winter 1991).
Excerpt: It is therefore necessary to try to address not only his contributions to the understanding of medieval Jewish thought but the latter’s role in his general legacy. It is only fair to observe that such a requirement attends the consideration of… More

Natural Right and Philosophy

- Stewart Umphrey, "Natural Right and Philosophy," The Review of Politics, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Winter 1991).
Excerpt: “The problem inherent in the surface of things, and only in the surface of things, is the heart of things.” So wrote Leo Strauss in his Thoughts on Machiavelli.’ The sentence may seem to be a passing remark, and yet it states his… More

On a Certain Critique of “Straussianism”

- Nathan Tarcov, "On a Certain Critique of 'Straussianism,'" The Review of Politics, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Winter 1991).
Excerpt: This article examines a certain critique of what I will take the liberty of calling “Straussianism,” a critique which raises questions I believe are worth discussing, especially by all those interested in the work of Leo Strauss. This… More

Leo Strauss and the History of Political Philosophy

- Nathan Tarcov and Thomas L. Pangle, "Epilogue: Leo Strauss and the History of Political Philosophy," History of Political Philosophy, Third Edition, ed. Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey, University of Chicago Press, 1987.
Excerpt: A student using this book might legitimately and naturally wonder about the approach to the teaching of political philosophy presented here. The originator of this approach was the work’s senior editor, Leo Strauss. Born in Germany in 1899, he… More

Strauss on Xenophon’s Socrates

- Christopher Bruell, "Strauss on Xenophon's Socrates," The Political Science Reviewer, Fall 1983.
Excerpt: The following study of Professor Leo Strauss’s writings on Xenophon’s presentation of Socrates will be devoted chiefly to a discussion of his interpretation of the Oeconomicus. A word is therefore in order about this choice and about the… More

Philosophy and History

- Nathan Tarcov, "Philosophy and History: Tradition and Interpretation in the Work of Leo Strauss, Polity, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Autumn, 1983).
Excerpt: The necessity of critical or philosophical activity is increased by the literary character shared to different degrees and purposes by most of the writings Strauss interpreted. “No interpretation of Plato’s teaching,” he says,… More

Strauss’ Natural Right and History

- Richard Kennington, "Strauss' Natural Right and History," Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Sep. 1981).
Excerpt: At the time Strauss published Natural Right and History (1953)  the state of the question of natural right was a mixture of oblivion and fitful restoration. Natural right had disappeared from the center of discussion in political philosophy for well… More

Review of the City and Man

- Seth Benardete, "Leo Strauss' The City and Man," Political Science Reviewer, Fall 1978.
Excerpt: Leo Strauss’ The City and Man seems at first to be a straightforward continuation of all his previous work: the articulation of the theological-political problem. Even the writers he examines here are the same as those who were most present to… More

Strauss’s Machiavelli

- Harvey C. Mansfield, "Strauss's Machiavelli," Political Theory, Nov. 1975, pp. 372-384.
Excerpt: Thoughts on Machiavelli is an exoteric book, that is, a book containing much that is appreciably esoteric to any ordinary reader stated m a manner either so elusive or so challenging as to cause him to give up trying to understand it. In this it is… More

Leo Strauss: September 20, 1899-October 18, 1973

- Allan Bloom, "Leo Strauss: September 20, 1899-October 18, 1973," Political Theory, Vol. 2, No. 4 (Nov. 1974).
Excerpt: On October 18, 1973, Leo Strauss died in Annapolis, Maryland.  He was one of the very small number of men whose thought has had seminal influence in political theory in our time. He published thirteen books during his life (with at least two more… More

Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas

- Quentin Skinner, "Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas," History and Theory, Vol. 8, No. 1 (1969).
Excerpt: My aim is to consider what I take to be the basic question which necessarily arises whenever an historian of ideas’ confronts a work which he hopes to understand. Such an historian may have focused his attention on a work of literature –… More

Philosophy and Politics I and II

- Victor Gourevitch, "Philosophy and Politics I," Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Sep. 1968). Victor Gourevitch, "Philosophy and Politics I," Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Dec. 1968).
Excerpt: On the face of it, On Tyranny is a straightforward commentary on Xenophon’s dialogue Hiero or Tyrannicus. As such it is a very model of thoroughness and learning. It amply repays careful study, and it goes a long way toward explaining… More

Thoughts on Machiavelli by Leo Strauss

- Willmoore Kendall, "Thoughts on Machiavelli by Leo Strauss," Philosophical Review, Vol. 75, No. 2 (Apr. 1966).
Excerpt: One of the marvels of Professor Strauss’s Thoughts on Machiavelli is not so much that it dispels the confusion as to what Machiavelli was up to, and whether he was or was not on the side of the angels (though it does both these things), as that… More

The Philosophers’ Hidden Truth

- Irving Kristol, "The Philosophers' Hidden Truth," Commentary Magazine, October 1952.
Excerpt: It is to the answering of this question, and not only with regard to Plato but also as it affects all pre-Enlightenment thinkers of significance, that Professor Leo Strauss—distinguished occupant of the Charles Merriam chair of political science at… More