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.


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 reading the greatest works of the past had apparently disappeared. If Strauss in fact rediscovered the art of writing, then he made possible the revival of Western letters. If Strauss’s work is sound, he made it possible for us today to appreciate great books in the spirit and manner in which they were written. And the almost universal vehemence with which his rediscovery was initially denounced and ridiculed by the scholarly world demonstrated just how completely this art had been lost.

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