Yuval Levin, National Review Online, January 11, 2015.
Jaffa was perhaps best known for his contributions to our understanding of Abraham Lincoln’s political thought. Even amid the staggering profusion of books about Lincoln — surely the most thoroughly examined American political figure — Jaffa’s greatest book, Crisis of the House Divided, easily stands out. It is a masterful work of analysis, filled with brilliant gems that have lost none of their shine in the 55 years since the book was published. Any scholar would be lucky to leave behind such a contribution, but Jaffa leaves behind much more than that. Although his other work tends to be overshadowed by his case for Lincoln, he was, among other things, a path-breaking and important scholar of Aristotle’s political thought and its implications, and his first book, Thomism and Aristotelianism, remains an underappreciated masterpiece. Shakespeare’s Politics, which Jaffa co-authored with Allan Bloom in 1964, also deserves an audience these days, especially for Jaffa’s chief contribution — an extended analysis of the opening scene of King Lear that stands as a model of how students of philosophy and human affairs can help draw wisdom out of great works of art.
National Review Online