Moral Order in the Western Tradition: Harry Jaffa’s Grand Synthesis of Athens, Jerusalem, and Peoria

Robert P. Kraynak, The Review of Politics 71:02 (Spring 2009).


Harry V. Jaffa has inspired a generation of students in American political thought by defending the natural rights principles of the Declaration of Independence and of Abraham Lincoln. Jaffa is also a defender of Leo Strauss’s idea of a “political science of natural right,” which Strauss drew primarily from classical Greek political philosophy. Jaffa’s efforts to defend the several strands of the Western natural right tradition led him to develop a grand synthesis of “Athens, Jerusalem, and Peoria,” which I argue is a noble but untenable way of upholding the moral order of the West—and a departure from the intentions of Leo Strauss.

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