Remembering Harry Jaffa

W. B. Allen, Hillsdale College, 2015.


Remember Harry Jaffa as he remembered himself: Leo Strauss’s best student.  In nothing did Jaffa  so powerfully affect the imaginations of near colleagues as in that claim of precedence.  Perhaps, though, his putative rivals misunderstood the nature of his claim.  Rather than the affectation of a teacher’s pet, Harry Jaffa’s thinking turned on his appreciation of what it meant to further Strauss’s project.  He believed that he had advanced that project more substantially than any other of Strauss’s acolytes.  What he revealed at bottom in his claim, therefore, is that he was pre‐eminently an acolyte.  He never affected to achieve beyond Strauss.  He claimed only to realize the goal of Strauss’s teaching, having experienced a conversion like unto that of Saul’s in the road to Damascus.

Hillsdale College