The Platonism of Leo Strauss: A Reply to Harry Jaffa

Thomas L. Pangle, Claremont Review of Books, Spring 1985.


The editor has invited me to respond to Harry Jaffa’s attack in his “Legacy of Leo Strauss” (Claremont Review of Books,vol. III, no. 3, Fall 1984). I do so after considerable hesitation. My initial instinct was to follow the advice implicit in the sage words of Solomon (Proverbs 29:9). But the urging of friends whose judgment I respect, and my own second thoughts, have inclined me to the view that I cannot avoid replying-if only to defend my good name and to warn unsus¬≠pecting readers of the fallaciousness of Jaffa’s authoritative-sounding censure. The truth is, Jaffa is guilty of gross misinterpretation: For reasons known only to him and to God, he has distorted beyond recognition my interpretation of Strauss and of the political philosophizing Strauss resuscitated.

Claremont Institute