On the Epistolary Dialogue between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin

Thomas L. Pangle, "On the Epistolary Dialogue between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin," The Review of Politics, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Winter 1991).


The philosophic correspondence between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin, stretching over thirty years, sheds some helpful light on each of the thinkers’ philosophic positions.’ To be sure, only a few of the letters seem truly significant, and it would of course be a mistake to allow the rather informal and ad hoc remarks in any of the letters to eclipse either theorist’s considered and matured published reflections. Moreover, the correspondence peters out in the mid-fifties, after which each thinker arguably made important modifications in his respective outlook. But the letters, or at least the most significant, do not seem careless; the principal issues addressed go to the very heart of things; and if the letters are interpreted with careful attention to the contemporary published, as well as some unpublished, writings, then, it seems to me, the engagement between the two theorists does indeed clarify some of the more obscure but weighty premises and implications of the two philosophic positions.