This work is a collection of old and new essays by one of America’s leading thinkers. A true tour-de-force, it offers an excellent introduction to the great themes of Leon Kass’s life work. From the publisher: Most American young people, like… More
Summary: Leon R. Kass has been helping Americans better understand the human condition for over four decades—as a teacher, writer, scholar, public champion of the humanities, and defender of human dignity. From bioethics to civic education, from… More
Summary: This wonderfully rich anthology uses the soul-shaping power of story, speech, and song to help Americans realize more deeply—and appreciate more fully—who they are as citizens of the United States. At once inspiring and thought-provoking, What… More
Excerpt: American society is aging—dramatically, rapidly, and largely well. More and more people are living healthily into their seventies and eighties, many well into their nineties. With birth rates down, with the baby boomers approaching retirement, we… More
Excerpt: This report differs from, yet complements, the Council’s work in its previous publications. In Human Cloning and Human Dignity, we addressed the limited topic of human cloning—what to think and what to do about it—and offered specific… More
Excerpt: I am pleased to present to you Monitoring Stem Cell Research, a report of the President’s Council on Bioethics. Over the past two years, in keeping with your stated intention, the Council has been monitoring developments in stem cell research,… More
At the onset of Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity, Leon Kass gives us a status report on where we stand today: “Human nature itself lies on the operating table, ready for alteration, for eugenic and psychic ‘enhancement,’ for wholesale redesign.… More
Summary: Increasingly, advances in biomedical science and technology raise profound challenges to familiar human practices and ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. It is no wonder, then, that bioethics touches matters close to the core of our humanity:… More
Excerpt: Biotechnology offers exciting and promising prospects for healing the sick and relieving the suffering. But exactly because of their impressive powers to alter the workings of body and mind, the “dual uses” of the same technologies make… More
Summary: As ardent debates over creationism fill the front pages of newspapers, Genesis has never been more timely. And as Leon R. Kass shows in The Beginning of Wisdom, it’s also timeless. Examining Genesis in a philosophical light, Kass presents it not… More
What makes a people a people? What forms their communal identity, holds them together, guides their lives? To what do they look up? For what should they strive? These questions have risen to the surface in our turbulent times, as controversy swirls about the… More
Excerpt: The essay below is adapted from Founding God’s Nation: Reading Exodus by Leon R. Kass, forthcoming from Yale University Press in January 2021. The biblical book of Exodus, writes Kass in his Introduction, “not only recounts the founding of the… More
Excerpt: I thank Michael Fishbane, Peter Berkowitz, Gilbert Meilaender, and Meir Soloveichik for their generous treatment of my essay, for their serious engagement with its themes, and for their most interesting comments from which I have learned… More
Excerpt: The biblical book of Genesis presents the story of how God’s new way for humankind finds its first adherent in a single individual-Abraham, a man out of Mesopotamia-and how that way survives through three generations in the troubled households… More
Summary: This case should be decided on the basis of the law, without reliance on the social science studies and authorities that Respondents and their amici will undoubtedly put before the Court. The social and behavioral sciences have a long history of… More
Excerpt: On this occasion twenty years ago, in his Boyer Lecture entitled “The Cultural Revolution and the Capitalist Future,” Irving Kristol explored the growing gap between our thriving capitalist economy and our unraveling bourgeois culture.… More
Excerpt: All human beings are mortal, and nearly all of us know it. But for most of us, through much of our lives, this knowledge remains largely below the level of consciousness. The arrival of cancer—in our own life or the life of our loved… More
Excerpt: What exactly do we celebrate on Veterans Day? To be sure, we mean to honor the brave men and women, living and dead, who have fought America’s battles, past and present. But honor them how, and for what? About these matters, we lack a clear… More
Excerpt: Parades. Backyard barbecues. Fireworks. This is how many of us will celebrate the Fourth of July. In earlier times, the day was also marked with specially prepared orations celebrating our founding principles, a practice that has disappeared without… More
Excerpt: Flag Day is unusual. Commemorating the birthday of the American flag, adopted in the midst of the American Revolution by the Second Continental Congress, Flag Day is not an official federal holiday. Instead, by an act of Congress passed in 1949, the… More
Leon Kass discusses his work on Exodus on Conversations with Bill Kristol.
Leon Kass joined the American University Politics and the Humanities podcast to discuss his recent work on the Book of Exodus.
Leon Kass joined the Mosaic Podcast to discuss his work on the Book of Exodus.
Leon Kass discusses his new book Leading a Worthy Life with Liberty Law Fellow Richard Reinsch.
In an interview with Jonathan Silver, Leon Kass discuss the Ten Commandments.
Leon Kass discusses the Ten Commandments at the Program on Constitutional Government lunchtime seminar series, convened by Harvey Mansfield.
Diana Schaub and Leon Kass discuss the Gettysburg Address.
In this 2014 release from Conversations with Bill Kristol, Leon and Amy Kass discuss the themes of their writing and teaching careers.
When we last left Leon Kass, he was talking about the passions that “lurk in the hearts of men” and the guidance the Hebrew Bible can give us in learning how to channel them. Now we move from the formation of the individual and the family to the… More
The revelation at Sinai was a “phantasmagoric experience” where sight became sound, sound became sight, and the people stood in awe and confusion. But what about us, today? Can we, just by reading, vicariously experience the awe of the children at the… More
What is the significance of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address? Is it a funeral oration, a victory speech, a policy pitch, or something more? Was Lincoln’s purpose to break with a tainted national past, or to redefine it? “Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg… More
Why do we have national public holidays? What does each—and what do all—contribute to our common life as Americans? The American Calendar explores the purpose and meaning of our civic holidays, showing how their repeated celebration helps unite and… More
What kind of citizens are likely to emerge in a nation founded on individual rights, equality, enterprise and commerce, and freedom of religion? What virtues are required for a robust citizenry? The Meaning of America explores American character and American… More
Courses Taught: St. John’s College Sophomore Laboratory (Biology) Freshman Seminar (Great Books, Greeks) Preceptorials on: Aristotle, De Anima Darwin, Origin of Species Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics Georgetown University Philosophy of Nature: The Organism… More
1972-1976 — Tutor, St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland 1973-1974 — Independent research on “Concepts of Organism, Species, and Health – Ancient and Modern,” supported by grant from National Endowment for the Humanities… More