Strauss and Textual Reasoning
While in his mature work, Strauss famously dedicated himself to the study and teaching of Platonic political philosophy, the medieval and modern Jewish sources remained important instantiations and sources of the problems that concerned him and to whose clearer conception he contributed his historical and philological work. Strauss remained committed to the study of Maimonides, and to developing his own position on him, as well as to what he considered the modern Jewish theological-political conundrum.
The present issue of Textual Reasoning is a modest attempt to raise the question whether Strauss has something to teach us about the project of textual reasoning. Can Leo Strauss provide a model for a renewal of Jewish text study and Jewish thought? Has Strauss paradoxically created a way of harmonizing Judaism and philosophy by exploring their radical difference? What else is the program, formulated by the early Leo Strauss, of “learning through reading” than a universal application of the post-liberal imperative of textual reasoning? Strauss taught students of Plato, Macchiavelli, and Spinoza how to understand an author as he understood himself yet, from the beginning to the end of his hermeneutic adventures, Maimonides stands out as the author whose Guide tested Strauss’s mastery the most. Strauss belongs among the foremost critics of modern hermeneutics but are his strategies of use to the work of textual reasoning and postmodern Jewish text study? Despite all the great work done by Kenneth Hart Green and others, there remains much room for an exploration of Strauss as a reader of Jewish sources, from the Bible to Rosenzweig.
Leo Strauss and Hermann Cohen’s “Archenemy”: A Quasi-Cohenian Apology of Baruch Spinoza
Irene Abigail Piccinini