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Leo Strauss and His Catholic Readers

This book looks at the work and influence of Leo Strauss in a variety of ways that will be of interest to readers of political philosophy. It will be of particular interest to Catholics and scholars of other religious traditions. Strauss had a great deal of interaction with his contemporary Catholic scholars, and many of his students or their students teach or have taught at Catholic colleges and universities in America. Leo Strauss and His Catholic Readers brings together work by scholars from two continents, some of whom knew Strauss, one of whom was his student at the University of Chicago. The first section of essays considers Catholic responses to Strauss's project of recovering Classical natural right as against modern individual rights. Some of the authors suggest that his approach can be a fruitful corrective to an uncritical reception of modern ideas. Nevertheless, most point out that the Catholic cannot accept all of Strauss's project. The second section deals with areas of overlap between Strauss and Catholics. Some of the chapters explore encounters with his contemporary scholars while others turn to more current concerns. The final section approaches the theological-political question itself, a question central to both Strauss's work and that of the Catholic intellectual tradition. This section of the book considers the relationship of Strauss's work to Christianity and Christian commitments at a broader level. Because Christianity does not have an explicit political doctrine, Christians have found themselves as rulers, subjects, and citizens in a variety of political regimes. Leo Strauss's return to Platonic political philosophy can provide a useful lens through which his Catholic readers can assess what it means for there to be a best regime.

Reviews

"Leo Strauss greatly revived the study of political philosophy in the twentieth century and in the process reinvigorated discussion of the permanent questions of politicsThis meeting of Strauss's mind and Catholic minds is worthy of consideration, for it led to significant questions and debates about faith and reason, the ancient and modern political worlds, the place of the philosopher, and the contest of natural right versus natural law, to name a few."—Richard M. Reinsch II, University Bookman

"In all, Geoffrey Vaughan has compiled a work that is essential not only for students of Strauss and Straussian thought but for anyone, whether Catholic or not, who is interested in questions of faith and reason. It is a worthy tribute to Strauss and his Catholic interlocutors, and essays like Hancock's should lead Catholic readers not to despair over the congruity of fides et ratio but to appreciate the hazards inherent in the tradition of the Christian West. If the synthesis poses a danger, a remedy must be found—but that does not, for the Christian, mean the synthesis must be abandoned."—Daniel McCarthy, Law & Liberty

"All the essays are of extremely high quality, but standouts in the first part are V. Bradley Lewis on Charles McCoy's dialogue with Strauss and Marc Guerra on the shared concerns of Strauss and emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. Fascinating in part 2 are Carson Holloway on Strauss's Progress or Return? and Gary Glenn's essay on the differences between classical natural right and Catholic natural law and Strauss's preference for classical natural right. In the third part, James Stoner's Aristotelian Metaphysics and Modern Science is especially provocative and insightful. Overall, this is an outstanding group of essays by careful and thoughtful readers of Strauss. Required reading for any serious student of Strauss or of the theologico-politcal problem."—M. Harding, Montgomery College, Choice Connect

"A serious, learned, and courageous confrontation with the most radical critique of Catholic synthesis, which deepens and quickens Catholic self-understanding, a bold exercise in clarity and probity. –"—Pierre Manent, author of Metamorphoses of the City

"A rich collection of deeply thoughtful and thought- provoking inquiries into a fraught topic that has been previously inadequately explored but that is crucial for understanding the influence and significance of Leo Strauss. –"—Thomas L. Pangle, University of Texas at Austin

"Sheds much light on Catholic thought's reception of the philosophic inquiries of Leo Strauss, as it carefully explores the welcome contributions as well as the significant challenges that his work addresses to Catholic treatments of law and politics and their relation to faith. The authors are not Catholic Straussians but Catholic scholars seriously engaged with Strauss. For a long time Strauss has been a source for Catholic thinkers who are critical of historicism and who seek to articulate the crisis of modernity. As these essays show, Strauss also provokes Catholics to place more stress on the question of the best regime (moderating traditional emphasis on universal law), to consider anew the contrast between pre-modern and modern natural right and natural law (as recent Catholic teaching has mostly followed the modern tradition), and to reflect on the relation between Platonic claims for the philosophic life as the highest human possibility and biblical injunctions to charity and justice. The volume . . . will be read eagerly by both Catholic and non-Catholic readers interested in Strauss."—Richard Velkley, author of Heidegger, Strauss and the Premises of Philosophy: On Original Forgetting

9780813230436 : leo-strauss-and-his-catholic-readers-vaughan
Hardback
360 Pages
$75.00 USD
9780813233093 : leo-strauss-and-his-catholic-readers-vaughan
Paperback / softback
360 Pages
$34.95 USD

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