Sample Essay

For Strauss, Jerusalem and Athens are the two roots of Western civilization and to choose between the two is like choosing the life under the surveillance of Divine law or life under freedom. The Athens vs Jerusalem dichotomy played a major role in the later works of Strauss. Strauss’s career as a scholar is about the journey from Jerusalem (Spinoza and Maimonides) to Athens (Plato and Xenophon). Remi Brague in ‘Athens, Jerusalem, Mecca: Leo Strauss’s Muslim Understanding of Greek Philosophy’ throws light on another interesting and new point that Mecca synthesizes the two (Athens and Jerusalem) .

Strauss’s interpretation of Plato is grounded on the understanding of philosophical style of Farabi’s view. Strauss’s rediscovery of esotericism depends on Islamic conception of revelation in opposition to the Christian conception. He made the center of his study of Hobbes with the context of investigation of the origins of biblical criticism of 17th century (Spinoza’s ‘Theological political Treatise’) and it was from then that he made the theological political problem the theme of his investigations. He was more concerned with premodern Judaism than the modern Judaism while he focused more on modernity in general than Jewish modernity. His works which deal with the impact of modernity on Jews and Judaism through light not only on Strauss’s own pattern of thinking but also on the ways in which Jews have responded to the challenges in the anti-Jewish stance in Strauss’s native land (Germany) and all over the world. In his first book ‘Spinoza’s Critique of Religion’ he reflects on the process of evolution of his thought pattern at the beginning of his intellectual development when he was passionate about the solution of the Jewish problem.

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