Morality, nature, and esotericism in Leo Strauss's persecution and the art of writing

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Strauss's historical investigation of the use of exoteric writing in Farabi, Maimonides, Halevi, and Spinoza, is in fact his history of the philosophers' exoteric accommodations to the permanent difference in human natures, the difference between the many who require a categorical moral teaching and the few who are capable of ordering their own lives in the face of the hypothetical status of all moral commands. The men of the Enlightenment aspired to render the moral law superfluous for all by constructing a machinery of government powerful enough to compel all to live justly. Strauss critiques this aspiration by leading his reader to face the permanency of the difference between the few and the many. Strauss uses historical scholarship to force the reader to rethink the possibility of contemplation of the eternal or permanent, the possibility that the Enlightenment's historicist epigones have sought to foreclose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-283
Number of pages23
JournalReview of Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


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