Between Athens and Jerusalem: Philosophy, Prophecy, and - download pdf or read online


By David Janssens

ISBN-10: 0791473910

ISBN-13: 9780791473917

Examines the early works of German-Jewish political thinker Leo Strauss (1899-1973).

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Extra resources for Between Athens and Jerusalem: Philosophy, Prophecy, and Politics in Leo Strauss's Early Thought

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To boot, he adds, the Bible itself can be seen to contain several natural, causal explanations that support this perspective: Thus, the biblical sources themselves give us the possibility of arriving at a—perhaps not deep, but nevertheless accurate—conception of the beginnings of our people. 44 In this pragmatic perspective, the traditional, theological reading of the Bible must be considered as the product of the particular conditions of galut, in which the Jewish people were cut off from historical and political reality.

Rather, he develops his own approach in a critical reading of Cohen’s essay. For, if he praises Cohen’s courage in contesting the prevailing view, he also suggests that Cohen may have gone too far. In particular, his “biographical” reading of the Theological-Political Treatise leads to a misguided interpretation. Whether Spinoza was actually driven by anti-Jewish sentiments is without importance, Strauss insists. 4 According to Cohen, the connection between politics and theology implied by the title of the Treatise is contingent, a mere reflection of Spinoza’s contingent personal interests.

The Enlightenment’s reflexive turn, which is associated with Immanuel Kant, set limits to reason, and thus created new space for religion. The latter, nevertheless, paid a high price for this commodity: it was compelled to abandon its claim to transcendence and to truth. The place of transcendence was taken by the transcendental constitution of religious consciousness as a necessary postulate of reason. ”47 Reduced to a mere postulate, religion could be related to various aspects of human experience, but without the claim to transcendence, it was cut off from the source that nourished and sustained it.

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Between Athens and Jerusalem: Philosophy, Prophecy, and Politics in Leo Strauss's Early Thought by David Janssens

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