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Strauss, Leo (1899–1973)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-S092-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

Leo Strauss was a German-Jewish émigré political philosopher and historian of political thought, who wrote some fifteen books and eighty articles on the history of political thought from Socrates to Nietzsche. Strauss was no ordinary historian of ideas; he used the history of thought as a vehicle for expressing his own ideas. In his writings, he contrasted the wisdom of ancient philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle with the foolhardiness of modern philosophers such as Hobbes and Locke. He thought that the loss of ancient wisdom was the reason for the ‘crisis of the West’ – an expression that was in part a reference to the barbarities of the Holocaust. He therefore sought to recover the lost wisdom. He studied the classics and was a great devotee of Plato and Aristotle. However, he developed unusual interpretations of classical texts.

Citing this article:
Drury, Shadia B.. Strauss, Leo (1899–1973), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-S092-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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