The German Stranger
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The German Stranger : Leo Strauss and National Socialism

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The German Stranger provides a guide to Leo Strauss that situates his thought in the context of National Socialism; by destroying any middle ground between 'Athens' and 'Jerusalem,' Strauss undermined modernity's secular bulwark against political theology. Once National Socialism is understood as an atheistic religion re-enacted by post-Revelation 'philosophers,' the German avatar of Plato's Athenian Stranger can be recognized as its principal theoretician.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 618 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 43.18mm | 1,088.62g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0739147374
  • 9780739147375
  • 1,714,996

Review quote

Philosophically trained and philologically inclined, Altman marshals stupendous erudition and dazzling wit in the service of what is both a necessary and a preliminary task in the pursuit of a recovery of the Platonic and biblical foundations of western humanity. Humanity is the cause for the sake of which this book was written. -- From the foreword by Michael Zank No other critic of Leo Strauss has provided such an erudite, meticulous, imaginative, and eloquent study of his writings. Friend or foe, anyone who wants to participate intelligently in the "Strauss Wars" will need to scrutinize and confront this extraordinary book. -- Peter Minowitz, author of Straussophobia: Defending Leo Strauss and Straussians against Shadia Drury and other Accusers Altman's important, richly detailed study of Strauss' life and work is likely to change many views of who he was and what he stood for, above all as concerns his complex relations with such pro-Nazi German intellectuals as Heidegger and Schmitt. -- Tom Rockmore, Duquesne University The German Stranger is a fascinating read. Altman takes up an extraordinarily difficult subject-Leo Strauss's relationship to German National Socialism-and handles it with genuine grace and insight. Unafraid to raise troubling and uncomfortable questions regarding Strauss's exoteric style of writing and its relationship to politics, Altman succeeds in providing an excellent analysis of Strauss's relation to the Western philosophical tradition as an exercise in political analysis. By looking critically at Strauss's early philosophical development as a student of Heidegger and considering his relationship to important Jewish thinkers such as Karl Lowith, Gershom Scholem, Franz Rosenzweig, and others, Altman manages to present a convincing portrait of Strauss as a thinker with deep sympathies for a National Socialist worldview. As paradoxical and shocking as this might sound, Altman manages to show how Strauss's thought was deeply influenced by National Socialist ideas and how he was able to suppress such sympathies when he later arrived in the United States. For anyone interested in deconstructing the portrait of Strauss as the spiritual forefather of the Bush-Cheney political crowd, Altman's book will prove eye opening. After reading this work, I came away with a deep appreciation for Altman's breadth of knowledge and philosophical-political insight into long-standing questions about the contradictions implicit in the Western philosophical tradition. For what Altman's project entails is nothing other than a fundamental rethinking of the Platonic and biblical foundations of Western thought. Anyone interested in the work of Strauss or Heidegger will undoubtedly find real gems of insight in this comprehensive and illuminating work. -- Charles Bambach, University of Texas at Dallasshow more

About William H. F. Altman

William H. F. Altman teaches Latin and World History at E. C. Glass, a public high school in Lynchburg, Virginia..show more

Table of contents

1 Foreword 2 Preface 3 Introduction: From Weimar to Crete 4 Chapter 1. The Enduring Influence of F.H. Jacobi 5 Chapter 2. The Double Envelopment of Cultural Zionism 6 Chapter 3. The Only Great Thinker in Our Time 7 Chapter 4. A Radical Critique of Liberalism 8 Chapter 5. The Last Word in "Secularization" 9 Chapter 6. To Master the Art of Writing 10 Chapter 7. The Theological-Political Problem's Final Solution 11 Chapter 8. The Aristeia of Leo Strauss 12 Chapter 9. Ancients and Nazis 13 Conclusion: Of Enemies and Friends; A Liberal's Responseshow more

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