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Jewish Philosophy in a Secular Age

Kenneth Seeskin

Publication Year: 1990

Clearly written, historically sophisticated, Jewish Philosophy in a Secular Age presents a running dialogue between a rationalist understanding of religion and its many critics, ranging from Descartes and Hume to Kierkegaard, Buber, and Fackenheim. The author confronts such classical problems as divine attributes, creation, revelation, suspension of the ethical, ethics and secular philosophy, the problem of evil, and the importance of the Holocaust. On each issue, the author sets the terms of the debate and works toward a constructive resolution.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

The editor gratefully acknowledges permission to reprint the writings of Leo Strauss from the following sources...

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Editor's Preface

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pp. xi-xvii

The following is a collection of essays and lectures written by Leo Strauss in the field of modem Jewish thought, which have been gathered together for the first time. It is meant to offer the reader an introduction to the enormous range of Strauss's Jewish interests...

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Editor's Introduction: Leo Strauss as a Modern Jewish Thinker

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pp. 1-84

It has long been established that Leo Strauss (1899-1973) is one of the leading political thinkers of the twentieth century. In recent years, however, another side of Leo Strauss has been discovered that may be of equal, if not greater, significance: his contribution as a Jewish scholar...

I: Essays in Modern Jewish Thought

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pp. 85-177

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1. Progress or Return? The Contemporary Crisis in Western Civilization

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pp. 87-136

The title of this lecture indicates that progress has become a problem— that it could seem as if progress has led us to the brink of an abyss, and it is therefore necessary to consider alternatives to it. For example, to stop where we are, or else, if this should be impossible, to return...

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2. Preface to Spinoza's Critique of Religion

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pp. 137-177

The study on Spinoza's Theologico-Political Treatise to which this was a preface was written during the years 1925-28 in Germany. The author was a young Jew born and raised in Germany who found himself in the grips...

II. Studies of Modern Jewish Thinkers

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pp. 179-282

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3. How to Study Spinoza's Theologico-Political Treatise

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pp. 181-233

Before attempting to answer the question of how to proceed in a particular historical investigation, one must clarify the reasons why the investigation is relevant. In fact, the reasons which induce one to study a particular historical subject immediately determine tlle general

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4. Preface to Isaac Husik, Philosophical Essays: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern

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pp. 235-266

A decade ago Isaac Husik died. To the many men and women who knew him and came within the influence of a life marked by simplicity, gentleness, and genuine humor, no fitter description could be made than that...

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5. Introductory Essay to Hermann Cohen, Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism

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pp. 267-282

I doubt whether I am the best mediator between Hermann Cohen (1842-1918) and the present-day American reader. I grew up in an environment in which Cohen was the center of attraction for philosophically minded Jews who were devoted to Judaism...

III. Lectures on Contemporary Jewish Issues

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pp. 283-356

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6. Freud on Moses and Monotheism

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pp. 285-309

In the last lecture which I had the honor to give at Hillel House, which was some years ago, I had to plead that a hearing be given to a philosophy which is wholly alien to me, but by which I could not help being impressed...

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7. Why We Remain Jews: Can Jewish Faith and History Still Speak to Us?

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pp. 311-356

Joseph Cropsey, Chairman: It is a strange title, and has the simultaneous characteristics of being apparently somewhat narrow and at the same time apparently bold. It seems to be narrow in being apparently addressed to Jews...

IV. Studies on the Hebrew Bible

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pp. 357-405

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8. On the Interpretation of Genesis

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pp. 359-376

I want to begin with the remark that I am not a biblical scholar; I am a political scientist specializing in political theory. Political theory is frequently said to be concerned with the values of the Western world. These values, as is well known...

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9. Jerusalem and Athens: Some Preliminary Reflections

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pp. 377-405

All the hopes that we entertain in the midst of the confusions and dangers of the present are founded positively or negatively, directly or indirectly on the experiences of the past. Of these experiences the broadest and deepest...

V. Comments on Jewish History

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pp. 407-414

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10. What Is Political Philosophy? [The First Paragraph]

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pp. 409-

It is a great honor, and at the same time a challenge, to accept a task of particular difficulty, to be asked to speak about political philosophy in Jerusalem. In this city, and in this land, the theme of political philosophy...

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11. Review of J. L. Talman, The Nature of Jewish History - Its Universal Significance

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pp. 411-

This is an earnest statement by a man who is both a Jew and a historian rather than a Jewish historian. According to him, the historian who studies the fate of the Jewish people cannot and need not go back behind the fact that the Jewish people...

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12. Letter to the Editor: The State of Israel

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pp. 413-414

For some time I have been receiving National Review, and I agree with many articles appearing in the journal. There is, however, one feature of the journal which I completely fail to comprehend. It is incomprehensible to me that the authors...

VI. Miscellaneous Writings on Jews and Judaism

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pp. 415-445

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13. Introduction to Persecution and the Art of Writing

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pp. 417-429

The subject matter of the following essays may be said to fall within the province of the sociology of knowledge. Sociology of knowledge does not limit itself to the study of knowledge proper. Being critical in regard to its own basis...

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14. Perspectives on the Good Society

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pp. 431-445

At the request of Professor Rylaarsdam I attended a Jewish-Protestant colloquium sponsored by the Divinity School of the University of Chicago and the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. I attended the colloquium...

VII. Autobiographical Reflections

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15. An Unspoken Prologue to a Public Lecture at St. John's College in Honor of Jacob Klein

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pp. 449-452

The common sense of mankind has granted old men certain privileges in order to compensate them for the infirmities of old age or to make it easier for them to indulge those infirmities. Not the least of these privileges...

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16. Preface to Hobbes Politische Wissenschaft

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pp. 453-456

The present study of Hobbes, which now appears for the first time in the German original, was composed in 1934-35 in England, and published in 1936 in English translation. Ernest Barker wrote a preface for the English edition...

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17. A Giving of Accounts: Jacob Klein and Leo Strauss

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pp. 457-466

The following giving of accounts took place at St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland, on 30 January 1970. Jacob Klein and Leo Strauss were introduced by Dean Robert A. Goldwin...

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Appendix 1: Plan of a Book Tentatively Entitled Philosophy and the Law: Historical Essays

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pp. 467-470

Although certain parts of the book will necessarily be of a more technical nature, the book as a whole is meant as an introduction to the understanding of Jewish medieval philosophy. Its purpose is to remind, not merely the scholar...

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Appendix 2: Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero [The Last Paragraph]

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pp. 471-473

The utmost I can hope to have shown in taking issue with Kojeve's thesis regarding the relation of tyranny and wisdom is that Xenophon's thesis regarding that grave subject is not only compatible with the idea...

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Appendix 3: Memorial Remarks for Jason Aronson

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pp. 475-476

We are struck by the awesome, unfathomable experience of death, of the death of one near and dear to us. We are grieved particularly because our friend died so young—when he was about to come into his own, to enter...

Sources

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pp. 477-478

Bibliography: Selected Works on Leo Strauss as a Modern Jewish Thinker

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pp. 479-487

Index

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pp. 489-505

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781438419336
E-ISBN-10: 1438419333
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791401040
Print-ISBN-10: 0791401049

Page Count: 246
Publication Year: 1990

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Subject Headings

  • Jewish philosophy.
  • Judaism -- 20th century.
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