Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226307015 Published May 2013
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226307039 Published May 2013

Leo Strauss and the Rediscovery of Maimonides

Kenneth Hart Green

Kenneth Hart Green

224 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2012
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226307015 Published May 2013
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226307039 Published May 2013
In Leo Strauss and the Rediscovery of Maimonides, Kenneth Hart Green explores the critical role played by Maimonides in shaping Leo Strauss’s thought. In uncovering the esoteric tradition employed in Maimonides’s Guide of the Perplexed, Strauss made the radical realization that other ancient and medieval philosophers might be concealing their true thoughts through literary artifice. Maimonides and al-Farabi, he saw, allowed their message to be altered by dogmatic considerations only to the extent required by moral and political imperatives and were in fact avid advocates for enlightenment. Strauss also revealed Maimonides’s potential relevance to contemporary concerns, especially his paradoxical conviction that one must confront the conflict between reason and revelation rather than resolve it.
An invaluable companion to Green’s comprehensive collection of Strauss’s writings on Maimonides, this volume shows how Strauss confronted the commonly accepted approaches to the medieval philosopher, resulting in both a new understanding of Maimonides and a new depth and direction for his own thought. It will be welcomed by anyone engaged with the work of either philosopher.

Ralph Lerner, University of Chicago
“Kenneth Green’s collection of essays rigorously retraces the stages by which Strauss came to see Maimonides and his teachings in a new light. Leo Strauss and the Rediscovery of Maimonides is an ambitious attempt to see Strauss’s preoccupation with Maimonides as a manifestation of his overall philosophical concerns.”

Jewish Libraries Newsletter
“Green synthesizes Strauss’s thoughts about Maimonides, providing their intellectual context and chronological development. A central theme of the book is how and why Strauss believed that Maimonides held the keys to unlocking the problems encountered by modern Western people. Green’s deep familiarity with Strauss’s writings allows him to blend them into an integrated whole, and the footnotes to the book provide references to ongoing developments in scholarship.”
International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion
“If Maimonides allows readers a new beginning with respect to an understanding of philosophy, and if Strauss allows readers a similarly new beginning concerning Maimonides’s thought, then surely Kenneth Hart Green’s two impressive new volumes allow readers an analogous beginning concerning the thought of Leo Strauss as it pertains to the question of revealed Law and reason—or, as Strauss put it, “Jerusalem and Athens.’ . . . Where Leo Strauss on Maimonides is marked by its systematic completeness (as much as, in any event, can reasonably be expected from one volume), Leo Straussand the Rediscovery of Maimonides gives a more spacious and open-ended presentation of the Strauss-Maimonides relation; as a companion volume, it surveys the forest in which the trees presented in the former volume reside.”
Review of Politics
“Do we need medieval wisdom, and to explore anew the foundations of modern rationalism? Green gives a resolutely positive answer to these questions in his comprehensive study on Leo Strauss’s lifelong exploration of Maimonides’s work. His study is written in a personal and pleasing style which makes it a fitting companion to his recent edition of Strauss’s complete writings on this twelfth-century Jewish leader, physician, and philosopher. . . . One more significant contribution by Green to our understanding of Strauss’s work and to the contemporary resources for thinking through the theologico-political problem.”

ONE The Unanticipated Maimonides
TWO Strauss and Irony: Bypassing the Maimonidean Scholars
THREE Maimonides and the Free Mind
FOUR Untying the Literary Knots: Maimonides the Poet
FIVE Why the Moderns Need the Medievals
SIX Absorbing and Surpassing the Alternatives
SEVEN The Maimonidean Revolution: Western Tradition as Reason and Revelation


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