Persecution and the Art of Writing by Leo StraussIve heard a lot of discussion about Strauss, but it took long enough for me to actually read him.
This volume has four essays on political philosophy. The first essay, which gives its title to the book, is about a history of obscure or esoteric texts which are artificially difficult and do not discuss all of their ideas directly. This is done for two reasons - to avoid the suspicion of despots and others who want to censor these ideas, and to find other people who can take the effort to read such complicated books.
The other essays are variations on this theme. The essay on Maimonides, for example, shows how he integrated divergent, even heretical, views on Divine Providence in his Guide for the Perplexed.
Persecution and the Art of Writing
Persecution and the Art of Writing, published in by the Free Press, is a book of collected articles written by Leo Strauss. The book contains five previously.
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Persecution and the Art of Writing , published in by the Free Press , is a book of collected articles written by Leo Strauss. The general theme of the book is the relationship between politics and philosophy. The thesis of the book is that many ancient and early modern political philosophers, in order to avoid persecution, hid their most heterodox ideas within their texts. Strauss's general argument—rearticulated throughout his subsequent writings most notably in The City and Man — —is that prior to the 19th century, Western scholars commonly understood that philosophical writing is not at home in any polity, no matter how liberal. Insofar as it questions conventional wisdom at its roots, philosophy must guard itself especially against those readers who believe themselves authoritative, wise, and liberal defenders of the status quo. In questioning established opinions, or in investigating the principles of morality, philosophers of old found it necessary to convey their messages in an oblique manner. Their "art of writing" was the art of esoteric communication.
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Czech version here. I wrote the following essay in the s while in graduate school. It was not written for a class, but merely to clarify my thinking on how to read philosophical texts in anticipation of writing my doctoral dissertation. I have read a good deal of Strauss over the years, and he has been an important influence on how I read philosophical texts. But I never counted myself as a Straussian.