Encounters & ReflectionsConversations with Seth Benardete

Encounters & ReflectionsConversations with Seth Benardete

Seth Benardete and Ronna Burger

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226042787

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


This book presents a portrait of the life and works of Seth Benardete that reflects on both the people he knew and the topics which fascinated him throughout his career. The first part of the book discloses vignettes about fellow students, colleagues, and acquaintances of Benardete's who later became major figures in the academic and intellectual life of twentieth-century America. We glimpse the student days of Alan Bloom, Stanley Rosen, George Steiner, and discover the life of the mind as lived by well-known scholars such as David Grene, Jacob Klein, and Benardete's mentor Leo Strauss. We also encounter a number of other learned, devoted, and sometimes eccentric luminaries, including T.S. Eliot, James Baldwin, Werner Jaeger, John Davidson Beazley, and Willard Quine. In the book's second part, Benardete reflects on his own intellectual growth and on his ever-evolving understanding of the texts and ideas he spent a lifetime studying. Revisiting some of his recurrent themes—among them eros and the beautiful, the city and the law, and the gods and the human soul—he shares his views on thinkers such as Plato, Homer, and Heidegger, as well as the relations between philosophy and science, and between Christianity and ancient Roman thought.