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The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss$
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Laurence Lampert

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226039480

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226039510.001.0001

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Exotericism Embraced

Exotericism Embraced

“The Law of Reason in the Kuzari

(p.32) Chapter Two Exotericism Embraced
The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss

Laurence Lampert

University of Chicago Press

“The Law of Reason in the Kuzari” occupies a special place in Strauss’s writings because it treats the theme of “what a philosopher is” or “the relation of philosophy to social or political life.” Strauss’s essay is a commentary on Yehuda Halevi’s dialogue, the Kuzari. By showing how philosophy is treated by a thinker who came to philosophy within Judaism in the twelfth century, Strauss shows how philosophy and Judaism are antithetical and therefore why the philosopher must adopt a strict practice of exotericism to shelter himself and philosophy from the suspicion of heresy and disloyalty. On the positive side, Strauss shows the advantage of monotheism for moral order and hence Halevi’s positive reason for abandoning the religions of the philosophers for a religion of revelation. Not incidentally, the essay provides Strauss’s reasons for his own exoteric practice.

Keywords:   esotericism, exotericism, Halevi, monotheism, morality, revelation, Leo Strauss, philosopher

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