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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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The Peculiarly Socratic Philosophizing

The Peculiarly Socratic Philosophizing

Xenophon’s Gynaikologia

(p.75) Chapter Three The Peculiarly Socratic Philosophizing
The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss

Laurence Lampert

University of Chicago Press

“The Peculiarly Socratic Philosophizing: Xenophon’s Gynaikologia” is a commentary on four chapters of Strauss’s commentary on Xenophon’s Oeconomicus, Xenophon’s Socratic Discourse. In the four chapters in which Strauss put Gynaikologia in the title he treats a core theme of Xenophon’s book, the Socratic turn as Socrates presents it in his one conversation with Ischomachos. Strauss shows how Ischomachos’s relationship with his wife reveals key aspects of the Greek gentleman’s virtue, manly virtue, as well as key aspects of his wife’s virtue, womanly virtue. These seemingly homely topics lead Strauss into Xenophon’s most important themes, nature, order, law and the gods. Strauss puts at the center of his book a discussion of “Cosmetics.” Ischomachos’s wife employment of cosmetics leads her to understand how to master her mastering husband. Socrates learns the cosmetic art from her; he learns philosophy’s need for cosmetics or for exoteric practices that make it politically acceptable.

Keywords:   Gentlemanliness, gods, law, manliness, nature, Oeconomicus, order, Socratic turn, Xenophon, womanliness

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