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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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Extending the History of Philosophy Back to Homer

Extending the History of Philosophy Back to Homer

Seth Benardete’s Odyssey

(p.156) Chapter Six Extending the History of Philosophy Back to Homer
The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss

Laurence Lampert

University of Chicago Press

The chapter “Extending the History of Philosophy Back to Homer: Seth Benardete’s Odyssey” treats a book by Strauss’s most important follower, Seth Benardete’s The Bow and the Lyre: A Platonic Reading of the Odyssey, his commentary on Homer’s Odyssey. There he shows that the core of Platonic philosophy, an understanding of nature and a theological-political program to advance that understanding, goes back at least as far as Homer. The chapter treats the two central sections of Benardete’s book, “Nature” and “Hades,” and shows how, in “Nature,” Benardete presents Odysseus’s discovery of nature as the greatest event in his odyssey as he recounts it for the wise king of the Phaeacians. In “Hades,” Benardete shows how Odysseus is required by his discovery of nature not only to reestablish order in Ithaca but to found a new theological-political order in which the gods are moral judges of souls now believed to live on in Hades.

Keywords:   Seth Benardete, Hades, Hermes, Homer, nature, Odysseus, Odyssey, Penelope, soul, theological-political order

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