Prophecy and the Perfect Political Order: The Political Theology of Leo Strauss
Rabbi Haim O. Rechnitzer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Jewish Thought, recently published Prophecy and the Perfect Political Order: The Political Theology of Leo Strauss, which focuses on the theological-political problem, the inherent tensions between religion, human intellect and political society are the focus of the book.
Strauss (1899-1973), one of the greatest scholars of political philosophy, never produced an independent philosophy. Instead, his philosophical thought is entwined within commentary on the works of Maimonides, Hobbes, Spinoza, Nietzsche, and others. In this book, it is reconstructed through a comprehensive investigation of his works.
Strauss placed himself in opposition to his teachers and colleagues Herman Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, and Martin Buber. He challenged their syntheses of Judaism and modernism, which he believed damaged the integrity and the potential progress of Judaism and of Western society as a whole. Profoundly influenced by Maimonides, Strauss insisted on keeping our minds open for the possibility of revelation, rooted in the past. Assisted by his uniquely Platonic interpretation of Nietzsche’s’ philosophy, Strauss tried to point a way to overcome what he perceived as the “crisis of Modernity.”
This book is the first work in Hebrew that is dedicated solely to a comprehensive exposition of Strauss’ thought. It paves a way for the inclusion of Strauss’ works into the Israeli reader’s Jewish canon, with the hope that his teachings will contribute to the examination of the foundation of Israeli society and its quest to form a Jewish and democratic state.
Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation’s oldest institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR’s scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement’s congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR’s campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish history, identity, art, and archaeology, and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.