Strauss, Leo 1899-1973

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STRAUSS, Leo 1899-1973

PERSONAL: Born September 20, 1899, in Kirchhain, Germany; died of pneumonia, October 18, 1973, in Annapolis, MD; came to United States, 1938; son of Hugo and Jennie (David) Strauss; married Miriam Bernson, June 20, 1933; children: Jennie, Thomas. Education: University of Hamburg, Ph.D., 1921. Religion: Jewish.

CAREER: Academy for Jewish Research, Berlin, Germany, research assistant, 1925-32; New School for Social Research, New York, NY, professor, 1938-49; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor of political science, 1949-68; Claremont Men's College, Claremont, CA, professor of political science, 1968-69; St. John's College, Annapolis, MD, Scott Buchanan Scholar in residence, 1969-73. Military service: German Army; served in World War I.

MEMBER: American Political Science Association.



Die religionskritik Spinozas als Grundlage seiner Bibelwissenschaft, Akademie-Verlag, 1930, translation by Elsa M. Sinclair published as Spinoza's Critique of Religion, Schocken Books (New York, NY), 1965, reprinted, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1997.

The Political Philosophy of Hobbes: Its Basis and Its Genesis, translation from the original German by Elsa M. Sinclair, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1936, reprinted, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1963.

On Tyranny: An Interpretation of Xenophon's Hiero, edited by Victor Gourevitch and Michael S. Roth, Political Science Classics (New York, NY), 1948, revised edition, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2000.

Natural Right and History, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1950.

Persecution and the Art of Writing, Free Press of Glencoe (New York, NY), 1952, reprinted, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

Thoughts on Machiavelli, Free Press of Glencoe (New York, NY), 1959.

What Is Political Philosophy?: And Other Studies, Free Press of Glencoe (New York, NY), 1959, reprinted, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

(Editor, with Joseph Cropsey) History of Political Philosophy, Rand McNally (Chicago, IL), 1963.

The City and Man, Rand McNally (Chicago, IL), 1964.

Socrates and Aristophanes, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1966.

Liberalism: Ancient and Modern, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1968.

Xenonphon's Socratic Discourse: An Interpretation of the Oeconomicus, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1970.

Xenophon's Socrates, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1972, reprinted, St. Augustine's Press (South Bend, IN), 1998.

The Argument and the Action of Plato's Laws, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1975.

Political Philosophy: Six Essays, edited by Hilail Gilden, Pegasus (New York, NY), 1975.

Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1983.

Philosophy and Law: Essays toward the Understanding of Maimonides and His Predecessors, translation by Fred Baumann, Jewish Publication Society (Philadelphia, PA), 1987.

An Introduction to Political Philosophy: Ten Essays by Leo Strauss, edited by Hilail Gildin, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1989.

The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism: An Introduction to the Thought of Leo Strauss: Essays and Lectures, selected by Thomas L. Pangle, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1989.

Faith and Political Philosophy: The Correspondence between Leo Straus and Eric Voegelin, 1934-1964, edited and translated by Peter Emberley and Barry Cooper, Pennsylvania State University Press (University Park, PA), 1993.

Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity: Essays and Lectures in Modern Jewish Thought, edited by Kenneth Hart Green, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 1997.

Leo Strauss on Plato's Symposium, edited by Seth Benardete, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2001.

Also contributor to Hobbes: Studies, edited by Keith C. Brown, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1965.


(Editor, with others) Moses Mendelssohn, Gesammelte Schriften, Akademie-Verlag, 1929.

Philosphie und Gesetz, Schocken (New York, NY), 1935.

Hobbes politische Wissenschaft, new edition, Luchterhand (Berlin, Germany), 1965.

SIDELIGHTS: A well-known scholar, Leo Strauss was noted for his lucid and insightful interpretations of classical political theories. A reviewer for the New York Times observed that "Strauss is credited with keeping the study of the political classics alive and for showing students that thinkers such as Plato, Machiavelli, and Hobbes were relevant to present-day political dilemmas." Most of Strauss's books were geared toward scholarly readers, but many of his works were of interest to general readers as well.

Reviewers throughout the years have stressed Strauss's role in the study of political philosophy. A Choice critic, for example, said that "Strauss was an eminent and stormy figure in recent American political theory and his comments are important." Ethics critic H. M. Lubasz also noted, "Professor Strauss's arguments are often illuminating and sometimes challenging, so much so that one regrets that he deals almost exclusively with scholarly, historical, textual, interpretative problems rather than with the systematic philosophical problems of contemporary politics."

Leo Strauss on Plato's Symposium, published posthumously, is based on the author's University of Chicago course titled "Plato's Political Philosophy." According to Terry Skeats in Library Journal, "the resulting publication is not only an excellent analysis of an introduction to the Symposium but a text that mirrors the mind and skills of a renowned teacher."



Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.

Turner, Roland, editor, Thinkers of the Twentieth Century, 2nd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1987.


America, September 7, 1963.

American Academy of Political and Social Science Annals, May, 1937; January, 1953; May, 1969.

American Political Science Review, June, 1954.

American Scholar, winter, 1997, Gregory Bruce Smith, "Who Was Leo Strauss?," pp. 95-104.

Choice, February, 1967; January, 1973; November, 1975.

Commentary, October, 1967; January, 1975.

Commonweal, November 4, 1960.

Ethics, April, 1960.

Guardian (London, England), September 19, 1996, Nicholas Lezard "Lezard at Large," p. 15.

Library Journal, June 15, 2001, Terry Skeats, review of On Plato's Symposium, p. 76.

New Republic, July 3, 1989, Charles Larmore, "The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism: Essays and Lectures," pp. 30-34.

New York Times, May 1, 1949.

Political Science & Politics, September 17, 1997, Regina F. Titunik, "Taking Exception," pp. 441-442.

Political Theory, April, 1998, Dana R. Villa, "The Philosopher versus the Citizen: Arendt, Strauss, and Socrates," pp. 147-172; June, 1998, Robb A. McDaniel, "The Nature of Inequality: Uncovering the Modern in Leo Strauss's Idealist Ethics," pp. 317-345.

Reason, November, 1998, Loren E. Lomasky, "Straussed Out," pp. 71-73.

Washington Times, November 29, 1997, Larry Witham, "Challenge for the Skeptics," p. 3.



National Review, December 7, 1973.

New York Times, October 21, 1973.

Social Research, spring, 1974.

Times Literary Supplement, April 9, 1976.

Washington Post, October 23, 1973.*

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