Volume 44, Issue 2/3, Summer/Fall 2014
New Directions in the Thought of Leo Strauss
Philipp von Wussow
Leo Strauss and Julius Guttmann
Some Remakrs on the Understanding of Philosophy and Law
Leo Strauss’s early book Philosophy and Law (Philosophie und Gesetz, 1935) has remained a stumbling block in current Strauss scholarship. This article seeks to explore the text by way of the ensuing debate between Strauss and Julius Guttmann concerning the historical and systematic presuppositions of Jewish philosophy. In decisive respects Guttmann was unable to follow Strauss’s argument, particularly because he could not solve the riddle whether Philosophy and Law was a precursor of the “exoteric” Strauss or not. Furthermore, he miscast the perspective of political philosophy as an all-out politicization of philosophy. Examining these fallacies of interpretation, the article argues for a better understanding of the philosophical and rhetorical strategies employed in Strauss’s Philosophy and Law.