Leo Strauss was a twentieth-century German Jewish émigré to the United States whose intellectual corpus spans ancient, medieval and modern political philosophy and includes, among others, studies of Plato, Maimonides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, and Nietzsche. Strauss wrote mainly as a historian of philosophy and most of his writings take the form of commentaries on important thinkers and their writings. Yet as he put it: “There is no inquiry into the history of philosophy that is not at the same time a philosophical inquiry” (PL, p. 41). While much of his philosophical project involved an attempt to rethink pre-modern philosophy, the impetus for this reconsideration and the philosophical problems that vexed Strauss most were decidedly modern. Strauss especially worried about the modern philosophical grounds for political and moral normativity as well as about the philosophical, theological, and political consequences of what he took to be modern philosophy's overinflated claims for the self-sufficiency of reason. . . .
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