Leo Strauss On Plato's Symposium

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9780226776866: Leo Strauss On Plato's Symposium

The first major piece of unpublished work by Leo Strauss to appear in more than thirty years, this volume offers the public the unprecedented experience of encountering this renowned scholar as his students did. Given as a course in autumn 1959 under the title "Plato's Political Philosophy," these provocative lectures—until now, never published, but instead passed down from one generation of students to the next—show Strauss at his subtle and insightful best.

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The first major piece of unpublished work by Leo Strauss to appear in more than thirty years, Leo Strauss On Plato's "Symposium" offers the public the unprecedented experience of encountering this renowned scholar as his students did. Given as a course in autumn 1959 under the title "Plato's Political Philosophy," at the University of Chicago, these transcripts previously had circulated in samizdat fashion, passed down from one generation of students to the next. They show Strauss at his best, in his subtle and sometimes indirect style of analysis, which has attracted almost as much commentary as has the content of his thought.

Strauss presents a coherent and complete interpretation of the Symposium, proceeding by a meticulous reading from beginning to end. Operating on the once common hypothesis that commentary is an excellent method of expounding the truth, Strauss sheds light not only on the meaning of the dialogue and its place in the Platonic corpus, but also on a host of important topics, including the nature of eros and its place in the overall economy of human life; the perennial quarrel between poetry and philosophy, and the relation of both to piety, politics, and morality; the character of Socrates and the questions of his trial; and many other matters.

As provocative as they were a half century ago, these important lectures will be welcomed by students of classics, philosophy, politics, psychology, and political philosophy.

About the Author:

Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Chicago. His many contributions to political philosophy include The Political Philosophy of Hobbes and On Tyranny, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Seth Benardete (1930-2001) was professor of classics at New York University and the author, most recently, of Plato's "Laws": The Discovery of Being, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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