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Historicism and revelation in Emil Fackenheim’s self-distancing from Leo Strauss

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Chapter Summary

The author briefly sets Fackenheim's autobiographical remarks about what he owes to Leo Strauss's Philosophie und Gesetz alongside Strauss's larger argument in the book. Second, he compares the main points of Fackenheim's treatment of historicism in Metaphysics and Historicity with some main points of Strauss's parallel treatment of his Natural Right and History of 1953. Finally, the author considers Fackenheim's second-thoughts of 1967 concerning Heidegger's historicism in the light of Strauss's explicit critique of Heidegger in his 1962 Preface to the English translation of his Die Religionskritik Spinozas, originally published in 1930. Autobiographically speaking, Fackenheim expresses a debt to Strauss's Philosophie und Gesetz for first awakening him to the question of revelation in Judaism as a pressing philosophical question. Certainly Fackenheim's essay of 1967, in response to Strauss's letter, does not contest that individualism.

Keywords: Emil Fackenheim; Heidegger; Heidegger's historicism; Leo Strauss



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