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The Alpine Limits of Jewish Thought: Leo Strauss, National Socialism, and Judentum ohne Gott

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image of The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy

Writing in 1935 as "Hugo Fiala," Karl Löwith not only connected Martin Heidegger and Carl Schmitt to an apparently contentless "decisionism" but drew attention to the fact that his correspondent Leo Strauss (1899–1973) had attacked Schmitt—like Heidegger an open Nazi since 1933—from the Right in 1932. In opposition to the views of Peter Eli Gordon, Heidegger's bellicose stance at the Davos Hochschule of 1929 is presented as "political" in Schmitt's sense of the term while Strauss's embrace of Heidegger, never regretted, showed that he ceased to be Nietzsche's "Good European" in his thirtieth year. A more significant "change of orientation" is revealed in Strauss's 1932 version of the "second cave," a pseudo-Platonic image of Verjudung. Revelation had disrupted a nihilistic "natural ignorance" that could only be reversed by an elite's secret decision for a self-contradictory content: only an atheistic religion provides a post-liberal solution to "the theological-political problem."

Affiliations: 1: E. C. Glass High School, Lynchburg, Virginia


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