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Emil L. Fackenheim, “Leo Strauss, the ‘New Thinking,’ and To Mend the World”

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image of The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy

AbstractThis article presents an edited and annotated transcription of a letter-on-tape that was sent to the editor by Emil L. Fackenheim in 1984. A short introduction recounts the origins of the letter-on-tape, which was a reply to a letter sent by the editor to Fackenheim in Israel. In the recording, Fackenheim articulated and discussed his relation to Leo Strauss as a thinker, to whom he meaningfully dedicated To Mend the World. The letter-on-tape allowed him to voice his views on the role played by Strauss in the formation of his own thought, and on how significant he considered Strauss to be as a modern Jewish thinker. It also permitted Fackenheim to identify and elaborate on what were for him the limits of Strauss’s “Platonic” philosophic position, especially vis-à-vis the Holocaust and radical evil.


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