Reason and Revelation before Historicism: Strauss and Fackenheim

By Sharon Portnoff

© 2011

Can contemporary religion, and particularly Judaism, exist without being informed by history? This question was debated in 1940s New York by two German refugees who later rose to prominence — Leo Strauss, one of the twentieth century's most significant political philosophers, and Emil L. Fackenheim, an important post-Holocaust Jewish theologian. There has been little consensus, however, on the definitive meaning of their work.

Reason and Revelation before Historicism, the first full-length comparison of Strauss and Fackenheim,places the informal teacher and student in conversation alongside sections of their analyses of notable thinkers. Sharon Portnoff suggests that both saw historicism as the nexus of the intersection and tension between philosophy and religion and raised the possibility of the persistence of the permanent in the modern world. Portnoff illuminates our understanding of Strauss's relationship with Judaism, Fackenheim's oft-overshadowed great philosophical depth, and the function and character of Jewish thought in a secular, post-Holocaust world.

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  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.4in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003117

  • PUBLISHED JAN 2012

    From: $62.25

    Regular Price: $83.00

    ISBN 9781442643079
  • PUBLISHED JAN 2012

    From: $62.25

    Regular Price: $83.00

Quick Overview

Reason and Revelation before Historicism, the first full-length comparison of Strauss and Fackenheim,places the informal teacher and student in conversation alongside sections of their analyses of notable thinkers.

Reason and Revelation before Historicism: Strauss and Fackenheim

By Sharon Portnoff

© 2011

Can contemporary religion, and particularly Judaism, exist without being informed by history? This question was debated in 1940s New York by two German refugees who later rose to prominence — Leo Strauss, one of the twentieth century's most significant political philosophers, and Emil L. Fackenheim, an important post-Holocaust Jewish theologian. There has been little consensus, however, on the definitive meaning of their work.

Reason and Revelation before Historicism, the first full-length comparison of Strauss and Fackenheim,places the informal teacher and student in conversation alongside sections of their analyses of notable thinkers. Sharon Portnoff suggests that both saw historicism as the nexus of the intersection and tension between philosophy and religion and raised the possibility of the persistence of the permanent in the modern world. Portnoff illuminates our understanding of Strauss's relationship with Judaism, Fackenheim's oft-overshadowed great philosophical depth, and the function and character of Jewish thought in a secular, post-Holocaust world.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.4in x 9.3in
  • Author Information

    Sharon Portnoff is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Connecticut College.

  • Table of contents

    CHAPTER 1  BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION

    Part I:  Review of Literature

    1. Introduction

    Part II  General Background

    1. Why is There a Tension Between Philosophy and Revelatory Theology? 
    2. The Tension Between Philosophy and Revelatory Theologyin Modern Western Thought
    3. Strauss and Fackenheim on the Tension between Philosophy and Revelatory Theology in Modern Western Thought
    4. The Tension Between Philosophy and Revelation in Jewish Philosophy
    5. The Dead End of Resolving the Tension
    6. Strauss and Fackenheim:  Two Options to Restore Reason and Revelation
     Part III:  Development of Argument in Chapter Form
    1. Overview in Chapter Form
    2. Strauss and Fackenheim:  A Note on Methodology

    CHAPTER 2  STRAUSS' FORMULATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN REASON AND REVELATION IN MODERN THOUGHT AND HIS REJECTION OF A PRACTICAL  SYNTHESIS

    Part I:  Strauss on Western Philosophy

    1. Introduction
    2. Strauss on the Ancient Philosophers
    3. Strauss on Machiavelli
    4. Strauss on Hobbes
    5. Strauss on Heidegger

    Part II:  Strauss on Jewish Philosophy

    1. Strauss on the Bible
    2. Strauss on Spinoza
    3. Strauss on Cohen
    4. Strauss on Rosenzweig
    5. Conclusion

    CHAPTER 3  FACKENHEIM'S FORMULATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PHILOSOPHY AND REVELATORY THEOLOGY IN MODERN THOUGHT

    Part I  Fackenheim on Western Philosophy

    1. Introduction
    2. Fackenheim on Kant
    3. Fackenheim on Hegel
    4. Fackenheim on Schelling
    5. Fackenheim on Heidegger

    Part II  Fackenheim on Jewish Philosophy

    1. Fackenheim on the Bible
    2. Fackenheim on Spinoza
    3. Fackenheim on Rosenzweig
    4. Fackenheim on Buber 

    Part III  Fackenheim’s Synthesis

    1. Fackenheim’s Synthesis of Revelatory Religion and Philosophy

    CHAPTER 4  THE PROBLEM OF HISTORICISM

    1. Introduction
    2. The Necessity of “Openness” In Philosophic and/or Religious Thought
    3. The Problem of Historicism:  Strauss’ Return to Natural Right
    4. The Problem of Historicism:  Fackenheim the Philosopher's Return to History
    5. The Problem of Historicism:  Fackenheim the Theologian's Return to History
    6. Conclusion

    CHAPTER 5  REASON AND REVELATION:  JEWISH THOUGHT AFTER STRAUSS AND FACKENHEIM

    1. Introduction
    2. Strauss:  Jerusalem and Athens
    3. Fackenheim's Rejection of the Return to Greek Thought
    4. Results from Beginning with and Fackenheim’s Position
    5. The Present Writer's Position

    BIBLIOGRAPHY

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