"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, February 03, 2006

Shooting Star

This is a book review that no intellectual person should miss, and certainly no non-secularist intellectual.

It is a review of a new translation of The Star of Redemption by Franz Rosenzweig. And its author is a very interesting writer in his own right.

4 comments:

James Elliott said...

Anyone who gets in a dig at both Leo Strauss and Irving Kristol within the first three paragraphs is good in my book.

Spengler is an excellent writer and I am intrigued enough by his review to seek out the previous (Hallo's) translation of Rosenzweig's The Star of Redemption. After I've finished my collected works of Eric Hoffer, Paulo Friere, and Saul Alinsky.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Fascinating article, Jay. I'd enjoy your personal reflections on the article you linked.

I've enjoyed "Spengler" of the Asia Times (that's not to say I read the Asia Times, but I've stumbled on "Spengler" often, as we inhabit the same plane).

For the record, since he is so easily misunderstood, it's true that Leo Strauss could not follow his mentor Rosenzweig all the way to faith, although he continued to study the rabbinic tradition all his life and became at least a cultural Zionist.

He stayed behind in the province of reason to oppose and refute the quite persuasive modernism/nihilism of his contemporary Martin Heidegger. For this we are grateful. As to our contemporary (and now apparently eternal) conflict with militant Islam, "Spengler" has been quite accurate in saying that Strauss, being essentially philosophical and therefore secular, is ill-equipped to handle what is a purely theological problem. And even though Heidegger is easily condemned for his sympathy to the Nazis, our modern (read leftist) friends are still his philosophical heirs and are equally unequipped to deal with Islamism.

As for myself, perhaps I can follow some of Rosenzweig's footprints, at least on a personal level. I shall investigate him further. Thank you.

(I had an odd thought about the similarity between Saul Alinsky's methods and Islamism's. But I didn't want to put them into any sort of moral equivalence. Still, food for thought.

Paulo Freire would turn our schools in to collectivist madrassas.
Eric Hoeffer would be appalled at both.)

Jay D. Homnick said...

Tom, did you read that hilarious piece by Kagan in The Weekly Standard about how he's not a Straussian? To die for.

As for me, I think in simpler arcs than those guys, being less brilliant and less educated.

My system is simple. I don't have to be smarter than Moses or King David. The extent to which I am a "seeker" is limited to seeking the fullest understanding of what those fellas were trying to say.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh, cut it out, Jay. You're linking to stuff about Rosenzweig for crissakes.

All the rest of us know is David had a slingshot and Moses looked a lot like Charleton Heston.