Philosophy as Stranger Wisdom

A Leo Strauss Intellectual Biography

By Carlo Altini

Subjects: Philosophy, Biography, Jewish Studies, History, Religion And Politics
Series: SUNY series in the Thought and Legacy of Leo Strauss
Hardcover : 9781438490052, 256 pages, September 2022
Paperback : 9781438490069, 256 pages, March 2023

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Table of contents


1. Marburg and Freiburg (1899–1924)

2. Berlin (1925–1932)

3. Paris (1932–1933)

4. London and Cambridge (1934–1937)

5. New York (1937–1948)

6. Chicago (1949–1967)

7. Claremont and Annapolis (1968–1973)

Leo Strauss’s Writings
Critical Literature

The first complete intellectual biography of one of the most influential and controversial philosophers of the twentieth century, Leo Strauss.


What is philosophy and who is the philosopher? What should be the relationship between the philosopher and the city? And what should be the attitude that the philosopher must have with respect to tradition, religion and politics? These questions, which have spanned the entire history of Western philosophical thought, from ancient Greece onwards, found original answers in one of the greatest figures of twentieth-century culture, Leo Strauss. Philosophy as Stranger Wisdom, thanks to a scrupulous study of his entire bibliography, represents the first truly comprehensive and complete intellectual biography of Strauss. The reader will find in these pages a Strauss who is not an American neoconservative theorist nor an orthodox Jew, but rather an original reader and interpreter of classical authors: from Thucydides and Plato to Machiavelli and Hobbes. Carlo Altini presents us with a philosopher who escapes any attempt at classification, who lived constantly in exile between theory and practice, philosophy and politics, immanence and transcendence, and who considered philosophy the most important critical exercise of human reason, always "out of date" and always "out of place."

Carlo Altini is Professor of History of Philosophy at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy.


"Altini has artfully crafted an intellectual biography that avoids reducing its subject to a mere historical context … Highly recommended." — CHOICE

"This exciting read is the most comprehensive intellectual biography of Strauss of which I am aware, covering both his early and mature work. It tells a fascinating story from a novel perspective, based on a vast range of sources in various languages, including archival ones." — Rodrigo Chacón, Professor of International Relations, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México