Category Archives: Meier, Heinrich

Political Philosophy and the Challenge of Revealed Religion (2017)

Political Philosophy and the Challenge of Revealed Religionby Heinrich Meier,
Robert Berman (Translator)

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“Heinrich Meier’s guiding insight in Political Philosophy and the Challenge of Revealed Religion is that philosophy must prove its right and its necessity in the face of the claim to truth and demand for obedience of its most powerful opponent, revealed religion. Philosophy must rationally justify and politically defend its free and unreserved questioning, and, in doing so, turns decisively to political philosophy.

In the first of three chapters, Meier determines four intertwined moments constituting the concept of political philosophy as an articulated and internally dynamic whole. The following two chapters develop the concept through the interpretation of two masterpieces of political philosophy that have occupied Meier’s attention for more than thirty years: Leo Strauss’s Thoughts on Machiavelli and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract. Meier provides a detailed investigation of Thoughts on Machiavelli, with an appendix containing Strauss’s original manuscript headings for each of his paragraphs. Linking the problem of Socrates (the origin of political philosophy) with the problem of Machiavelli (the beginning of modern political philosophy), while placing between them the political and theological claims opposed to philosophy, Strauss’s most complex and controversial book proves to be, as Meier shows, the most astonishing treatise on the challenge of revealed religion. The final chapter, which offers a new interpretation of the Social Contract, demonstrates that Rousseau’s most famous work can be adequately understood only as a coherent political-philosophic response to theocracy in all its forms.”

Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss: The Hidden Dialogue (2006)

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Carl Schmitt is the most famous and controversial defender of political theology in our century. But in his best-known work, The Concept of the Political, issued in 1927, 1932, and 1933, political considerations led him to conceal the dependence of his entire political theory on his faith in divine revelation. In 1932 political philosopher Leo Strauss published a critical review of The Concept of the Political that earned him Schmitt's respect and initiated an extremely subtle interchange between Schmitt and Strauss regarding Schmitt's critique of liberalism. Although Schmitt never answered Strauss publicly, in the third edition of his book he changed key passages in response to Strauss's criticisms without ever acknowledging them. In the present book Heinrich Meier astutely follows the trail left by the interlocutors. The present volume includes a new translation of Strauss's classic essay and the first English version of three letters to Schmitt from Strauss.

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"Carl Schmitt envelops the center of his thought in darkness because the center of his thought is faith. The center is faith in God's having become man, in a 'historical event of infinite, unpossessable, unoccupiable uniqueness.'" – page 68.

"To him the truth of revelation is such a certain source of 'pure and whole knowledge' that only a subordinate, derivative significance can be ascribed to any efforts to attain by human means knowledge of the nature of man and valid statements about the character of the political." – page 69.