The Philosopher and Everyone Else
July 31, 2006
Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism By Steven B. Smith (University of Chicago Press, 256 pp., $32.50) Leo Strauss and the Theologico-Political Problem By Heinrich Meier (Cambridge University Press, 183 pp., $60) I. Of the many emigre scholars to leave a mark on American intellectual life in the latter half of the twentieth century, none has sparked greater controversy than Leo Strauss. In the years since his death, in 1973, he has repeatedly been accused of exercising a sinister influence on the country.
The Reason for Everything
January 16, 2006
The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success By Rodney Stark (Random House, 304 pp., $25.95) "Had the followers of Jesus remained an obscure Jewish sect," concludes Rodney Stark in his new book, "most of you would not have learned to read and the rest of you would be reading from hand-copied scrolls." I had always known that Jesus Christ was a pretty important person, but I had not quite realized that were it not for him, there would be no one to buy Rodney Stark's books. Jesus, Stark goes on, is responsible for more than liberating us from scrolls; t
July 26, 2004
Kim Clark explores the financial dimensions of Greece's preparations for the 2004 Athens Olympics.
February 23, 2004
In Ruins By Christopher Woodward (Pantheon Books, 280 pp., $24) Click here to purchase the book. For travelers who have experienced the grandeur and pathos of ruins that were once the glory of ancient Athens or Rome, it comes as a surprise to learn that what we are seeing today are tidied-up--its critics would say sterile--archaeological sites that are only as old as the last century.
July 07, 2003
Elie Nadelman: Sculptor of Modern Life, Whitney Museum of American Art In the art of Elie Nadelman, sobriety and enchantment are strangely, wonderfully entangled. Nadelman, who died in 1946 at the age of sixty-four, gave sculpture’s ancient mandate to turn real space into dream space a modern vehemence and an adamantine logic, but also a flash of what-the-hell insouciance.
November 04, 2001
One of the most vivid experiences of my time as a graduate student at Harvard was a seminar I took with the preeminent liberal political theorist John Rawls. The discussion centered on Rawls's later work, in which he divorced his liberalism from the claim of absolute truth. His argument was only cogent, he averred, if read and understood by people who already shared some basic premises--the need for consent, the reliance on reason, a tone of civility, a relatively open mind.
Tablets to Books
May 14, 2001
Libraries in the Ancient World By Lionel Casson (Yale University Press, 177 pp., $22.95) One of the inscribed clay tablets in the library of Ashurbanipal, who was the king of Assyria from 668 B.C.
The Sea and the Text
July 12, 1999
The Returns of Odysseus: Colonization and Ethnicity by Irad Malkin (University of California Press, 331 pp., $45) Celebrating Homer's Landscapes: Troy and Ithaca Revisited by J.V. Luce (Yale University Press, 260 pp., $35) For the modern traveler, Greece and its environs seem surprisingly small, a sea-girt checkerboard most often first glimpsed from the air. Most of the Aegean islands are on nodding terms with each other.
July 05, 1999
Last Summer, when President Clinton picked Richard Holbrooke to be his new ambassador to the United Nations, Holbrooke's confirmation by the Senate seemed like a virtual formality. After all, even those who don't like Holbrooke's brash style concede that he's one of the Clinton administration's most effective foreign policy hands; and, as a political operator and self-promoter, Holbrooke's talents are legendary. But it won't be until June 17, exactly a year after Clinton announced Holbrooke's selection, that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee finally gets around to holding hearings on Holb
Like Race, Like Gender?
February 19, 1996
As the Supreme Court ponders whether the Virginia Military Institute and the Citadel can continue to exclude women, the legal battles have become a time-lapse photograph of the generational war among feminists. In the current issue of Dissent, Catharine Stimpson argues that "Shannon Faulkner ...