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Meier on Strauss and Schmitt

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2009


Heinrich Meier 's careful and illuminating study of the relation between Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss should come as something of a revelation to many* Through a painstaking analysis of the three editions of Schmitt's influential Concept of the Political, Meier uncovers a heretofore largely overlooked “dialogue,” albeit one partly conducted “in absentia.”

As Meier observes Schmitt is one of a relatively small number of contemporaries whose work Strauss publicly reviewed. The first edition of Schmitt's essay appeared in 1927; a second was published in 1932, and it is to this that Strauss's 1932 “Comments” is (openly) addressed. A second was published in 1932. A third edition, published in 1933, presents, on Meier's reading, Schmitt's implicit response. For a variety of reasons, not the least being Schmitt's increasing involvement with the National Socialists, Strauss's role as interlocutor went largely unacknowledged, it being “impossible,” as Strauss would later write, for Schmitt to admit his “dependence on a Jew” (p. 138).

Research Article
Copyright © University of Notre Dame 1991

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* Meier, Heinrich: Carl Schmitt, Leo Strauss, und “Der Begriff des Politischen”: Zu einem Dialog unter Abwesenden. Mit Leo Strauss' Aufsatz über den “Begriff des Politischen” und drei unverüffentlichten Briefen an Carl Schmitt aus den Jahren 1932/33. (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar) Also available in French, Carl Schmitt, Leo Strauss et la Notion de Politique: Un Dialogue entre Absents. Preface, “Notre destin libéral,” by Pierre Manent. Translated by Manent, Françoise. (Paris: Commentaire/Julliard, 1990.)Google Scholar

1. Ex Captivitate Salus. Erfahrungen der Zeit, 19451947Google Scholar. Cologne, 1950, pp. 8990.Google Scholar

2. See Strauss, Leo. “Comments on Der Begriff des politischen“ reprinted in Spinoza's Critique of Religion, trans. Sinclair, E. M. (New York: 1965), p. 342Google Scholar. For original Meier, German, p. 114, para. 24.Google Scholar