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1 April 2022


Microsoft Teams

Does Early Modern Philosophy Need Leo Strauss?

To what extent many important figures in the history of philosophy implicitly advanced secularisation while explicitly claiming to defend or reform religion?

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Does Early Modern Philosophy Need Leo Strauss?
Does Early Modern Philosophy Need Leo Strauss?

Time & Location

1 April 2022

Microsoft Teams

About the Event

In these difficult and unsettling times, we are pleased to welcome you to an online colloquium:

Does Early Modern Philosophy Need Leo Strauss?

Leo Strauss is well known for his controversial theory of esotericism – his suggestion that many important figures in the history of philosophy presented their thought in an intentionally misleading or deceptive fashion. In particular, the early modern philosophers such as Hobbes and Spinoza would be held to deliberately conceal their views as part of a strategy to avoid persecution while realizing their key political aim: the promotion of secularization or “critique of revealed religion”, as Strauss defined the Radical Enlightenment in his early book Spinoza’s Critique of Religion. Despite numerous criticisms of Strauss’s “reading between the lines”, the method seems to inspire some of the recent scholarship on the Enlightenment, for example, the evaluation of Spinoza or Hobbes as essentially atheistic (or anti-religious) and materialist thinkers.

Organised online at Microsoft Teams

All the registered participants will receive links to the talks in advance.


9:45 a.m.

Welcome and introduction

10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Jiři Chotaš (AVCR, Czech Republic)

Strauss on Hobbes’ Critique of Religion

Response: Jakub Szczepański (Kraków, Poland)

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Diego Lucci (AUBG, Bulgaria)

The Esoteric Elements of Locke’s and Newton’s Religious Thought: A Reconsideration of Leo Strauss’s Theory of Esotericism

Response: Hasse Hämäläinen (Kraków, Poland)

1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Lunch break

3 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Raphael Krut-Landau (Pennsylvania, USA), online

Three Kinds of Implicit Expression in Spinoza’s Ethics

Response: Anna Tomaszewska (Kraków, Poland)

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Richard Velkley (Tulane, USA)

Leo Strauss on Early Modernity and the Destruktion of Tradition

Response: William P. Wood (Pardubice, Czech Republic)

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