Notes on Leo Strauss’s “Notes on Lucretius”

  • Alain Gigandet
Part of the The New Antiquity book series (NANT)


According to Leo Strauss, the question of Lucretius’s modernity can be answered without any ambiguity, and we should read the Roman poet as a prominent representative of a way of thinking that lays the very foundations of modernity.1 Reading Lucretius should thus introduce us to the true meaning of the word “modernity,” and, at the same time, make us realize how problematic the concept happens to be. Now, this set of concerns is obviously the central point of Strauss’s global meditation on modernity.


True Meaning Physical Truth Religious Theme Plete Commentary Greek Thought 
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  1. 1.
    Leo Strauss, Liberalism Ancient and Modern (New York: Basic Books, 1968), Preface.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Peter Emberley and Barry Cooper, ed. and trans., Faith and Political Philosophy: The Correspondence between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin, 1934–1964 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993), 59.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Leo Strauss, On Tyranny: Including the Strauss-Kojève Correspondence, ed. Victor Gourevitch and Michael S. Roth (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 314.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Leo Strauss, “A Note on Lucretius,” in Natur und Geschichte: Karl Löwith 70, Geburstag, ed. Hermann Braun and Manfred Riedel (Stuttgart, W. Kohlhammer Verlag, 1967), 322–32.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Leo Strauss, Die Religionskritik Spinozas als Grundlage seiner Bibelwissenschaft (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1930); Leo Strauss, Spinoza’s Crititique of Religion, trans. E. M. Sinclair (New York: Schocken, 1965).Google Scholar
  6. 53.
    A French first version of this paper, “Notes sur les ‘Notes sur Lucrèce’ de Leo Strauss,” was published in Alain Gigandet, ed., Lucrèce et la modernité: Le vingtième siècle (Paris: Armand Colin, 2013). I am grateful to Armand Colin for their permission, and to Warren Montag for his rereading of my English text.Google Scholar

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© Alain Gigandet 2016

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  • Alain Gigandet

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