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Letters to the Editor LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 131 I am writing to you with respect to the recent review by Shadia Drury of my book,Jew andPhilosopher: The Return to Maimonides in theJewish Thought ofLeo Strauss (SUNY Series in Judaica: Hermeneutics, Mysticism, and Religion). The review appears in the Winter 1995 issue ofShofar (Vol. 13, No.2), pp. 81-85. I must say that I was surprised at your choice of a reviewer. It seems to me that you certainly could have found someone, within the entire field ofJewish Studies, who is minimally knowledgeable and qualifted to pass judgment on my book. Indeed~ I would go further: I would have thought that the editor of "An Interdisciplinary Journal ofJewish Studies" would have felt compelled to ask someone who is a specialist in the field of Jewish philosophy to review a book on Jewish philosophy. But what qualiftes Shadia Drury to be a judge of what is and what is not Jewish thought? So far as I am aware, she is a political scientist with no evident knowledge of Judaism, of Jewish philosophy, of the history of theology and religion, or even of Maimonides. Shadia Drury's only qualification for reviewing my book is her well publicized attack on Leo Strauss as a political thinker, as is amply documented by her book The Political Ideas ofLeo Strauss, as well as by the subsequent controversies in which she has become embroiled. The review of my book continues what can only be called an amazingly unscrupulous campaign against Leo Strauss, moved by animus, not argument. Indeed, we may detect that the Jewish thought of Leo Strauss has been approached by the reviewer in an "inquisitorial" manner, which we may designate as "soft" rather than "hard" inquisitorial (to borrow Ms. Drury's own distinction). She is a "soft" inquisitor because she does not want to apply the screws herself-and so openly force Jewish thought to conform to her mold-she just wants to consign him to the rack for torture to find out what he is "really" devoted to. She is prepared to pass final judgment on Leo Strauss's heart and mind, without any proof against him, on the basis of her own accusations. His "devotion to Judaism," as well as his "devotion to the philosophical life," are both highly suspect according to her because she doesn't like what she forces him to say, as a result of which forced confession she pronounces him neither a Jew nor a philosopher. 132 SHOFAR Winter 1996 Vol. 14, NO.2 I cannot help but think that asking Sha,dia Drury to review my book would be like asking the composer Richard Wagner to review a book on the Jewish philosophy of Moses Mendelssohn: not only was Wagner unversed in the field ofJewish philosophy, but his hostility to everything "Mendelssohnian" (both Felix and Moses) was well documented. Much as I would prefer not to come to this conclusion, I am driven to conclude that you were looking for a prejudicial review by a prejudiced reviewer. As a devoted reader of Shofar for many years, I must say that I am profoundly disappointed at the lack of intellectual integrity which the choice of such a reviewer, and the publication of such a review, exhibits. Yours sincerely, Kenneth Hart Green Professor Drury replies: It seems to me that Mr. Green's letter does not contain a single response to my criticism of his book. It focuses merely on my credentials or lack thereof. I think that you have nothing to apologize for in chOOSing me as a reviewer. I am the only one to have written arcomprehensive book-length study of Strauss's thought; and like Strauss;" I am a political philosopher. Green objects to my credentials on the ground that I am not a specialist in Judaism and hence cannot make judgments about Strauss's Jewish thought. But one need not be a Talmudic scholar to know that the founding pillars ofJudaism are God, His creation, and His Law. And since on Green's own account, Strauss claims that God and His Law are the inventions of philosopher-prophets (pp. 121, 122, 123), I...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 131-134
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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