Okay, I have to know what Jenny Strauss is like
Although l was never his student, he taught me by his example what a life of study can be, and he set my feet on the path of the Journey.
Yeah you weren’t his student, you were his kid.
She has books on Homer and Hesiod. Leo never really talked about them. He was focused on the Homer’s main enemy (Plato). The one who many consider to be Leo’s protege, Benardete, wrote a book that argues that philosophy began with Homer rather than Plato.
So let’s see what Jenny says. This book already begins enigmatically, with untranslated Greek. She must feel so much pressure being who she is. I’m trying to read her without so much expectation, because that’s unfair. “He was always reading, he neglected me as a child!” Just kidding.
It begins in an expectedly cynical way. The invocation of the Muse that begins the Odyssey is put into question.
it contains no tinge of modesty, but rather masks the highest of claims. The Muses’ mouthpiece cannot be challenged
The poet is the medium between Olympus and the people. So she is likening this epic to scripture and revealing the mechanism of Homer’s authority.
I like to do zoom outs. We’re looking at the origins of the west here. There are certain subjects one can only be a tinfoil hat about, so take it with a grain of salt when I say that if Virgil was a Platonist then there’s a chance the writers of the New Testament were Platonists. There was a philosophical academy in St. Paul’s hometown. So think of this dialectic- it begins with stories about the gods told around a fire, say, and someone finally condensed them into writing – we call him Homer. Next, Plato criticizes those stories, finding them to be flawed and having a corrupting influence. The Platonist Virgil attempted to write a better Iliad-Odyssey, which he published in 19 BC. The New Testament was written in the middle of the 1st century AD. You can make of all this what you will.
This is the third line of the Odyssey
He saw the cities of many men and knew their mind.
We’re talking about different kinds of “divine heroes” here. Plato is already contained in the statement above. The knowledge of universals is what Odyssey is claimed to know. Achilles was a warrior, Jesus was a spiritual warrior. Different ways of evolving knowledge. Augustine it could be said put together Socrates and Jesus. Again, these are the origins of the west. Today for many people, heroes from different TV series are put together, and those syntheses subtly guide their lives. It’s good to be aware of that, because it might be a flawed poet guiding your life and you need to be a Plato and criticize him. I do that for instance myself with Strauss. I know he’s biased in certain ways. I’m reading his daughter right now for that very reason in fact. She reads a book that he didn’t focus on, that preceded his favorite books, and reads it through the lens of Athena. Leave it to Strauss’s daughter to do that! It’s very obvious she grew up in a home of learning too. She is MY “Athena” at the moment, one might say. One might infer that Leo is her “Muse”.
If one wants to try to revolt against the current phase of the political cycle, one way to do that is to use the best Muses to muse on the best books. I choose not to live in a “democracy”.
Zeus takes up his position on Mt. Ida in order to look down upon the battlefield
Leo is a Zeus in this way, Jenny is a Zeus (she’d prefer Athena – unless?) and when you read them you sort of feel like Zeus too. It’s a “far-ranging” viewpoint on humanity. I choose to live among the Olympians, even if as a lesser god. That is to say, I am not a Hebrew. And in our time, only an Olympian would make such a statement. Yahweh is up here with us and he is all-too-human in certain ways, much like Zeus.
IS Yahweh not an Olympian god?
When dealing with mortals, the gods generally disguise themselves or choose to remain invisible. Men may not recognize a divinity unless the latter is willing.
That’s what it takes to make this god visible, it isn’t easy- a Nietzschean on secular Jews on ancient Greeks.
Athena instructs Diomedes:
I have taken from your eyes the mist which before was
so that you may well recognize god and man.
Do you remember how I began this post? It was her dedication to Leo. That was a sort of invocation of a muse itself. I doubt she was conscious of that. Then again, look who she is. Straussian books are often self-referencing in subtle ways so who knows. One must choose one’s muses wisely because depending on the muse one will have an either more or less far-ranging viewpoint on humanity.