I don’t yet have anything to add to this rather heated exchange, as I’m still plowing through this uncharitable piece, but it strikes me that those who want to understand the issues that animated Strauss are better served by turning to this book, reviewed here..
Argh, I can’t help myself! I have a preliminary thought, subject to much revision. Ryn makes much of incarnation and synthesis, and, apparently, of the Incarnation as an example of synthesis. Which comes first for him, synthesis or Incarnation? If the former, then he strikes me as, ultimately, a polytheist opposed both to Judaism and Christianity, on the one hand, and to philosophy as Strauss understood it, on the other.
More later, when I can catch a breath.
Update: Someones unhappy with me, apparently unaware that I am aware of the significance of the Incarnation, either as the example par excellence of "synthesis" or as the only real "synthesis." (Ive read a little theology.) My point is a simple one, I think: yes, you can say that all particular histories acquire their significance as part of Gods providential plan and that each of us is significant because were created in Gods image. But all those particular histories (call them national histories, if you will) have to be understood in the light of the Incarnation, i.e., of the "synthesis." There is a tendency among traditionalist conservatives (and I dont know Ryns work well enough to judge the extent to which he shares it) to "apotheosize" the local and the particular, which (to be sure) has its place, but pales in significance before the way in which we participate in the universal history of salvation. Stated in Augustinian terms, some traditionalists seem to be in the thrall of the City of Man and not to recognize how their participation in that City is qualified by their membership in the City of God.
But, once again, I have other things I need to be doing.