ly worse: teaching no history in thenschools or teaching history in the stylenof Little Red Riding Hood. If the childnreaches an age when he is no longernenchanted by Cinderella, can the goodnold Western pageant be far behind?nThe form seems to invite, to shmulatenand restimulate, recourse to thenhoary conventionalihes: those particularlynregarding Christianity, the medievalnera, the so-called “new age,” thenEnlightenment, and so on. Onenwould never guess from Roberts’ booknthe historical inseparability of Christianitynand the West—for good or ill—nright down to the West’s current confrontationnof the Third World. Closelynassociated with Christianity is and hasnbeen the West’s long infatuation withncollective progress, or the myths ofnprogress, at least. Roberts deigns to dipnhis littie finger in powerful currents ofnJudaic messianism, Greek developmentalism,nand Augustinian historicalndeterminism, which so many specialistsnhave demonstrated during recentnyears to be the vital underpinnings ofnthe Western idea of progress, but he isnquick to retreat and to resume thencomforts of the rationalist’s certaintynthat a conception of progress is asnmodern as democracy, populism, andnegalitarianism. What has given Christianitynits distinctiveness and, most ofnthe time, its temporal suzerainty in thenworld is precisely its powerful conviction,nformulated by Augustine in ThenCity of God, that it is the vanguard ofnan earthly progression, at once historicalnand transhistorical, to eventualnperfection that will embrace the entirenhuman race.nThe author is wise enough to avoidnthe worst conceits and fancies aboutnthe Renaissance, that is, the “NewnAge” by which it was known to thenItalian humanists of the Quattrocentonand now to moderns grown weary ofnthe thought of “rebirth.” But onenwouldn’t guess from his account thatnBurkhardt’s fabled epoch, so far fromnbeing a great burst of a new reason,nwas in truth one of the world’s morennotable morasses of the occult, thendemonic, the narcissistic, and the subjective,nin many respects a suddenlynraised barrier to development of thenscience and technology that had begunnso promisingly in the 12th and 13thncenturies. From the great pioneeringnWhat Is the Good? by Stanley Rosenn”We know the good but do not practice it. “n-EuripidesnStudies in Political Philosophy bynLeo Strauss, Chicago: University ofnChicago Press.nThe Idea of the Good innPlatonic-Aristotehan Philosophy bynHans-Georg Gadamer, translated bynP. Christopher Smith, New Haven:nYale University Press.nThese two unusually interestingncollections of studies are in sharpncontrast to the contemporary Anglo-nStan fey Rosen is professor ofnphilosophy at the Pennsylvania StatenUniversity and author of The Limitsnof Analysis (Basic Books).nSaxon style of academic scholarship.nBoth authors take seriously the pertinencenof classical thought to contemporaryndiscussions of the good. Straussnis even less professorial than Gadamernin that he takes the central issue of ourntime to be the quarrel between philosophynand religion, a quarrel that is fornhim of the deepest political significance.nStrauss formulates the politicalnquestion in “Jerusalem and Athens,”nthe seventh (a significant number!) ofnhis 15 studies. Speaking of thenGerman-Jewish philosopher HermannnCohen, who attempted to give a Kantiannor rationalist interpretation of modernnJudaism, Strauss says: “He had angreater faith in the power of modernnnnresearches of Pierre Duhem down tonmore recent historians of science, itnhas been evident that, as HerbertnButterfield has put it, the whole Renaissancencould have been put in oblivionnwithout affecting in one degree thendevelopment of science and technologynin the West. It was no spirit ofnmodernity that drove the Galileos,nNewtons, and Boyles to their greatnworks; it was instead a persistence ofnincentives and aspirations which hadnalso driven Roger Bacon and RobertnGrosseteste.nWhat I am saying is, if we mustnfollow our forefathers — ever sincenThucydides—in penning unitary andnunilinear narratives, let us at leastnclean up the epic from time to timenand rid the story line of some of thenmodernist superstitions about the philosophynof progress, the nature ofnmedieval civilization, the Enlightenment,nand so on. If it is the conventional,nheavily cliched, pageant of thenWest the reader wants, he will get itnhere in well-edited, well-written formnin Professor Roberts’ accompanimentnto the television series. But that, sadly,nis just about it.nWestern culture to mold the fate ofnmankind than seems to be warrantednnow. The worst things that he experiencednwere the Dreyfus scandal andnthe pogroms instigated by Czarist Russia:nhe did not experience CommunistnRussia and Hitier Germany. More disillusionednregarding modern culturenthan Cohen was, we wonder whethernthe two ingredients of modern culture,nof the modern synthesis, are not morensolid than the synthesis.”nGadamer’s scope is much narrower,nbut the connection between his analysesnof Plato and Aristotie on the onenhand and contemporary politics in thenbroad sense is indicated by his culminatingnemphasis on the role ofnphronesis — “good judgment” orn”practical intelligence.” This samenterm plays a pivotal role in Gadamer’snvery influential theory of philosophicalninterpretation, as expounded in hisnmost important work. Truth andnMethod. For Gadamer, politics is anspecification of culture; in othernMARCH 1987/27n