I’m part of a symposium of reviews of Arthur Melzer’s important book about esoteric writing, Philosophy Between the Lines, in the journal Perspectives on Political Science (vol. 44 no. 3, 2015). This is a two-part symposium, with Melzer responding to the reviews in the second part, in the forthcoming issue. The first part of the symposium has contributions from a variety of authors:
- Francis Fukuyama drives a further wedge between Strauss and silly criticisms of his alleged effect on US foreign policy;
- Michael Frazer asks if some philosophers writing about esotericism actually did so esoterically;
- Adrian Blau challenges some of Melzer’s evidence as well as what appear to be false dichotomies between esoteric/non-esoteric and literal/non-literal readings of texts – click here for a summary of my views and a copy of my article;
- Douglas Burnham questions the idea of ‘historicism’ and asks how well Nietzsche fits this category;
- Rob Howse questions Melzer’s evidence about the relationship between persecution and esotericism;
- Miguel Vatter makes further distinctions between types and aims of esotericism;
- in separate pieces, Norma Thompson, Catherine/Michael Zuckert, Larry Arnhart, Roslyn Weiss, Grant Havers and Peter Augustine Lawler each develop different aspects of the account of ancient versus modern esotericism/society.