Introduction

Between 1920 and 1930, a group of young, brilliant Jewish researchers studied in Germany under the direction of Cassirer, Husserl and Heidegger.

Leo Strauss, Karl Löwith, Hans Jonas, Hannah Arendt, Jakob Klein and others were forced by the advent of Nazism to escape from Germany and to wander around the world. Many of them went to the United States, Eric Weil reached Koyré in France, Löwith arrived in Japan. Nevertheless, their correspondence reveals their ongoing philosophical dialogue.

All these thinkers strove to question the historicist assumption, according to which Modernity is to be seen as progress in respect to the Ancient thought. In their studies, they found new ways to listen to the voice of the Ancients, by revaluating them in the context of the crisis of modern thought. Starting from Athens and Jerusalem, the symbolic roots of western culture, these philosophers problematized and revitalized the quarrel between Ancients and Moderns over again.

This International Conference will investigate the attempt of these thinkers to retrieve the Ancient Classical Thought and the attempt of some of them to connect Athens with Jerusalem. Can we, like them, still think of ancient Greek philosophy as a living way of understanding the world? Why were these modern philosophers inclined to think that the Ancients still have something to teach us? Why was there a “repetition of Antiquity at the peak of Modernity”? What is the relation between the Socratic philosophy and the Biblical tradition? To what extent have the Jewish origins of these authors influenced their relationship with Ancient thought?

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