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Leo Strauss and The Law of War and Peace : esoteric teachings of Hugo Grotius Fuller, Adam L.


Seventeenth century Dutch jurist, Hugo Grotius is considered one of the most prominent names in the academic study of international law and in political philosophy. However, Grotius was a political figure in his own right, and he was exiled from his native Holland for a crime he did not commit in order to suppress his unpopular views on divine predestination and individual responsibility. What if his famous treatise on international law uses esoteric writing to conceal these unpopular views? Political science professor Leo Strauss believed that as a tradition begun by the execution of Socrates, classical, medieval, and even some pre-modern political philosophers implement esotericism in their writing in order to hide unpopular messages underneath an exoteric guise. This thesis explores this 'art of writing' and examines the Law of War and Peace for a possible deeper, philosophical meaning. In doing so, I argue that Grotius was a realist who had little faith in international law, but at the same time, believed that men must aspire to use their capacity to act virtuously.

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