Werner Dannhauser, 1929-2014
11:01 AM, Apr 28, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
I'm sorry to report the death of Werner Dannhauser last Saturday in Frederick, Pennsylvania, at the age 84. Werner, whom we had the honor of publishing a few times, was a man of uncommon wisdom, wit, and humanity.
As generations of students at Cornell, Michigan State, and elsewhere can attest, he was a superb teacher of the great works and fundamental questions of political philosophy. Author of a fine study of Nietzsche's Socrates, translator of Gershom Scholem, student and interpreter of Leo Strauss, Werner lived at the stimulating crossroads of Athens and Jerusalem--and also of America, the country he came to at age nine and whose freedoms, decency and strength he cherished. Of his many wonderful essays, I remember particularly his tributes to his teacher, Leo Strauss, and to his friend, Allan Bloom—as well as his famous "On Teaching Politics Today," in the March 1975 Commentary. (John Podhoretz offers a tribute to Dannhauser's work for Commentary here.) He wrote on a variety of topics with an unusual combination of elegance and directness, and of power and irony--but always he came back to the fundamental human problems. Reading him is a great education. Knowing him was a great privilege.
Recent Blog Posts