The European Legacy 9 (1):19-29 (2004)

Grant Havers
Trinity Western University
In understanding the meaning of the West, twentieth?century political philosophers Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss called for a return to ?Athens? (classical political philosophy) in order to address the ?crisis of the West,? a loss of a sense of legitimate and stable political authority which, in their view, constitutes a nihilistic threat to Western democracy. The only way for the West to escape this nihilistic crisis is to return to Plato and Aristotle. Implicit in this critique is the belief that the other tradition of the West, ?Jerusalem? (the Bible) has contributed to this nihilism, by undermining the authority of the Greeks. Is Jerusalem, then, the fatal ?Other? for the West? Which tradition?Athens or Jerusalem?is best prepared to alleviate the crisis of the West, especially the survival of democracy? As I address these questions, I shall contend that it is Jerusalem, not Athens, which is the true source of Western democracy
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DOI 10.1080/1084877042000197921
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