Professor Steven Smith announced that he will stop teaching the popular Introduction to Political Philosophy class for the time being — instead, interested students can read the course’s material in a new book due for release next year.

At the end of his Wednesday lecture to the course, the final of the semester, Smith said that he has taught it for many years, and that it was now time for a person with a different perspective to teach it. Although Smith does not plan to return to teaching Introduction to Political Philosophy, whose content includes such luminaries as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Rousseau and Tocqueville, he said that he would not rule it out in the future.

Smith will continue teaching Directed Studies and an upper level, year-long political philosophy class with Professor Bryan Garsten next year, he said. He also plans to teach more specialized seminars centered on particular texts or topics in political philosophy. His entire Introduction to Political Philosophy class will remain available online through Yale Open Courses.

The upcoming book, tentatively titled “Political Philosophy from Athens to America,” in part draws upon the lectures he prepared for his introductory political philosophy course. Smith said that the Yale University Press plans to publish the book in September 2012.

This will be Smith’s six book: previous works include “Spinoza’s Book of Life: Freedom and Redemption in the Ethics,” “Spinoza: Liberalism and the Jewish Identity” and “Reading Leo Strauss.”