Eckhart Arnold
Bavarian Academy of Sciences And Humanities
Hans Kelsens Critique of Eric Voegelins "New Science of Politics" has for a long time been very difficult to access, because Kelsen has published only parts of it in his life time and left other parts unpublished. This allowed Voegelin to spread the myth that Kelsen had refrained from publishing his criticism, because he had understood that he was wrong. This is nonsense. The reasons why Kelsen left part of his criticism unpublished are mostly accidental. At the same time Kelsens criticism itself is a very sound rejection of Voegelin's hopelessly flawed theory of modernity as an age of Gnosticism. In this Nachwort to the Edition of Kelsen's Voegelin-criticism I summarize and comment the most important points of Kelsens criticism: 1. Kelsen's take on Voegelin's criticism of positivism. 2. Kelsen's rejection of Voegelin's "theory of representation" which is in fact a rejection of democratic representation in favor of an authoritarian and theocratic model of politics and 3. Kelsen's refuation of Voegelin's explanation of political disorder in the 20th century as a result of Gnostic heresy. My conclusion is that Kelen's criticism is successful (with only very minor qualifications) in all of these points and that thus it is an important contribution to the discussion of Voegelin's scholarship which has until recently been almost entirely apologetic.
Keywords Gnosticism, Eric Voegelin, Political Theology
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