"Thirty-five years ago few could have predicted that The New Science of Politics would be a best-seller by political theory standards. Compressed within the Draconian economy of the six Walgreen lectures is a complete theory of man, society, and history, presented at the most profound and intellectual level. . . . Voegelin's [work] stands out in bold relief from much of what has passed under the name of political science in recent decades. . . . The New Science is aptly (...) titled, for Voegelin makes clear at the outset that a 'return to the specific content' of premodern political theory is out of the question. . . . The subtitle of the book, An Introduction, clearly indicates that The New Science of Politics is an invitation to join the search for the recovery of our full humanity."--From the new Foreword by Dante Germino "This book must be considered one of the most enlightening essays on the character of European politics that has appeared in half a century. . . . This is a book powerful and vivid enough to make agreement or disagreement with even its main thesis relatively unimportant."-- Times Literary Supplement "Voegelin . . . is one of the most distinguished interpreters to Americans of the non-liberal streams of European thought. . . . He brings a remarkable breadth of knowledge, and a historical imagination that ranges frequently into brilliant insights and generalizations."--Francis G. Wilson, American Political Science Review "This book is beautifully constructed . . . his erudition constantly brings a startling illumination."--Martin Wright, International Affairs "A ledestar to thinking men who seek a restoration of political science on the classic and Christian basis . . . a significant accomplishment in the retheorization of our age."--Anthony Harrigan, Christian Century. (shrink)
Eric Voegelin's _Israel and Revelation_ is the opening volume of his monumental _Order and History,_ which traces the history of order in human society. This volume examines the ancient near eastern civilizations as a backdrop to a discussion of the historical locus of order in Israel. The drama of Israel mirrors the problems associated with the tension of existence as Israel attempted to reconcile the claims of transcendent order with those of pragmatic existence and so becomes paradigmatic. According to Voegelin, (...) what happened in Israel was a decisive step, not only in the history of Israel, but also in the human attempt to achieve order in society. The uniqueness of Israel is the fact that it was the first to create history as a form of existence, that is, the recognition by human beings of their existence under a world-transcendent God, and the evaluation of their actions as conforming to or defecting from the divine will. In the course of its history, Israel learned that redemption comes from a source beyond itself. Voegelin develops rich insights into the Old Testament by reading the text as part of the universal drama of being. His philosophy of symbolic forms has immense implications for the treatment of the biblical narrative as a symbolism that articulates the experiences of a people's order. The author initiates us into attunement with _all_ the partners in the community of being: God and humans, world and society. This may well be his most significant contribution to political thought: "the experience of divine being as world transcendent is inseparable from an understanding of man as human.". (shrink)
Interprétant l’histoire de l’humanité comme la suite discontinue dans le temps des différents degrés d’ouverture de l’âme humaine au mystère du fondement de l’être, Eric Voegelin a cherché à rompre avec toutes les visions unilinéaires de l’histoire qui ont caractérisé la pensée occidentale depuis le XVIIIe siècle et ont constitué une forme désastreuse d’impérialisme spirituel. En 1970, le philosophe a voulu rendre explicites les principes de sa démarche dans un article intitulé « Equivalences of experience and symbolisation in history ». (...) C’est ce texte qui est ici traduit en français pour la première fois.Les équivalences de l’expérience et de la symbolisation dans l’histoire Interpreting the history of mankind as the discontinued temporal succession of the various degrees of openness of the human soul to the mystery of the ground of being, Eric Voegelin has tried to break with all the one-line histories, characteristic of the Western thought since the eighteenth century and forming a disastrous kind of spiritual imperialism. In 1970, the philosopher wanted to clarify the principles of his thought processes in an article entitled « Equivalences of experience and symbolisation in history ». This text is translated here in French for the first time. (shrink)
In his review on Leo Strauss’ «On tyranny» Eric Voegelin, pointing out importance of his opponent’s work, still disagrees with several crucial Strauss’s findings. Especially important for him is comparing of «ancient» and «modern» tyranny, as well as Strauss’ idea that the text of «Hiero» makes up bounds between ancient and modern political philosophy, «tyrannical teaching» of Xenophon, the author of «Hiero», is very close to the Machiavelli’s point of view as presented in «The Prince». Voegelin points out that this (...) thought is indeed not that true and Machiavelli’s teaching does deal with the same sort of problem as Xenophon’s writing, because these texts were created in different historical contexts. The main aim is to understand modern tyranny, but, Voegelin argues, it won’t happen if we, as Strauss does, think that ancient and modern tyranny are the same. (shrink)
Les époques d’instabilité et de désordre politique coïncident généralement avec un développement de la science politique. En atteste une fois de plus la Correspondance qu’entretiennent ces « deux géants de la science politique », Léo Strauss et Eric Voegelin, tous deux contraints par la révolution national-socialiste à s’exiler aux États-Unis. Dans la cinquantaine de lettres échangées, dont le cœur se constitue au cous des années 1942-1953, le lecteur assiste à le gestation des deux grands théoriciens politiques de ce début de (...) siècle.Mais le désaccord irréductible entre les deux penseurs porte bien évidemment sur le rôle de la foi et de la philosophie politique, ainsi qu’en témoigne le sous-titre de cette Correspondance, désaccord dont le lecteur trouvera témoignage dans les quatre essais, datant de la période de la maturité des deux auteurs, dont trois inédits, qui composent la seconde partie de ce volume.La troisième partie rassemble huit esais d’éminents spécialistes de l’un ou l’autre penseur, commentant les problèmes soulevés dans la Correspondance et, plus généralement, dans l’œuvre des deux auteurs. (shrink)
The thirty-fourth volume of The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin consists of Voegelin's Autobiographical Reflections, reprinted from the 1989 edition with additional annotations; a glossary of terms used in Voegelin's writings, illustrated ...
"Consists of the original text, slightly revised and expanded, together with the introduction from the 1989 edition and some additional annotation, a glossary of terms used in Voegelin's writings that lists, defines, and illustrates from ...
Between 1933 and 1938, Eric Voegelin published four books that brought him into increasingly open opposition to the Hitler regime in Germany. As a result, he was forced to leave Austria in 1938, narrowly escaping arrest by the Gestapo as he fled to Switzerland and later to the United States. Twenty years later, he was invited to Munich to become Director of the new Institute of Political Science at Ludwig-Maximilian University. In 1964, Voegelin gave a series of memorable lectures on (...) what he considered "the central German experiential problem" of his time: Adolf Hitler's rise to power, the reasons for it, and its consequences for post-Nazi Germany. For Voegelin, these questions demanded a scrutiny of the mentality of individual Germans and of the order of German society during and after the Nazi period. _Hitler and the Germans,_ published here for the first time, offers Voegelin's most extensive and detailed critique of the Hitler era. Voegelin interprets this era in terms of the basic diagnostic tools provided by the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, Judeo-Christian culture, and contemporary German-language writers like Heimito von Doderer, Karl Kraus, Thomas Mann, and Robert Musil. Responding to publications on National Socialist Germany, Voegelin discusses the historian Percy Schramm's "Anatomy of a Dictator," along with studies of the churches and the legal profession. His inquiry uncovers a historiography that was substantially unhistoric: a German Evangelical Church that misinterpreted the Gospel, a German Catholic Church that denied universal humanity, and a legal process enmeshed in criminal homicide. While most of the lectures deal with what Voegelin called his "descent into the depths" of the moral and spiritual abyss of Nazism and its aftermath, they also point toward a restoration of order. His lecture "The Greatness of Max Weber" shows how Weber, while affected by the culture within which Hitler came into power, has already gone beyond it through his anguished recovery of the experience of transcendence. _Hitler and the Germans_ provides a profound alternative approach to the topic of the individual German's entanglement in the Hitler regime and its continuing implications. This comprehensive reading of the Nazi period has yet to be matched. (shrink)
Reaching into our own time, _Crisis and the Apocalypse of Man_ confronts the disintegration of traditional sources of meaning and the correlative attempt to generate new sources of order from within the self. Voegelin allows us to contemplate the crisis in its starkest terms as the apocalypse of man that now seeks to replace the apocalypse of God. The totalitarian upheaval that convulsed Voegelin's world, and whose aftermath still defines ours, is only the external manifestation of an inner spiritual turmoil. (...) Its roots have been probed throughout the eight volumes of _History of Political Ideas,_ but its emergence is marked by the age of Enlightenment. In our postmodern era, discussions of the collapse of the "enlightenment project" have become commonplace. Voegelin compels us to follow the great-souled individuals who sought to go from disintegration of the present toward evocations of order for the future. Such thinkers as Comte, Bakunin, and Marx suffered through the crisis and fully understood the need for a new outpouring of the spirit. They resolved to supply the deficiency themselves. As a consequence they launched us irrevocably on the path of the apocalypse of man. One of the great merits of Voegelin's analysis is his exposition of the pervasive character of this crisis. It is not confined to the megalomaniacal dreamers of a revolutionary apocalypse; rather, echoes of it are found in the more moderate Enlightenment preoccupation with progress to be attained through application of the scientific method. Faith in the capacity of instrumental reason to answer the ultimate questions of human existence defined men such as Voltaire, Helvétius, Diderot, D'Alembert, and Condorcet. It remains the authoritative faith of our world today, Voegelin argues, demonstrated by our continuing inability to step outside the parameters of the Enlightenment. Are we condemned, then, to oscillate between the rational incoherence of a science that never delivers on its promises and a now discredited revolutionary idealism that wreaks havoc in practice? This is the question toward which Voegelin's final volume points. While not direct, his response is evident everywhere. _Crisis and the Apocalypse of Man_ could have been written only by a man who had reached his own resolution of the crisis. (shrink)
In _The New Order and Last Orientation,_ Eric Voegelin explores two distinctly different yet equally important aspects of modernity. He begins by offering a vivid account of the political situation in seventeenth-century Europe after the decline of the church and the passing of the empire. Voegelin shows how the intellectual and political disorder of the period was met by such seemingly disparate responses as Grotius's theory of natural right, Hobbes's _Leviathan,_ the role of the Fronde in the formation of the (...) French national state, Spinoza's _Tractatus Theologico-Politicus,_ and Locke's _Second Treatise,_ the blueprint of a modern middle-class society. By putting these responses and the thought of Montesquieu, Hume, and others in the context of the birth pains of the national state and the emergence of a new self-understanding of man, Voegelin achieves a brilliant mixture of political history and profound philosophical analysis. Voegelin's verdict of modernity is pronounced most powerfully in the opening part of "Last Orientation," in the chapter entitled "Phenomenalism." His discussion of the intellectual confusion underlying the modern project of scientistic phenomenalism is the most original criticism leveled against modernity to date. It is at the same time the first step toward a recovery of reality through philosophy conceived as a science of substance in the spirit of Giordano Bruno. Voegelin's first example of such an effort at recovering reality is the chapter on Schelling, one of the spiritual realists who has not been affected by the prevailing rationalist or reductionist creeds that are part of the modern disorder. Schelling's indirect yet powerful influence on Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Freud more than justifies Voegelin's interest in his philosophy and character, even though Voegelin would later distance himself from some of Schelling's positions. The volume's concluding chapter, "Nietzsche and Pascal," applies the understanding gained from the study of Schelling to the thought of the most powerful critic of the age, Nietzsche. Nietzsche's self-avowed affinity with Pascal provides the key to an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of his thought and reaffirms the connection that links the beginning of modernity with its most recent crises and the efforts to overcome them. (shrink)
Reaching from the decline of the Greek Polis to Saint Augustine, this first volume of Eric Voegelin's eagerly anticipated History of Political Ideas fills the gap left between volumes 3 and 4 of Order and History.
Voegelin's magisterial account of medieval political thought opens with a survey of the structure of the period and continues with an analysis of the Germanic invasions, the fall of Rome, and the rise of empire and monastic Christianity. The political implications of Christianity and philosophy in the period are elaborated in chapters devoted to John of Salisbury, Joachim of Flora, Frederick II, Siger de Brabant, Francis of Assisi, Roman law, and climaxing in a remarkable study of Saint Thomas Aquinas's mighty (...) thirteenth-century synthesis. Although _History of Political Ideas_ was begun as a textbook for Macmillan, Voegelin never intended it to be a conventional chronological account. He sought instead an original comprehensive interpretation, founded on primary materials and taking into account the most advanced specialist scholarship—or science as he called it—available to him. Because of this, the book grew well beyond the confines of an easily marketable college survey and until now remained unpublished. In the process of writing it, Voegelin himself outgrew the conceptual frame of a "History of Political Ideas," turning to compose _Order and History_ and the other works of his maturity. _History of Political Ideas_ became the ordered collection of materials from which much of Voegelin's later theoretical elaboration grew, structured in a manner that reveals the conceptual intimations of his later thought. As such, it provides an unparalleled opportunity to observe the working methods and the intellectual evolution of one of our century's leading political thinkers. In its embracing scope, _History of Political Ideas_ contains both analyses of themes Voegelin developed in his later works and discussions of authors and ideas to which he did not return or which he later approached from a different angle and with a different emphasis. _The Middle Ages to Aquinas_ has withstood the test of time. What makes it still highly valuable is its thoroughly revisionist approach, cutting through all the convenient clichés and generalizations and seeking to establish the experiential underpinnings that typified the medieval period. (shrink)
In _The Later Middle Ages,_ the third volume of his monumental _History of Political Ideas,_ Eric Voegelin continues his exploration of one of the most crucial periods in the history of political thought. Illuminating the great figures of the high Middle Ages, Voegelin traces the historical momentum of our modern world in the core evocative symbols that constituted medieval civilization. These symbols revolved around the enduring aspiration for the _sacrum imperium,_ the one order capable of embracing the transcendent and immanent, (...) the ecclesiastical and political, the divine and human. The story of the later Middle Ages is that of the "civilizational schism"—the movement in which not only the reality but the aspiration for the _sacrum imperium_ gradually disappeared and the unification of faith and reason dissolved. His recognition of this civilizational schism provides Voegelin with a unique perspective on medieval society. William of Ockham, Dante, Giles of Rome, and Marsilius of Padua all emerge in Voegelin's study as predecessors to modern thought; each turns to personal authority and intellectual analysis in an attempt to comprehend the loss of the _sacrum imperium_ as an authoritative ideal. Voegelin is further drawn into investigations that, despite insufficient attention by scholars, still bear relevance to the study of the later Middle Ages. The mysticism apparent in _Piers Plowman_ and the apocalyptic revolt of Cola di Rienzo are merely two reactions to the disintegration of wholeness. Yet the story of the later Middle Ages does not merely revolve around disintegration. Voegelin recognizes the emergence of the constitutional political tradition as the most positive development of this period. He is at his best when explaining the difference between the presence of a representative institution and the growth of communal consciousness. Voegelin's study of the English political pattern is matched only by his unique perspective on the German imperial zone, culminating in a fitting conclusion on Nicholas of Cusa—the one political thinker with the ability to evoke the unity of mankind beyond fragmentation. _The Later Middle Ages_ is at once a brilliant examination of the symbols that characterized medieval society and a remarkable predecessor to Voegelin's study of the modern world, beginning with the Renaissance and the Reformation. (shrink)
By closely examining the sources, movements, and persons of the Renaissance and the Reformation, Voegelin reveals the roots of today's political ideologies in this fourth volume of his _History of Political Ideas._ This insightful study lays the groundwork for Voegelin's critique of the modern period and is essential to an understanding of his later analysis. Voegelin identifies not one but two distinct beginnings of the movement toward modern political consciousness: the Renaissance and the Reformation. Historically, however, the powerful effects of (...) the second have overshadowed the first. In this book, Voegelin carefully examines both periods and their presence in modern thought. The Renaissance, represented by the works of Niccolò Machiavelli, Desiderius Erasmus, and Thomas More, is characterized by a struggle for balance. Machiavelli and Erasmus both looked to a virtuous prince to achieve order, one calling for brute force and the other for Christian spirituality to reach their goal. Also a participant in the first beginning of modernity, More was a complex thinker identified as a saint both of the church and of the communist movement. The issues he explored in _Utopia,_ as Voegelin demonstrates, indirectly gave rise to concepts that have profoundly affected Western history: colonization, imperialism, national socialism, and communism. Exploring the transition from the Renaissance to the Reformation is a brilliant chapter, "The People of God," which examines the sectarian movement. These pages contain the rich historical background that led to Voegelin's later conclusions about Gnosticism and its modern influences. Voegelin offers a controversial view of the Reformation as well as the political and religious situation directly preceding it. Yet he sheds light on the strengths and inadequacies of its key figures, Martin Luther and John Calvin. The driving force behind the Reformation stemmed solely from the powerful personality of Luther. What began as an abstract, purely technical discussion developed into a full-blown revolt. Later in the period, Calvin confronted the problems left behind by Luther and endeavored to create his own universal church to supplant the Catholic Church. His theory of a new elite would have a distinct impact on history. By examining the political ideas that first emerged during the Renaissance and Reformation, this fascinating volume provides a foundation for understanding the events of centuries to follow. (shrink)
This third volume of _Order and History_ completes Voegelin's study of Greek culture from its earliest pre- Hellenic origins to its full maturity with the dominance of Athens. As the title suggests, _Plato and Aristotle_ is principally devoted to the work of the two great thinkers who represent the high point of philosophic inquiry among the Greeks. Through an absorbing analysis of the Platonic and Aristotelian vision of soul, polis, and cosmos, Voegelin demonstrates how the symbolic framework of the older (...) myth was superseded by the more precisely differentiated symbols of philosophy. Although this outmoding and rejection of past symbols of truth might seem to lead to a chaotic and despairing relativism, Voegelin makes it the basis of a profound conception of the historical process: "the attempts to find the symbolic forms that will adequately express the meaning [of a society], while imperfect, do not form a senseless series of failures. For the great societies have created a sequence of orders, intelligibly connected with one another as advances toward, or recessions from, an adequate symbolization of the truth concerning the order of being of which the order of society is a part." In this view, history has no obvious "meaning," yet each society makes a similar venture after truth. Although every society works out its destiny under different conditions, each nonetheless creates symbols"in its deeds and institutions"which bear the meaning of its own existence. History, then, acquires a unity in the common endeavor toward meaning and order. The rationality and nobility of this view of history has much to say to the present age. Dante Germino's powerful introduction to this edition of _Plato and Aristotle_ eloquently directs the reader into Voegelin's search through the thought of Plato foremost and Aristotle secondarily and toward a full understanding of their relevance to the "modern" world. This masterpiece, Germino argues, provides a welcome antidote to the spirit of an era Voegelin once called the Gnostic age. (shrink)