"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)
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 ...
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)
In 1924, not quite two years after receiving his doctorate from the University of Vienna, Eric Voegelin was named a Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fellow and thus given the opportunity to pursue postdoctoral studies in the United States. For the next twenty-four months, Voegelin worked with some of the most creative scholars in America and at several of the country's great universities, an experience that undoubtedly influenced his scholarly and personal perspectives throughout his life. A more immediate result was the (...) publication in 1928 of _On the Form of the American Mind,_ the young philosopher's first major work, in which his acute perceptions and analyses combine with a conceptual vocabulary struggling to find its own coherence and form. Voegelin begins his inquiry into the form of the American mind with a complex discussion of the concepts of time and existence in European and American philosophy and continues with an extended interpretation of George Santayana, a study of the Puritan mystic Jonathan Edwards, a presentation on Anglo-American jurisprudence, and a consideration of the historian, economist, and political scientist John R. Commons. Although admitting that this diversity of themes seems only loosely connected," Voegelin demonstrates the actual overall unity of these various subjects: each concerns linguistic expressions of a theoretical nature. Analysis of _On the Form of the American Mind_ indicates that Voegelin integrated the approaches of _Lebensphilosophie_ into what Georg Misch called the "philosophical combination of anthropology and history," which characterized contemporary trends within the discourse of the _Geisteswissenschaften_ and finally resulted in a theoretical paradigm of philosophical anthropology. Jürgen Gebhardt and Barry Cooper provide access to this brilliant study with their two-part introduction. The first part considers _On the Form of the American Mind_ in the context of methodological debates ongoing in Germany at the time Voegelin was writing the book; the second describes Voegelin's American experience and compares his work with similar studies written during the post-World War I period. (shrink)
_Published Essays, 1966-1985_ includes some of the most trenchant and compelling of Eric Voegelin's work and is an indispensable companion to his Anamnesis and to the fourth and fifth volumes of _Order and History,_ which were prepared for publication during the same period, the last two decades of the author's life. These essays are quintessential Voegelin. Voegelin was an essayist at heart, and the pieces gathered here bear on almost every aspect of his philosophy. They range in subject matter and (...) tone from a scalding critique of the German intellectual establishment during the Hitler period and a satire upon contemporary vulgarian culture to magisterial analyses of immortality, reason, and consciousness. The essays also embrace Voegelin's elaboration of the theory of equivalent experiences and symbolizations over human history and his meditation upon the lure of extremes in the rebellion of magic against reason in various modernist attacks on culture. The scope of Voegelin's work is magnified by the collection's final essay, a touching and profound deathbed reflection on God. Running through all the material is Voegelin's conviction that the truly scientific or philosophical life is ordered through an Anselmian _fides quaerens intellectum,_ a faith in search of understanding. Thus, the assertion that "all men by nature desire to know," which opens Aristotle's _Metaphysics,_ is rightly completed by the words the divine Ground of being. It is the search of the Ground by a mystic philosopher-consciously indebted to such great contemplatives as Plato, Anselm, of Canterbury, jean Bodin, and Henri Bergson-that distinguishes Voegelin's own pilgrimage through time in partnership with God. Nowhere does this come more powerfully and luminously clear than in the pages of _Published Essays, 1966-1985._. (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)
"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)