Eric Voegelin
Overview
 
Eric Voegelin, born Erich Hermann Wilhelm Vögelin, (January 3, 1901 – January 19, 1985) was a German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

-born American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 political philosopher. He was born in Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, then Imperial Germany, and educated in political science at the University of Vienna
University of Vienna
The University of Vienna is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world...

. He became a teacher and then an associate professor of political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 at the Faculty of Law. In 1938 he, with his wife, fled from the Nazi forces which had recently entered Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, emigrating to the United States, where they became citizens in 1944.
Quotations

The course of history as a whole is no object of experience; history has no eidos|eidos, because the course of history extends into the unknown future.

Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics: An Introduction, ISBN 0226861147, p. 120

The death of the spirit is the price of progress.

Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics: An Introduction, ISBN 0226861147, p. 131

Philosophy springs from the love of being; it is man's loving endeavor to perceive the order of being and attune himself to it. Gnosis desires dominion over being; in order to seize control of being the Gnostic constructs his system. The building of systems is a gnostic form of reasoning, not a philosophical one.

Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism in Collected Works, Vol. 5: Modernity Without Restraint, edited by Manfred Henningsen, ISBN 082621245X, p. 273.

Christ is the head of the corpus mysticum, which includes all men from the beginning of the world to its end. He is not the president of a special-interest club.

Eric Voegelin, Collected Works, Vol. 31: Hitler and the Germans, edited and translated by Detlev Clemens and Brandon Purcell, ISBN 0826212166, p. 200.

Encyclopedia
Eric Voegelin, born Erich Hermann Wilhelm Vögelin, (January 3, 1901 – January 19, 1985) was a German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

-born American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 political philosopher. He was born in Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, then Imperial Germany, and educated in political science at the University of Vienna
University of Vienna
The University of Vienna is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world...

. He became a teacher and then an associate professor of political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 at the Faculty of Law. In 1938 he, with his wife, fled from the Nazi forces which had recently entered Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, emigrating to the United States, where they became citizens in 1944. He spent most of his academic career at the University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

, Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, most often referred to as Louisiana State University, or LSU, is a public coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The University was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name...

, the University of Munich and the Hoover Institution
Hoover Institution
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace is a public policy think tank and library founded in 1919 by then future U.S. president, Herbert Hoover, an early alumnus of Stanford....

 of Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

.

Biography

Voegelin was born in Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

 in 1901. He taught political theory and sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 at the University of Vienna
University of Vienna
The University of Vienna is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world...

 after his habilitation there in 1928. While in Austria Voegelin established the beginnings of his long lasting friendship with F. A. Hayek. In 1933 he published two books criticizing Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

, and was forced to flee from Austria following the Anschluss
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 in 1938. After a brief stay in Switzerland, he arrived in the United States and taught at a series of universities before joining Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, most often referred to as Louisiana State University, or LSU, is a public coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The University was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name...

's Department of Government in 1942. His advisers on his dissertation were Hans Kelsen and Othmar Spann
Othmar Spann
Othmar Spann was a conservative Austrian philosopher, sociologist and economist whose radical anti-liberal and anti-Socialist views, based on early 19th century Romantic ideas expressed by Adam Müller et al...

.

Voegelin remained in Baton Rouge until 1958 when he accepted an offer by Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

's Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität to fill Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

's former chair in political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

, which had been empty since Weber's death in 1920. In Munich he founded the Institut für Politische Wissenschaft. Voegelin returned to America in 1969 to join Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

's Hoover Institution
Hoover Institution
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace is a public policy think tank and library founded in 1919 by then future U.S. president, Herbert Hoover, an early alumnus of Stanford....

 on War, Revolution and Peace as Henry Salvatori Fellow where he continued his work until his death on January 19, 1985.

Work

Voegelin worked throughout his life to account for the endemic political violence
Political violence
Political violence is a common means used by people and governments around the world to achieve political goals. Many groups and individuals believe that their political systems will never respond to their political demands. As a result they believe that violence is not only justified but also...

 of the twentieth century in an effort variously referred to as a philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 of politics, history, or consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

.

Voegelin published scores of books, essays, and reviews in his lifetime. An early work was Die politischen Religionen (1938), (The Political Religions), on totalitarian ideologies and their structural similarities to religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

. His magnum opus is the multi-volume (English-language) Order and History, which began publication in 1956 and remained incomplete at the time of his death 29 years later. His 1951 Charles Walgreen lectures, published as The New Science of Politics, is generally seen as a prolegomenon to this, and remains his best known work. He left many manuscripts unpublished, including a history of political ideas that has since been published in eight volumes.

Order and History was originally conceived as a six-volume examination of the history of order occasioned by Voegelin's personal experience of the disorder of his time. The first three volumes, Israel and Revelation, The World of the Polis, and Plato and Aristotle, appeared in rapid succession in 1956 and 1957 and focused on the evocations of order in the ancient Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

 and Greece.

Voegelin then encountered difficulties that slowed the publication down. This, combined with his university administrative duties and work related to the new institute, meant that seventeen years separated the fourth from the third volume. His new concerns were indicated in the 1966 German collection Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik, and the fourth volume, The Ecumenic Age, appeared in 1974. It broke with the chronological pattern of the previous volumes by investigating symbolizations of order ranging in time from the Sumerian King List to Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, one of the creators of German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality as a whole revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism.Hegel developed a comprehensive...

. Continuing work on the final volume, In Search of Order, occupied Voegelin's final days and it was published posthumously in 1987.
One of Voegelin's main points in his later work is that a sense of order is conveyed by the experience of transcendence. This transcendence can never be fully defined nor described, though it may be conveyed in symbols. A particular sense of transcendent order serves as a basis for a particular political order. It is in this way that a philosophy of politics becomes a philosophy of consciousness. Insights may become fossilised as dogma. The main aim of the political philosopher is to remain open to the truth of order, and convey this to others.

Voegelin is more interested in the ontological issues that arise from these experiences than the epistemological questions of how we know that a vision of order is true or not. For Voegelin, the essence of truth is trust. All philosophy begins with experience of the divine. Since God is experienced as good, one can be confident that reality is knowable. As Descartes would say, God is not a deceiver.

Voegelin's work does not fit in any standard classifications, although some of his readers have found similarities in it to contemporaneous works by, for example, Ernst Cassirer
Ernst Cassirer
Ernst Cassirer was a German philosopher. He was one of the major figures in the development of philosophical idealism in the first half of the 20th century...

, Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

, Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

, and Hans-Georg Gadamer
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Hans-Georg Gadamer was a German philosopher of the continental tradition, best known for his 1960 magnum opus, Truth and Method .-Life:...

. He has a sometimes unapproachable style and a heavy reliance upon extensive background knowledge. Voegelin often invents terms or uses old ones in new ways. However, there are patterns in his work with which the reader can quickly become familiar.

Among indications of growing engagement with Voegelin's work are the 305 page international bibliography published in 2000 by Munich's Wilhelm Fink Verlag; the presence of dedicated research centers at universities in the United States, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom; the appearance of recent translations in languages ranging from Portuguese to Japanese; and the publishing of the nearly complete 34 volume collection of his primary works by the University of Missouri
University of Missouri
The University of Missouri System is a state university system providing centralized administration for four universities, a health care system, an extension program, five research and technology parks, and a publishing press. More than 64,000 students are currently enrolled at its four campuses...

 Press and various primary and secondary works offered by the Eric-Voegelin-Archiv of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität.

Voegelin on Gnosticism

In his The New Science of Politics, Order and History, and Science, Politics and Gnosticism, Voegelin opposed what he believed to be unsound Gnostic
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

 influences in politics. He defined gnosis
Gnosis
Gnosis is the common Greek noun for knowledge . In the context of the English language gnosis generally refers to the word's meaning within the spheres of Christian mysticism, Mystery religions and Gnosticism where it signifies 'spiritual knowledge' in the sense of mystical enlightenment.-Related...

 as "a purported direct, immediate apprehension or vision of truth without the need for critical reflection; the special gift of a spiritual and cognitive elite." Gnosticism is a "type of thinking that claims absolute cognitive mastery of reality. Relying as it does on a claim to gnosis, gnosticism considers its knowledge not subject to criticism. Gnosticism may take transcendentalizing (as in the case of the Gnostic movement of late antiquity) or immanentizing forms (as in the case of Marxism)."

Apart from the Classical Christian writers against heresy, his sources on Gnosticism were secondary
Secondary source
In scholarship, a secondary source is a document or recording that relates or discusses information originally presented elsewhere. A secondary source contrasts with a primary source, which is an original source of the information being discussed; a primary source can be a person with direct...

, since the texts in the Nag Hammadi library
Nag Hammadi library
The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. That year, twelve leather-bound papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar were found by a local peasant named Mohammed Ali Samman...

 were not yet widely available. For example Voegelin uses Hans Urs von Balthasar
Hans Urs von Balthasar
Hans Urs von Balthasar was a Swiss theologian and priest who was nominated to be a cardinal of the Catholic Church...

, Henri de Lubac
Henri de Lubac
Henri-Marie de Lubac, SJ was a French Jesuit priest who became a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, and is considered to be one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century...

, and the Jewish German philosopher Hans Jonas
Hans Jonas
Hans Jonas was a German-born philosopher who was, from 1955 to 1976, Alvin Johnson Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York City.Jonas's writings were very influential in different spheres...

.

Voegelin perceived similarities between ancient Gnosticism and modernist
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 political theories, particularly communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 and nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

. He identified the root of the Gnostic impulse as alienation
Social alienation
The term social alienation has many discipline-specific uses; Roberts notes how even within the social sciences, it “is used to refer both to a personal psychological state and to a type of social relationship”...

, that is, a sense of disconnection from society and a belief that this lack is the result of the inherent disorder, or even evil, of the world. This alienation has two effects:
  • The first is the belief that the disorder of the world can be transcended by extraordinary insight, learning, or knowledge, called a Gnostic Speculation by Voegelin (the Gnostics themselves referred to this as gnosis
    Gnosis
    Gnosis is the common Greek noun for knowledge . In the context of the English language gnosis generally refers to the word's meaning within the spheres of Christian mysticism, Mystery religions and Gnosticism where it signifies 'spiritual knowledge' in the sense of mystical enlightenment.-Related...

    ).
  • The second is the desire to implement and or create a policy to actualize the speculation, or Immanentize the Eschaton
    Immanentize the eschaton
    In political theory and theology, to immanentize the eschaton means trying to bring about the eschaton in the immanent world. It has been used by conservative critics, foremost William F. Buckley, as a pejorative reference to certain utopian projects, such as socialism, communism and transhumanism...

    , i.e., to create a sort of heaven on earth within history.


According to Voegelin the Gnostics are really rejecting the Christian eschaton of the kingdom of God and replacing it with a human form of salvation through esoteric ritual or practice.

The primary feature that characterizes a tendency as gnostic for Voegelin is that it is motivated by the notion that the world and humanity can be fundamentally transformed and perfected through the intervention of a chosen group of people (an elite), a man-god, or men-Gods, Übermensch
Übermensch
The Übermensch is a concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche posited the Übermensch as a goal for humanity to set for itself in his 1883 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra ....

, who are the chosen ones that possess a kind of special knowledge (like magic or science) about how to perfect human existence.

This stands in contrast to a notion of redemption that is achieved through the reconciliation of mankind with the divine. Marxism therefore qualifies as "gnostic" because it purports that we can establish the perfect society on earth once capitalism has been overthrown by the "proletariat." Likewise, Nazism is seen as "gnostic" because it posits that we can achieve utopia by attaining racial purity, once the master race has freed itself of the racially inferior and the degenerate.

In the two cases specifically analyzed by Voegelin, the totalitarian impulse is derived from the alienation of the individuals from the rest of society. This leads to a desire to dominate (libido dominandi) which has its roots not just in the Gnostic's conviction of the imperative of his vision but also in his lack of concord with a large body of his society. As a result, there is very little regard for the welfare of those who are harmed by the resulting politics, which ranges from coercive to calamitous (e.g. the Russian proverb: "You have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet").

Immanentizing the eschaton

One of his most quoted passages is the following:

The problem of an eidos
Theory of Forms
Plato's theory of Forms or theory of Ideas asserts that non-material abstract forms , and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality. When used in this sense, the word form is often capitalized...

 in history, hence, arises only when a Christian transcendental
Transcendence (religion)
In religion transcendence refers to the aspect of God's nature which is wholly independent of the physical universe. This is contrasted with immanence where God is fully present in the physical world and thus accessible to creatures in various ways...

 fulfillment becomes immanentized. Such an immanentist hypostasis
Hypostasis
Hypostasis may refer to:* Hypostatic abstraction * Hypostasis , personification of entities* Hypostatic gene* Hypostasis , an Australian-based not-for-profit organization...

 of the eschaton
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

, however, is a theoretical fallacy.


From this comes the catchphrase: "Don't immanentize the eschaton!" which simply means: "Do not try to make that which belongs to the afterlife happen here and now." or "Don't try to create heaven on earth."

When Voegelin uses the term gnosis negatively, it is to reflect the word as found in the Manichaeism
Manichaeism
Manichaeism in Modern Persian Āyin e Māni; ) was one of the major Iranian Gnostic religions, originating in Sassanid Persia.Although most of the original writings of the founding prophet Mani have been lost, numerous translations and fragmentary texts have survived...

 and Valentinianism of antiquity. As it is later then immanentized (or manifest) in modernity in the wake of Joachim of Fiore
Joachim of Fiore
Joachim of Fiore, also known as Joachim of Flora and in Italian Gioacchino da Fiore , was the founder of the monastic order of San Giovanni in Fiore . He was a mystic, a theologian and an esoterist...

 and in the various ideological movements outlined in his works. Voegelin also builds on the term gnosticism as it is defined by Hans Jonas in his The Gnostic Religion in reference to Heidegger's gnosticism. Which is to have an understanding and control over reality that makes Mankind as powerful as the role of God in reality.

Voegelin was arguing from a Hellenistic position that good gnosis is derived from pistis (faith) and that the pagan tradition made a false distinction between faith and noesis. Furthermore, this dualist perspective was the very essence of gnosticism via the misuse of Noema
Noema
Noema derives from the Greek word νόημα meaning thought or what is thought about. Edmund Husserl used noema as a technical term in Phenomenology to stand for the object or content of a thought, judgment or perception, but its precise meaning in his work has remained a matter of...

 and caused a destructive division between the internal and external world in human consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

. To reconcile the internal (subjective
Subjectivism
Subjectivism is a philosophical tenet that accords primacy to subjective experience as fundamental of all measure and law. In extreme forms like Solipsism, it may hold that the nature and existence of every object depends solely on someone's subjective awareness of it...

) and external (objective) world of consciousness was the restoration of order.

Social alienation

Voegelin identified the root of the Gnostic impulse as alienation
Social alienation
The term social alienation has many discipline-specific uses; Roberts notes how even within the social sciences, it “is used to refer both to a personal psychological state and to a type of social relationship”...

, that is, a sense of disconnection with society, and a belief that this disconnection is the result of the inherent disorder, or even evil, of the world. This alienation has two effects:
  • The belief that the disorder of the world can be transcended by extraordinary insight, learning, or knowledge, called a Gnostic Speculation by Voegelin (the Gnostics themselves referred to this as gnosis).
  • The desire to create and implement a policy to actualize the speculation, or as Voegelin described it, to Immanentize the Eschaton
    Immanentize the eschaton
    In political theory and theology, to immanentize the eschaton means trying to bring about the eschaton in the immanent world. It has been used by conservative critics, foremost William F. Buckley, as a pejorative reference to certain utopian projects, such as socialism, communism and transhumanism...

    , to create a sort of heaven on earth within history by triggering the apocalypse
    Apocalypse
    An Apocalypse is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament...

    .


Voegelin’s conception of gnosis and his analysis of Gnosticism in general has been criticized by Eugene Webb
Eugene Webb
Eugene Webb is Professor Emeritus in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. Webb holds a Ph.D., in Comparative Literature from Columbia University , an M.A. in English Literature from Columbia University and also a B.A., in Philosophy from the...

. In an article entitled "Voegelin’s Gnosticism Reconsidered," Webb explains that Voegelin’s concept of Gnosticism was conceived "not primarily to describe ancient phenomena but to help us understand some modern ones for which the evidence is a great deal clearer." Webb continues, "the category (of Gnosticism) is of limited usefulness for the purpose to which he put it…and the fact that the idea of Gnosticism as such has become so problematic and complex in recent years must at the very least undercut Voegelin’s effort to trace a historical line of descent from ancient sources to the modern phenomena he tried to use them to illuminate."

See also

  • James H. Billington
    James H. Billington
    Lord LeBron James Hadley Billington is an American academic. He is the thirteenth Librarian of the United States Congress.-Early years:...

  • Juan Linz
    Juan Linz
    Juan José Linz is a Spanish sociologist and political scientist. He is Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Yale University and an honorary member of the Scientific Council at the Juan March Institute...

  • Athanasios Moulakis
    Athanasios Moulakis
    Athanasios Moulakis is the current Provost of the American University of Iraq - Sulaimani and a former Professor and Acting President and Chief Academic Officer, Professor of Government at the American University of Afghanistan.-Life:...

  • Eugene Webb
    Eugene Webb
    Eugene Webb is Professor Emeritus in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. Webb holds a Ph.D., in Comparative Literature from Columbia University , an M.A. in English Literature from Columbia University and also a B.A., in Philosophy from the...

  • Ellis Sandoz
    Ellis Sandoz
    Ellis Sandoz is the Hermann Moyse Jr. Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Eric Voegelin Institute for American Renaissance Studies...

  • American philosophy
    American philosophy
    American philosophy is the philosophical activity or output of Americans, both within the United States and abroad. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes that while American philosophy lacks a "core of defining features, American Philosophy can nevertheless be seen as both reflecting and...

  • List of American philosophers
  • Eric Hoffer
    Eric Hoffer
    Eric Hoffer was an American social writer. He was the author of ten books and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February 1983...


Primary literature

All of Voegelin's writing is published as his Collected Works (CW), which is reviewed by Mark Lilla
Mark Lilla
Mark Lilla is an essayist and historian of ideas at Columbia University in New York City.A frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, the New Republic, and the New York Times, he is best known for his books The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics and The Stillborn God: Religion,...

, *"Mr. Casaubon in America" The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books is a fortnightly magazine with articles on literature, culture and current affairs. Published in New York City, it takes as its point of departure that the discussion of important books is itself an indispensable literary activity...

 54/11 (June 28, 2007) : 29-31.

Secondary literature

  • Cooper, Barry: Eric Voegelin and the Foundations of Modern Political Science, University of Missouri Press, 1999.
  • Federici, Michael: Eric Voegelin: The Restoration of Order, ISI Books 2002, basic introduction
  • Sandoz, Ellis: The Vogelinian Revolution: A Biographical Introduction Louisiana State UP, 1981. advanced
  • Trepanier, Lee, and Steven F. McGuire, eds. Eric Voegelin and the Continental Tradition: Explorations in Modern Political Thought (University of Missouri Press; 2011) 284 pages; Essays on his relationship to Hegel, Schelling, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Gadamer.
  • Webb, Eugene: "Eric Voegelin: Philosopher of History" Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1981.

Primary sources

  • The closest to an introduction to his thought in his own words is the: Autobiographical Reflections.
  • A Friendship That Lasted a Lifetime: The Correspondence Between Alfred Schutz and Eric Voegelin edited by Gerhard Wagner and Gilbert Weiss, translated by William Petropulos (University of Missouri Press; 2011) 240 pages

External links



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