Eric Voegelin

Eric Voegelin (January 2, 1901 – January 19, 1985) was born in Germany and lived there until he fled to the United States with his wife during the Nazi invasion. He spent much of his career at Louisiana State University, the University of Munich, and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He wrote many books including Science, Politics, and Gnosticism (1968), The Science of New Politics (1952) and his great 5 volume work entitled Order and History.

What Happened to Excellence?

By |2019-04-07T16:12:48-06:00August 29th, 2016|Categories: Character, Culture, Eric Voegelin, Featured, George A. Panichas, Great Books, Irving Babbitt, Modernity, Virtue|

Excellence, which can be defined as the state of excelling and of surpassing merit, is now increasingly one of the lost words of the English language. And increasingly the special qualities that this word de­notes are banned in a nation which im­poses diversity and political correctitude. Today, it is dangerously incriminating for one to [...]

On the Deaths of Plato and Eric Voegelin

By |2017-07-31T23:48:05-06:00August 28th, 2016|Categories: Books, Christianity, Eric Voegelin, Featured, Fr. James Schall, Plato, Socrates, Timeless Essays|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Fr. James Schall as he contemplates the similarities between the death of Plato and the death of one of Plato’s more recent scholars, Eric Voegelin. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher But there is another sort of old age too: the tranquil [...]

What Shaped Eric Voegelin’s Thought?

By |2016-05-07T08:36:30-06:00April 27th, 2016|Categories: Christianity, Conservatism, Eric Voegelin, Featured, History, Western Civilization|

IV Eric Voegelin’s affection for the Hellenic, Judaic, and Christian heritages can be easily documented. They are the crucial strands in the forming of his thought. Yet the matter goes deeper than that. Subtly, but irrefutably, in the corpus of his writing, Christianity emerges as the preeminent achievement of the Western experience. For example, [...]

The Conservative Thought of Eric Voegelin

By |2016-05-02T10:23:04-06:00April 21st, 2016|Categories: Aristotle, Christianity, Conservatism, Eric Voegelin, Featured, Plato, St. Augustine|

Eric Voegelin was born in Cologne, Germany in 1901. Receiving his doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1922, he served on the law faculty of that institution. To escape the Nazi regime, he came to the United States in 1938. Subsequently, he taught at Harvard University, Bennington College, the University of Alabama, and Louisiana [...]

Eric Voegelin’s Gnosticism

By |2016-03-28T10:39:17-06:00February 16th, 2016|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Culture, Eric Voegelin, Featured, Friedrich Nietzsche|

In my previous essay, “Eric Voegelin: A Primer,” I had the privilege to offer a brief sketch of this German intellectual’s life and thought. In this essay, I would like to explore one of Voegelin’s three most important ideas: his critique of Gnosticism. As in the previous essay, I am drawing heavily upon the [...]

Eric Voegelin: A Primer

By |2016-02-01T22:38:45-06:00February 1st, 2016|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Eric Voegelin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Hope|

On my religious position, I have been classified as a Protestant, a Catholic, an anti-semitic, and as a typical Jew; politically, as a Liberal, a Fascist, a National Socialist, and a Conservative; and on my theoretical position, as a Platonist, a Neo-Augustinian, a Thomist, a disciple of Hegel, an existentialist, a historical relativist, and an [...]

The Burkean Tradition of Strauss and Voegelin

By |2016-02-22T08:37:44-06:00January 12th, 2016|Categories: Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Eric Voegelin, Featured, History, Leo Strauss, Philosophy|

Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin were scholars in the field of political philosophy, yet they did not have an explicit political teaching. They studied the great political philosophers of the past in order to learn lessons that might become living truths for us today. But Strauss and Voegelin did not write political treatises defending a [...]

Eric Voegelin’s Redemption of Modernity

By |2016-01-09T23:42:03-06:00January 10th, 2016|Categories: Eric Voegelin, History, Modernity, Philosophy|

Political theorists, like literary and social theorists, occupy a kind of twilight zone in relation to philosophy. Their disciplines are at once empirical and philosophical, an indeterminate status compared to the strictly autonomous unfolding of philosophy. Yet it is by virtue of this difference of perspective that they may have something to contribute to [...]

Eric Voegelin: Meditation as Antidote to Gnosticism

By |2015-12-30T08:27:00-06:00December 30th, 2015|Categories: Christopher Morrissey, Eric Voegelin, Literature|

“The death of the spirit is the price of progress. Nietzsche revealed this mystery of the Western apocalypse when he announced that God was dead and that He had been murdered. This Gnostic murder is constantly committed by the men who sacrifice God to civilization. The more fervently all human energies are thrown into [...]

The Whole Story: Eric Voegelin on the Song of Hesiod

By |2019-10-03T15:11:55-06:00November 25th, 2015|Categories: Christopher Morrissey, Eric Voegelin, History, Poetry, Science|

According to the philosopher Eric Voegelin, there are no more than four fundamental modes of theoretical speculation. Voegelin identifies these four fundamental modes as: cosmogony, anthropogony, theogony, and historiogenesis. These modes speak, respectively, of the genesis of the universe, the genesis of human beings, the genesis of the divine, and the genesis of society. [...]

Eric Voegelin, Leo Strauss, and American Conservatism

By |2018-07-10T00:41:05-06:00April 11th, 2015|Categories: Conservatism, Eric Voegelin, Featured, Leo Strauss|

Eric Voegelin For more than fifty years, American conservatives have treated Eric Voegelin and Leo Strauss as fellow travellers. But for various reasons, that relationship and its contemporary legacy has been fraught with problems. What, then, are the points of continuity and discontinuity between the American conservative movement and these two political [...]

The Philosophy of War and Peace

By |2019-08-13T17:50:51-06:00January 29th, 2015|Categories: Books, Christianity, Eric Voegelin, Featured, Robert Cheeks|

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. William Butler Yeats, Second Coming Jenny Teichman, a Cambridge philosophy professor, in her new book, The Philosophy of War and Peace, takes upon herself the challenging task of providing her readership with a concise and abbreviated disquisition on the philosophical foundation of war and peace. The success of [...]