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Subject: eric voegelin and traditionalism
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I've very recently been introduced to Eric Voegelin. In fear of being too general and ignorant I ask, what is Eric Voegelin's concept of gnosticism, and how, if at all, does Voegelin's philosophy (specifically his concept of gnosticism) fit within traditionalist conservatism? Thank you.

Jim Kalb

RE: eric voegelin and traditionalism
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The things Voegelin says about Gnosticism don't seem to be accepted by people who study Gnosticism historically, as a religious tendency of late antiquity, but I do think there's something to them.

What he seems to intend by "Gnosticism" is the view that the present world is hopelessly evil and unredeemable, but nonetheless capable of revolutionary transformation in accordance with secret knowledge possessed by an elite. As such it would include a variety of modern ideologies.

I suppose his point in calling such views "Gnostic" is that they spring from a spiritual state like that of the historical Gnostics, who seem to have held that the creation of the world was a mistake, the doing of some sort of inferior God, and that there was a God beyond God, knowledge of whom would enable the Gnostic elite to escape the evils of existence.

As to the connection with tradition, it seems to me that since tradition is intertwined with the world around us and the habits and attitudes of the people in it if you think that world is essentially bad then on the whole you'll have to reject tradition too.

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