Subject: Re: eric voegelin and traditionalism |
Voegelin adapted the original concept mooted by the neoscholastic scholar Hans Urs Von Balthasar into his political theories during the 50s and 60s. Prior to that, Voegelin used the term "ersatz religion" in referring to totalitarian ideologies of both the right and the left. Voegelin's three main works subsequent his 1938 book "The Poltiical Religions" (which got him in hot water with Thomas Mann for being too philosophical about Nazism) were, "The New Science of Politics" (in which he introduced the term "gnosticism" in the context of political science), "Science, Politics, and Gnosticism" - Voegelin's lecture series at the University of Munich in 1958 - and finally "Anamnesis", a book that represents the fullest and most rigorous development of Voegelin's philosophy. Some Voegelin scholars contend that he backed off from the manner in which he used the term "gnosticism"
in latter years, after Anamnesie was published. But the ideas expressed in the 1952 book and the 1958 lecture are compelling, and should be considered by any reader interested in modern political philosophy, particularly since Voegelin carried on an active correspondence with other German emigre political philosophers, including Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss. Voegelin started out his adult life as a Social Democrat in Austria, but his association with the Hoover Institution pretty much sealed his identity as a conservative political thinker. His Thomist tendencies do make him sympatico with people like Gerhart Niemeyer and Geoffrey Price, Catholics all.
There is a Yahoo group, evforum, that serves as a mailing list for the academic community associated with Voegelin's work. These people are very high minded, though a bit stuffy. You can learn a lot there, but they tend to
Also, while I am at this, I see that "Hitler and the Germans" has been republished as an independent book by University of Missouri press. This set of Voegelin lectures draws a lot on "The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany" by Guenther Lewy. Not much independent scholarship, but as always, Voegelin is eminently readable, and sheds light on otherwise horrifying material.