Modernity without Restraint: The Political Religions, the New Science of Politics, and Science, Politics, and Gnosticism

By Manfred Henningsen; Eric Voegelin | Go to book overview

Editor's Introduction

I

The three books by Eric Voegelin that are published in this volume were written in remarkably different phases of his life, reflecting the circumstances of his respective Austrian, American, and German biographies. When the study Die politischen Religionen was first published in Vienna in April 1938, Austria had been annexed a month earlier by Nazi Germany. Voegelin was informed at the end of March that he should not expect any successful employment at an Austrian university in the future and should therefore look for a job at an American university.1 When he received the letter with the friendly suggestion he was still a Privatdozent and adjunct professor at the university, officially employed as an assistant at the law school. On April 22, 1938, he lost the right to teach; the so-called venia legendi was withdrawn by the ministry. On May 17 he was fired from the position of an assistant, effective at the end of the month. When the Gestapo tried to get hold of his passport he fled to Switzerland. He and his wife, Lissy, ended up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where, on Christmas 1938, he wrote the preface for a new edition of Die politischen Religionen, which his publisher, Bermann-Fischer, issued in Stockholm in 1939. This preface was also meant as an answer to Thomas Mann, who—after having read the book—had written Voegelin a highly critical letter about the lack of passionate denouncement of the Nazis.2

The second book,The New Science of Politics, is a series of lectures he gave at the University of Chicago in the winter quarter

____________________
1
The letter from the Austrian Ministry of Culture was dated April 1, 1938. Eric Voegelin Papers, Hoover Institution Archives, Increment Box.
2
Thomas Mann letter, ibid., box 24, file 11.

-1-

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Modernity without Restraint: The Political Religions, the New Science of Politics, and Science, Politics, and Gnosticism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Editor's Introduction 1
  • The Political Religions 19
  • Contents 21
  • Preface 23
  • 1 - The Problem 27
  • 2 - Akhenaton 34
  • 3 - Hierarchy 42
  • 4 - The Leviathan 53
  • 5 - The Inner-Worldly Community 59
  • 7 - Epilogue 70
  • A Note on Sources 72
  • The New Science of Politics - An Introduction 75
  • Contents 77
  • Foreword 79
  • Acknowledgements 81
  • Contents 83
  • Introduction 88
  • 1 - Representation and Existence 109
  • 2 - Representation and Truth 129
  • 3 - The Struggle for Representation in the Roman Empire 149
  • 4 - Gnosticism the Nature of Modernity 175
  • 5 - Gnostic Revolution the Puritan Case 196
  • 6 - The End of Modernity 220
  • Science, Politics, and Gnosticism - Two Essays 243
  • Contents 245
  • Preface to the American Edition 247
  • Part I - Science, Politics, and Gnosticism 249
  • 1 - Introduction 251
  • 2 - Science, Politics, and Gnosticism 257
  • 3 - The Murder of God 278
  • 4 - Note on Hegel's “philosophy of World History” 290
  • Part II - Ersatz Religion the Gnostic Mass Movements of Our Time 293
  • Ersatz Religion 295
  • Index 315
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