Voegelin, Schelling, and the Philosophy of Historical Existence

Voegelin, Schelling, and the Philosophy of Historical Existence

Voegelin, Schelling, and the Philosophy of Historical Existence

Voegelin, Schelling, and the Philosophy of Historical Existence

Synopsis

In this important new work, Day brings to light the need for an extensive reinterpretation of the mature philosophy of Eric Voegelin, based on Voegelin's published and unpublished appreciation for 19th-century German philosopher F.W.J. Schelling.

Excerpt

Eric Voegelin was an Austro-American political philosopher and historian. This book examines the extent to which he drew upon a number of relatively unknown writings by F. W. J. Schelling in the formation of his mature philosophy of consciousness and historiography.

Voegelin was born in Cologne, Germany, in 1901, to a German father and a Viennese mother. His family lived in Cologne and Königswinter for most of his early youth, but moved to Vienna in 1910, then capital of the AustroHungarian Empire. Shortly after the First World War and the decomposition of the empire that followed, Voegelin began to study at the Law School of the University of Vienna, where he received a doctorate in political science (Doctor rerum politicarum) in 1922. The years following his graduation were not immediately filled with professorial employment. Instead, they were composed of more study and the beginnings of significant travel. Voegelin won numerous fellowships with which to pursue postdoctoral studies in England, Germany, the United States, and France. He met colleagues in some of these places who would later prove themselves to be friends in a time of crisis. Six years of further study and travel brought Voegelin back to Vienna and a relatively secure teaching position (as Privatdozent) in general political science and sociology at the university from which he had graduated. Voegelin married Lissy Onken a few years later, in 1932, and by 1935 received a promotion to associate professor of political science (a.o. Universitätsprofessor). All seemed well for Voegelin. A first-rank education in the social sciences undertaken with some of the world's most influential scholars, extensive travel to broaden the existential reaches of his book learning, the promising beginning of a new family, an attractive teaching position with stimulating colleagues, and the potential for financial stability all pointed the way to a . . .

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