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

1
The Problem

Speaking about political religions and construing the movements of our times not only as political but also, and primarily, as religious movements is not accepted as a matter of course yet, even though the factual situation would force the attentive observer to take this stand. The reason for the prevailing resistance can be found in the linguistic symbolism that has become established in the past few centuries since the dissolution of Western imperial unity and the growth of modern states. When one speaks of religion, one thinks of the institution of the Church, and when one speaks of politics, one thinks of the state. These organizations confront one another as clear-cut, firm entities, and the spirit with which these two bodies are imbued is not one and the same. The state and secular spirit conquered their spheres of power in the fierce battle against the Holy Empire of the Middle Ages, and in the course of this struggle linguistic symbols developed, which do not reflect reality as such but seek to capture and defend the opposite positions of the struggle.

The concepts of religion and politics followed the institutions and their symbols: They entered onto the battlefield and placed themselves under the authority of the linguistic symbols used in the struggle. For this reason, cognition today still involves the contrasts formed under the pressure of their conceptual instruments, although a critical look might reveal merely different examples of the effectiveness of closely related fundamental human forces. The currently prevalent concepts of religion and state in general European usage as well as in more limited scientific usage are oriented along certain models whose significance can be traced back to the intellectual struggles waged in Europe. By religion one understands such phenomena as Christianity and the other great redemptive religions; by state one means the political organizations of the

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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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