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

By Eric Voegelin; Manfred Henningsen | Go to book overview

2
Akhenaton

The oldest political religion of a highly civilized people was the Egyptians' worship of the sun. Its beginnings merge with the dawning of history, but its development—which we can trace up to its climax in the sun cult of Akhenaton and the subsequent catastrophe— illustrates the contours of the problem almost more clearly than the later and better known cases of the Mediterranean and European culture groups.

The factors that defined the development of the myth can be found at the beginning of historical time. The kings of the first dynasties already considered themselves to be successors to the sun god Horus, one of the rulers of the dynasty of gods who reigned over the country during its mythical beginnings. The pre-dynastic kings of the two distinct kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt were summarily called “servants of Horus.” They attained the status of semi-gods, and later they were venerated as gods in the cities over which they ruled. The first kings known in history carried the title of Horus, since they were considered to be his successors, as well as the title of a “good God”; and after their death they were also worshipped as gods in their temples. Moreover, the “state form of religion” can already be found at the beginning of historical time. The king is the mediator between humans and the gods. Theoretically, he alone has the right to worship the gods, but in practice he has high priests and colleges of priests carry out his mediatorship in the different temples.

Thus, the main figures of the inner-political religious power struggle have been introduced. There were numerous local deities whose powers were not always clearly delineated, and in the large cities there was not only one Sun God but several. Each god had its priesthood, and the colleges of priests struggled with each other to

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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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