on the Inside
“That winter is washed away”
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn has once again chosen a poem from the pen of the 20th century American poet Wallace Stevens. In this poem Stevens looks at Homer's Odyssey and imagines Penelope's thoughts while she awaits the return of Ulysses. Read in Poetry this week “The World as Meditation.”
Community and the Ethics of Responsibility
William French concludes his extended review of Glenn Moots' Politics Reformed by highlighting the spiritual foundations of political society: “Religious community takes . . . priority over citizenship, and sustainable political order requires communities . . . to supply civil society with that which society cannot itself supply: love.” Today read part 2 of “The Mystery of God’s Survival in Political Order.” (And part 1 may be read HERE.)
“Who is the winner? Macchiavelli?”
We welcome Anastasios Moulakis to VoegelinView. Professor Moulakis reviews for us Philippe Bénéton's The Kingdom Suffereth Violence, an imaginary dialogue among Machiavelli, Erasmus and St. Thomas More based on their writings: “In considering texts so ‘overloaded with interpretations’ as those of the three authors treated here, Bénéton wants to lead back to the suggestive complexity of their style and away from reductive foreshortened interpretations . . .” Read in Book Reviews this week “Wary of the Systematizing Spirit.”
Escaping from the Eye of Judgment
Glenn Hughes returns to VoegelinView with his review of Roger Scruton's latest book, The Face of God. Hughes sums up Scruton's arguement: “What blocks our recognition of the world and ourselves as gifts of a transcendent God is, above all, our fear of being accountable: for ourselves, for others, for the earth, and to God. And this shows itself in all the desecrations and degradations that we visit upon each other and the environment, as well as in our relentless turning of persons, sex, natural objects, food, etc., into mere objects for consumption.”Read in Book Reviews this week “Escaping from the Eye of Judgment.”
Experience and Symbol –Part 1
Eric Voegelin delivered the Ingersoll Lecture on Immortality at Harvard Divinity School on January 14, 1965. It is presented here in six parts.
Immortality is one of the language symbols engendered by a class of experiences to which we refer as the varieties of religious experience.
This term is perhaps no longer the technically best one but it has the advantage of a great precedent, especially here at Harvard. Hence, its use will be convenient to secure, I hope, a common and immediate understanding about the subject matter of inquiry.
The symbols in question intend to convey a truth experienced. Regarding this intent, however, they suffer from a peculiar disability. For, in the first place, the symbols are not concepts referring to objects existing in time and space but carriers of a truth about nonexistent reality.
Chesterton (and the rest)
Phronesis and the Happy Ending
by Max Arnott
“. . . Fill your hand, you son of a bitch!”
Sometime after the Civil War, likely in 1875, an Arkansas girl of 14 hires a US Marshal to pursue one Tom Chaney, the man who murdered her father, into the Oklahoma Indian territory. She narrates the story in the first person from the year 1928. Her mission is successful but at the cost of seven lives and she is maimed in the process.
This is the essence of True Grit, a novel by Charles Portis published in 1968, and filmed twice. Over the forty-five years since, this novel has joined a small list of novels that could be called the popular American canon. Not the literary canon as found, for example in the New York Review of Books, but that which includes works such as Gone with the Wind, Catcher in the Rye, Catch 22, perhaps The Color Purple, and certainly To Kill a Mockingbird.
When something lasts that long and is held to the hearts of so many people, it is worth a little thinking on.
The Capacity to Resist Ideologues
by Ellis Sandoz
Professor Sandoz is the Editor of The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin. He has written many books and published many essays on the significance of Eric Voegelin's thought and on the political and spiritual foundations of the United States. This essay is taken from his recent book, Republicanism, Religion, and the Soul of America, available from the University of Missouri Press. This essay appears with permission of the publisher.
I write here in a synoptic way, summarizing themes addressed more fully [elsewhere] for the purpose of concisely clarifying the meaning of Americanism. Let me open with the words on the subject from a representative expert, Theodore Roosevelt, who said the following just over a century ago:
There is one quality which we must bring to the solution of every problem,–that is, an intense and fervid Americanism. We shall never be successful over the dangers that confront us; we shall never achieve true greatness, nor reach the lofty ideal which the founders and preservers of our mighty Federal Republic have set before us, unless we are Americans in heart and soul, in spirit and purpose, keenly alive to the responsibility implied in the very name of American, and proud beyond measure of the glorious privilege of bearing it. (1894)1
I shall suggest that it is, indeed, Americanism that best symbolizes who we are and shall understand that term as designating the "common sense" of the country's founding generation — its homonoia (likemindedness) in Aristotle's usage, or senso commune in Vico's terminology. This is the way Thomas Jefferson and John Adams seem to have understood the term when they coined it at the end of the eighteenth century. This understanding therefore appeals both to the old and new science of politics as denoting a complex matter of fundamental importance.
An Interview with Eric Voegelin –Part 2
In 1973 Eric Voegelin was interviewed by Peter Cangelosi, associate editor of the New Orleans Review, and by John William Corrington, novelist, critic, poet, and former editor-at-large of the NOR. The interview originally appeared in the New Orleans Review, No.2 (1973) under the title “Philosophies of History: An Interview with Eric Voegelin.” In 2003 Bill McClain and Paul Caringella corrected several transcription uncertainties. It appears here with permission. We present it in two parts.
new orleans review: What about Christianity? What is the meaning of Christianity now, according to your thinking?
voegelin: I am not sure about its meaning, because I have my doubts as to whether Christianity exists at all.
I can say what the meaning is of the Gospels today, or, more specifically, of Matthew, Chapter 16–which is the perfect analysis of the existential tendency in relation to God, just as the fullness of Christ is. This is as true today as it was at the time the Gospel was written.
But the analysis in Matthew 16 is so buried at present in secondary doctrine and dogma that few people are now aware how grandiose an existential analysis is there. One could reactivate it by reading it.
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