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A Night in Heidelberg: Voegelin’s Letters on Heidegger

A Night In Heidelberg: Voegelin’s Letters On Heidegger

In surviving letters we can often find those candid expressions that  help us complete a portrait of the writer. Such is the case with the publication of the thirtieth volume of the Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Selected Correspondence, 1950-1984 (2007).1 It presents aspects of Voegelin that will help us gain a fuller understanding of him as a man, a man who even at times resorted to what he termed a “peasant roughness.” 2Of particular interest are the references to Martin Heidegger and his fundamental ontology. The letters contain Voegelin’s most detailed remarks assessing the influence and success of Heidegger’s work, which work is often seen to be marred by his early enthusiasm for Hitler’s regime.

Voegelin scholars have long been aware of Voegelin’s impatient attitude towards anyone who could engage in such ideological nonsense, especially given that Voegelin himself managed to become persona non grata in Austria after the 1938 Nazi Anschluss and barely escaped, eventually arriving in the US. While Voegelin had a tendency to emphasize this negative aspect of Heidegger, others are apt to focus on his philosophical contributions. Prevalent throughout philosophy, political science, and history departments is the “theory of the ‘two Heideggers’–the good philosopher and bad politician–[which] no longer seems tenable or adequate in light of a contemporary sense of the entwinement of thinking and action and of knowledge and power.”3

Clearly, we would be hard pressed to find others willing to disagree with Voegelin’s opinion of Heidegger’s murky political past. What remains in dispute is how he would have responded to Heidegger’s philosophical insights regarding historical consciousness, ontology, and theology. Admittedly, these topical areas must be addressed, along with the politics so we can attempt to grasp the person as a whole through both his life and works. This article will give a preliminary analysis of Voegelin’s assessment of Heidegger’s philosophy found in the Selected Correspondence to complement Voegelin’s well-known published critique.

First, we will consider the various comments on Heidegger found in the Selected Correspondence, detailing how they coincide with some of the central themes running through Voegelin’s thought. Next, Voegelin’s other published remarks dealing with Heidegger will be tied to issues of ontology and consciousness. The concentration will be on the parallels and differences mentioned in Hughes4 and Walsh.5 Finally, Voegelin’s hostile judment will be weighed against the possibility that Heidegger does in fact offer a viable political theory.

Voegelin’s Correspondence on Heidegger

Given that he was born in Cologne and served as the founding head of the Institute for Political Science at the University of Munich for ten years, Voegelin was well acquainted with the intellectual climate of Germany and Europe. Especially pertinent was the work being done on Heidegger which preoccupied much of the time and attention of his contemporaries.  And it would be fair to say that Voegelin himself was interested in what Heidegger had to say or what his colleagues thought about him.

Voegelin is widely known for his scathing critique of modern political ideologies that resonate with gnostic predilections, but sadly he is not as widely known when it comes to his philosophy of consciousness.  His analyses of problems pertaining to historical existence depend on his theory of human consciousness, a theory which preoccupied him during his later years–and at a time when Heidegger remained influential.

Voegelin states that on the “problems of existence I was, of course, influenced by Jaspers and Heidegger.”  In a letter to Eugene Webb on February 16, 1977, he mentions briefly at the end that “I have studied practically all the work of Heidegger . . . .”7 But there are clearly too many barbs leveled at Heidegger to be overlooked,  such as his 1970 observation that he might have become an existentialist too, “though he recovered reason when he saw what existentialism in the form of Heidegger’s could become” 8

While sending the “rent money” for a three-month stay with colleague Aron Gurwitsch On June 1, 1956, Voegelin complements him on his successful national “lecture program,” during a troubling time for philosophy in Germany “Mainz is probably still the worst; and Cologne still looks pretty bad, too.” And then he offers a back-handed compliment: “Freiburg is in pretty good shape–but then again, Heidegger is there.”He then shows his curiosity by asking: “Will you visit him?”10 After reading Heidegger’s “Letter on Humanism” in 1950, he was left with a “peculiar impression:  he is much more classic-conservative (more Platonic) than I was clear about, and at the same time a peculiar German oddball” (emphasis added).11

Voegelin remained interested in Heidegger despite the fact that “the night in Heidelberg in the winter of 1929 in which I devoured Being and Time like a detective novel is long gone.” 12  As he tells Karl Löwith in 1952, Heidegger’s “temperament” and “technical competence” was “impressive” and “moved” him).13  But he was never sympathetic philosophically, as he wrote much later,  in 1975:

“In Kyoto I was surprised to find all the people who are somebody to be deeply involved in German philosophy of the Husserl-Heidegger-Gadamer type, because they all have studied in Germany–not exactly my taste (emphasis added).”14

In a 1965 letter to Max Müller, Voegelin explains how Heidegger’s philosophizing remains within a limited “horizon” through his misguided interpretation of Plato and Aristotle. 15  In Heidegger’s phenomenological interpretation of Aristotle we find him emphasizing the “four causae” in opposition to the divine ground of being (aition), but he wrongly associates aition as a cause, used in the proofs of God. This was the Aristotle of the Scholastics, “the post-Aristotelian commentary- and school-metaphysics.”

Heidegger ignores the fact that:

“ground-aition still has for Aristotle the compact meaning of the ground or the beginning in the sense of the myth–myth, in the strict sense of a story that explains the present from its beginning, is a basic language form of the exegesis of being endowed with form as well as duration–in a duration that does not yet differentiate between time and eternity but has the symbolic form of the Time of the Tale, as I have called this symbolism.”16

This criticism of not acknowledging the myth contained within Aristotle’s prote philosophia is also leveled at Heidegger’s critique of Plato’s philosophy as overly “eidetic.”

A Fundamental Misapprehension of Plato and Aquinas

Relying on his belief in participation (methexis), Voegelin finds that the language of the forms (eidos) found in the Phaedo expresses the “mysteries” of “presence (parousia) and the community” (koinonia). The ideas penetrate and “constitutes the reality” of a thing in the same way God, or the gods, speak the “Word” (logos) to prophets or tragic Heros.17 Heidegger should have known better since he works with Ionic symbols, which were advanced in a kosmos “full of gods.”

Four years later in a letter to Michael Murray where he attempts to address philosophical problems, Voegelin suggests that they “will dissolve if one simply does not focus all philosophical attention on what Heidegger considers to be the difference between Being and beings.”18  The ontological difference that Heidegger popularized in his fundamental ontology not only contains “a residuum of myth,” but “should be eliminated from philosophy.”19 For what justification does Heidegger give that “Being should be the ultimate category of philosophy?“20  Besides “the difference between a Grund and an Abgrund is nothing extraordinary.”21

Once again, Voegelin attacks Heidegger based on his misunderstanding of myth because, “he mixes up the intracosmic Gods of myth and the Abgrund of the mystics.”22 Aquinas is praised as having already addressed the issue in three phases “as the depth structure in the experience of God of (1) God as Being; (2) God as person with a name; and (3) God as the nameless, impenetrable substance.”23 And Voegelin does not believe that a reconciliation of Heidegger and Aquinas is possible, which is why he has not studied Karl Rahner carefully.24 So Voegelin is convinced that Heidegger does not know the Abgrund of the mystics when he talks of God on the ontic level, as a particular being.

Voegelin tells Alfred Schütz that in speculating on God, if “fallacies are to be avoided,” then Aquinas’ “Tetragrammaton” notion must remain in differentiating the Trinity of the dogma:

“The first of these experience is that of the radical transcendence of God (Thomistically heightened:  the God of philosophical speculation, ‘being’; the God of theological speculation, the personal God who has a ‘name’; the personless, nameless, radically transcendent God of the Tetragrammaton”–a masterly phenomenology, by the way, of the experiences of transcendence)” (emphasis added).25

Notice the words “masterly phenomenology” and the context of traditional Trinitarian theology.

Distorting Schelling

This is a crucial point at which Voegelin and Heidegger diverge in their interpretations of Friedrich Schelling’s process theology. In his 1936 lecture course on Schelling, Heidegger took the Essay on Human Freedom (1809) to be working towards an existential analytic of Dasein despite remaining within the tradition of ontotheology (1985).26 With the explanation given of the Godhead’s movement and structure in Schelling, Heidegger believed him to go beyond all prior philosophical theology by giving a phenomenological account of the Godhead. God has a “shadow,” or a “ground” which “is in” Him but “is not” Him, such as is nature.  Thus, there is a “presence and absence” or “revealing and concealing” structure by which Schelling has formulated God’s self-consciousness.

In contrast we have Voegelin appealing to a more modest phenomenology of “pure act” that still accounts for mystery, ineffability, and incomprehensibility of the divine. This is the direction in which Schelling moved towards the end in his private thought, which was published posthumously when dealing with mythology and revelation–something of which Heidegger was most certainly aware but for some reason ignored!  Perhaps this is why Voegelin tells Gurwitsch that he has “reservations” about Husserl’s “Transcendental Consciousness”:

“And these reservations seem to have a certain significance, for one must not forget after all that Heidegger (let not his name be used in phenomenology) broke out into ontology because of his dissatisfaction with the status of the problematic.  And what a bad ontology–since it shares with Husserl’s position the refusal to discuss the premises of philosophizing (emphasis added).”27

A Failure of Transcendence

While still recovering from “a complicated gall bladder operation,” Voegelin comments on a poem by Wallace Stevens and its connection to Heidegger, Nietzsche and Hegel.  It deals with the “’failure of transcendence’ [which] does not mean the transcendence has failed, but that something is existentially wrong with the man who is the victim of such failure.” 28 Voegelin appeals to the title of Stevens’ poem, “The Course of the Particular” as the precise characterization that accompanies this “deformation of existence.”29

The “particular” individual caves in on itself, so to speak, by refusing to let the universal, absolute ground (God) operate, through which all things are manifested. When one wills or craves to be the ground it becomes “regrettable,” a case, Voegelin writes, with “which I could have pity, but I am unable to admire it, even if the experience is perfectly expressed (as it is also in the cases of Heidegger and Nietzsche).”30

This assessment is consistent with other harsh comments found in two letters on the Selected Correspondence dealing with Heidegger’s connection to religious experience.   Commenting on a paper written by Jacob Taubes, Voegelin states that “Heidegger is much more deeply tied up in the intellectual problematic of our time than it would seem on the surface, since the good man never makes footnotes to indicate the sources of his motives for thought.”31

In a letter to Francis G. Wilson at the University of Illinois, Voegelin states that Heidegger’s meaning of existence means “specifically human existence,” which can be read as a revolt (apatheia) towards the transcendental pole of existence expressed through the Beginning and the Beyond.32 He then speculates “that a good deal of Heidegger is better understood if one assumes that he read Simmel’s Lebensanschauung and was fascinated by Simmel’s ‘Immanenz der Transzendenz.’ ”

Heidegger’s Concealed Immanence

Heidegger’s transcendence is really a “concealed” immanence, which fails to “take seriously” those experiences of faith:

“in an ontic sense (faith for example in the sense of Martin Buber, as human entering into divine being through penetration of divine being into the soul).  The philosopher has the task to explore the logos of being–a spiritual presentation of the universe–that does not deny the being that is given in the experiences of transcendence.  If he does that, like Heidegger, then he is no longer a philosopher but an atheistic ideologe (emphasis added).”33

Again this theme picks up on an earlier statement made to Löwith in 1952:

“And it seems certain to me that Heidegger is not a philosopher, but belongs to the ‘genus’ of prophet, and within this genus, to the ‘species’ ‘false prophet’ . . . . As you know, Plato called this type the philodoxos [lover of opinion] in order to distinguish it from the type of the philosophos [lover of wisdom]. In whatever terms a similar attempt at classification would turn out today, [it is certain] that world-immanent speculation can no more be philosophy than a sect that rejects original sin and thereby denies Christ his role as savior can be ‘Christian.’  In short, I would have attacked in a rougher manner.  On the other hand I was very pleased that you cast light on Heidegger’s Nazi period and did not just pass over it in polite silence.”34

Heidegger, like so many in contemporary “philosophy” and social science, does not recognize the “reality to which we have access today through the vast development of the physical and historical sciences.”  Heidegger also gets a pass that most would not as when Voegelin writes:

“Why should Heidegger have the privilege of impudently falsifying history [misinterpretation of Nietzsche’s concept of value] and only being gently criticized for it, when a doctoral candidate who did the same thing would fail his exams and be verbally abused for it?”35

Voegelin goes further in 1969 by finally shutting the door: “I believe indeed that the type of philosophy still represented by Heidegger is no longer compatible with our present state of knowledge concerning experiences, symbolic forms, and their development.” 36

Voegelin’s Response to Heidegger’s “Magic”

As one may already suspect, Voegelin had little patience or sympathy for “the little magician from Messkirch.”  This was Heidegger’s nickname given by his students, according to Karl Löwith, who had been one of his most exceptional students, which is saying a lot considering the others–Strauss, Arendt, Marcuse to name only a few. Löwith describes Heidegger’s masterful techniques that would razzle and dazzle his audiences:

“He was a small dark man who knew how to cast a spell insofar as he could make disappear what he had a moment before presented. His lecture technique consisted in building up an edifice of ideas which he then proceeded to tear down, presenting the spellbound listeners with a riddle and then leaving them empty-handed. This ability to cast a spell at times had very considerable consequences: it attracted more or less psychopathic personality types, and, after three years of guessing at riddles, one woman student took her own life.”37

Voegelin was not willing to be taken in by the magic, especially since he had the opportunity while still in his twenties to visit and study in the US where he was introduced to a different tradition of thinking. He underwent a “cultural shock” which left him less patient and sympathetic to the problems and traditions he was familiar with in Germany and central Europe.

As he put it in Autobiographical Reflections, his experience in America caused his reading of Heidegger’s Being and Time to “. . . just run off. He did not impress me at all with Sein und Zeit,” he says, “because in the meanwhile, with John Dewey at Columbia and with Whitehead at Harvard, I was acquainted with English and American commonsense philosophy.”38

Heidegger had suffered as a “victim of his upbringing under the pressures of an orthodox environment.”39 In a public lecture entitled, The German University and the Order of German Society: A Reconsideration of the Nazi Era, given after his famous lectures Hitler and the Germans, Voegelin looks at “a philosopher, a pastor, and an historian” as prototypes reflecting “the character of German public life . . . .”40

Heidegger is the “philosopher”–a public figure of “social dominance” living in the “estrangement from spirit, [which is] the closure and the revolt against the ground.”41 Heidegger “had great linguistic and linguistic-philosophical ambitions, but in the matter of language had such little sensitivity that he was taken in by the author of Mein Kampf.”42

“Zeigenden Zeichen des Zeigzeugs”

Voegelin describes Heidegger’s famous formulations found in Being and Time as transposing “[factual] relationships of our everyday world into a linguistic medium that begins to take on an alliterative life of its own, and thus loses contact with the being itself. Language and fact have somehow separated from one another, and thought has correspondingly become estranged from reality.”

The alliterative character of Heidegger’s philosophical terminology is so vast that one can “. . . construct something of a philosophical dictionary, from A to Z; and proceeding through it, from the Anwesen des Answesenden [the presence of that which is present], to the Dingen des Dings [thinging of the thing] and the Nichten des Nichts [nothinging of the nothing], and on over finally to the zeigenden Zeichen des Zeigzeugs [pointed sign of the pointing implement], we could whip ourselves up into a reality-withdrawing state of linguistic delirium.”43

This follows in line with Voegelin’s observation that this is a phenomenon of “second realities,” a termed coined by Robert Musil where false images of reality are superimposed for the benefit and pleasure of the constructor. He says something similar in Hitler and the Germans, commenting on using language as the “house of being,” which is “nothing less than the rendering of Being transparent through the language of beings.”44 Voegelin points out that this is a deeply troubling move:

“[N]ow it is certainly not Heidegger’s intention thus to characterize language as second reality, but he has in fact done that. That is to say, if language speaks, then the contact between thinking and language and between object and reality is interrupted, and these problems arise because one is no longer thinking in relation to reality.”45

In a final section of the Hitler lectures entitled “Nonexperience of Transcendence Leading to Dehumanization,” Voegelin comments on Heidegger’s “compromise” in explaining Being and how it will “not do justice to the world-immanent existing things, to our experiences of transcendence, or to history.”46 Instead of discovering a path to overcome the mistaken belief that “all reality that does not have the manner of being of world-immanent existing things sinks into nonreality,” Heidegger offers his own “energetic contraction.”

When Voegelin proposes classifying “the realms of reason and the spirit as nonexistent reality” he contrasts his usage with Heidegger:

“At all events, this manner of speaking seems actually clearer than Heidegger’s attempt to claim the expression ‘existence’ for the transcending being of man and, further, to connect it with the problem of historicity, since this attempt at a compromise will not do justice to the world-immananet existing things, to our experiences of transcendence, or to history.”47

Again, this is a case of an immanentization of Being concealed through the use of the expressions like “existentz” to suppress transcendence.  As Voegelin stated in the Selected Correspondence Heidegger “has somehow [gotten] stuck in 18th century categories of metaphysics.”48

Avoiding Leibniz’s Second Question

Analyses along these lines continue for Voegelin, one such being found in the essay, “On Debate and Existence,” where Heidegger’s thought is compared with Gottfried Leibniz’s metaphysics.49  There are two questions that were most fundamental to Leibnitz:  (1) Why is there something rathert nothing? and (2) Why is something as it is, and not different?

Voegelin complains that he “neglects the second one” that results in his “fundamental ontology” being “based on an incomplete analysis of existence.”50 So again this is a point of “classifying” the “techniques of construction” of “Second Realities,” when parts of reality are “omitted” or “neglected.”51 In his inaugural address at Munich University in 1957, entitled Science, Politics, and Gnosticism, Voegelin depicts Heidegger as a gnostic legend who clearly neglected certain modes of human experience:

“Heidegger’s speculation occupies a significant place in the history of Western gnosticism. The construct of the closed process of being; the shutting off of immanent from world-transcendent being; the refusal to acknowledge the experiences of philia, eros, pistis (faith), and elpis (hope)–which were described and named by the Hellenic philosophers–as the ontic events wherein the soul participates in transcendent being and allows itself to be ordered by it; the refusal, thus, to acknowledge them as the events in which philosophy, especially Platonic philosophy, has its origin; and finally, the refusal to permit the very idea of a construct of a closed process of being to be called into question in the light of these events–all of this was, in varying degrees of clarity, doubtless to be found in the speculative Gnostics of the nineteenth century.”

“But Heidegger has reduced this complex to its essential structure and purged it of period-bound visions of the future. Gone are the ludicrous images of positivist, socialist, and super man. In their place Heidegger puts being itself, emptied of all content, to whose approaching power we must submit. As a result of this refining process, the nature of gnostic speculation can now be understood as the symbolic expression of an anticipation of salvation in which the power of being replaces the power of God and the parousia of being, the Parousia of Christ.”52

And as Voegelin stated in The Ecumenic Age, this important German thinker not only suffered spiritually, politically, and historically for his troubling political affiliations, but also philosophically–he “waited in vain” for the “parousia” of “epigonic Being.”53 This is  characteristic of the modern variant of gnosticism. As Ellis Sandoz wrote: “Modern gnosticism is especially distinguishable from ancient gnosticism by renunciation of “vertical” or other-worldly transcendence and its proclamation of a “horizontal” transcendence or futuristic parousia of Being (Heidegger) or intramundane salvific doctrines as ultimate truth.”54

Two Appreciations: Walsh and Hughes

My goal has been to demonstrate that there is no affinity between Voegelin and Heidegger on issues of theology, ontology, and most certainly, politics. In a 1980 letter to Professor Kenneth Dorter, who had sent him a manuscript review of Anamnesis that suggested Voegelin had been influenced by Husserl and Heidegger, Voegelin replied: “But can one really call it an “influence,” when I have struggled for more than ten years with their various theories of consciousness to get away from their “influence” and find my way to philosophy?”55

When one philosophizes the nature of humanity will have to be at least implicitly assumed, something Heidegger in the Beiträge is not willing to do. Voegelin does it. He clearly gives a classical-Christian conception of human nature by declaring that “[the] nature of man is indeed in historical process in the sense that not the nature but its self-understanding is progressing historically.” (emphasis added).56

It is Heidegger’s inability to produce a viable philosophical anthropology to which we now must turn in the analysis of Hughes57 and Walsh58 in their understanding of Voegelin’s and Heidegger’s projects. David Walsh discusses the parallels in tone between Voegelin’s very personal work Anamnesis and Heidegger’s “meditative” character displayed in the Beiträge. “Forgetfulness of Being, which begins, as Voegelin and Heidegger agree, in the advent of metaphysics, derives from forgetfulness of the source from which the differentiations of philosophy have derived.”59

As a critical ontology, Heidegger’s thought attempts to take Being seriously again and this is praiseworthy, especially when seeking to defossilize metaphysics. But Heidegger was less willing than Voegelin to “struggle against the intentionality [object-subject] model . . .” while “struggl[ing] against the confines of language itself, thereby rendering his own philosophic constructions ever more idiosyncratic or retreating into the poetic.”60 Perhaps this is why in critiquing the pitfalls of modernity Heidegger set out to make technological advancement into a “metaphor for the modern world” in a way Voegelin did not. “A more immediate concern for Voegelin was the political manifestation of the same Promethean Spirit–a fatality to which even Heidegger succumbed.”61

Glenn Hughes states that the most likely “cousin” to Voegelin’s theory of consciousness in modern philosophy is Heidegger’s existential analytic of Dasein.62  They both maintain that human consciousness is “the site in finite existence where meaning itself is illuminated.”63 Also, they hold that our “intrinsic awareness” of not being our own ground or origin by which we independently move through reality–for Heidegger there is “throwness,” and Voegelin the pull of the divine.64 “Unlike Heidegger, [however] he does not see his philosophical perspective as revolutionary.”65 Hughes then quotes from Voegelin’s  essay “Equivalences of Experience”:

“The validating question will have to be:  Do we have to ignore or eclipse a major part of the historical field, in order to maintain the truth of the propositions . . . or are the propositions recognizably equivalent with the symbols created by our predecessors in the search of truth about human existence?  The test of truth, to put it pointedly, will be the lack of originality in the propositions.”66

Hughes concludes that Heidegger’s Dasein as the “there” of the “clearing of Being” is in many ways equivalent with Voegelin’s “luminous participation” as consciousness in a “tension towards the ground.”67 Voegelin and Heidegger serve as thinkers who have sought to “deconstruct” the “anthropology of confrontation, in which consciousness and world remain in fixed alienation as the subject and object of finite being . . . But of the two it is Voegelin who has provided, not only the more satisfactory philosophical anthropology, but also a detailed philosophy of history consistent with understanding the primary fact of conscious existence to be participation in the Mystery of the Whole.”68

One Heidegger, Early and Late?

Some scholars see two Heidegger’s, others three, and the debate continues on. But I suggest that Voegelin would say there is only one Heidegger: a spiritually closed figure who first takes up the call to “authentic resoluteness” through “power and struggle” and then later comes to “play” and “letting-be.” This is harsh personal criticism rather than philosophical argument. But it can be no harsher than the cold calculation with which Heidegger ignores practical, experientially based approaches to politics in favor of an abstract poeticizing that is so preoccupied with essence that it never reaches beyond it.

Voegelin was never one to shy away from controversy, and as he told Karl Löwith regarding his critique of Heidegger, “that it was not hard enough.”69 Richard Polt summarizes this succinctly in a recent article on Heidegger’s philosophical confrontation with National Socialism.70 Heidegger became disillusioned with the movement he thought contained “an inner-truth and greatness,” so he retreated to the serenity of academic life.

But this also had callous consequences because “[he reduced  political and national issues] to metaphysics and the history of being, [which] is to obliterate a genuine domain of [social and political] experience.”71 Heidegger’s aloofness led him to distort human nature and allow being to be annihilated ontologically, while “[failing] to face up to the ‘complete annihilation’ of particular human beings [Jews, etc.] that he himself had endorsed in 1933.”72 Let me close with one of my favorite lines from Voegelin in the Selected Correspondence. It rings with the thunder of Edmund Burke’s great counsel:  “Indecency thrives where others are silent out of politeness.”73



Dallmayr, Fred. 1993. The Other Heidegger. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Heidegger, Martin. 1985. Schelling’s Treatise on the Essence of Human Freedom. trans. Joan Stambaugh. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press.

Hughes, Glenn. 993. Mystery and Myth in the Philosophy of Eric Voegelin. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press.

Löwith, Karl. 1995. Martin Heidegger and European Nihilism. ed. Richard Wolin. Columbia: Columbia University Press.

Polt, Richard. 2007.“Beyond Struggle and Power: Heidegger’s Secret Resistance.” Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy 35(1): 11-40.

Porter, Clifford F. 2002. “Eric Voegelin on Nazi Political Extremism.” Journal of the History of Ideas 63(1): 151-71.

Sandoz, Ellis. 2004. “Editor’s Introduction.” In Science, Politics, and Gnosticism. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.

Voegelin, Eric. 2007. The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, vol. 30, Selected Correspondence, 1950-1984. ed. Thomas A. Hollweck. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press.

_____.  2004. Science, Politics, and Gnosticism. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.

_____.  1999. Hitler and the Germans. Columbia: University of Missouri Press.

_____.  1990. The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, vol. 12, Published Essays, 1966-1985. ed. Ellis Sandoz. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press.

_____.  1989. Autobiographical Reflections. ed. Ellis Sandoz. Columbia: University of Missouri Press.

_____.  1987. Order and History: In Search of Order. Vol. 5. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press.

_____.  1984. The Beginning and the Beyond. ed. Fred Lawrence. Chico, CA: Scholars Press.

_____.  1974. Order and History: The Ecumenic Age. Vol. 4. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press.

Walsh, David. 2002. “Editor’s Introduction.” In Anamnesis: On the Theory of History and Politics, trans. M.J. Hanak. Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Vol. 6. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press.



1. The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin will be referred to in these notes by “CW” followed by the volume number. Thus Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Selected Correspondence, 1950-1984 (2007), CW 30,  will be referred  to simply as CW 30.

2. CW 30, 112.

3. Dallmayr, Fred. 1993. The Other Heidegger. Ithaca: Cornell University Press., 2.

4. Hughes, Glenn. 1993. Mystery and Myth in the Philosophy of Eric Voegelin. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press.

5. Walsh, David. 2002. “Editor’s Introduction.” In Anamnesis: On the Theory of History and Politics, trans. M.J. Hanak. Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Vol. 6.  Columbia and London:  University of Missouri Press;  CW 30.

6. Voegelin, Eric, Selected Correspondence, 1950-1984 (2007), CW 30, 766.

7. Ibid. 822.

8. Ibid. 682.

9. Ibid. 285-86.

10. Ibid. 286.

11. Ibid. 56.

12. Ibid. 111.

13. Ibid.

14. Ibid. 794.

15. Ibid. 489-492.

16. Ibid. 491.

17. Ibid. 490.

18. Ibid. 634.

19. Ibid. 635.

20. Ibid. 634.

21. Ibid. 635.

22. Ibid.

23. Ibid.

24. Ibid. 728.

25. Ibid. 128.

26. Heidegger, Martin. 1985. Schelling’s Treatise on the Essence of Human Freedom. trans. Joan Stambaugh. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press.

27. CW 30. 285.

28. Ibid. 665-66.

29. Ibid. 666.

30. Ibid.

31. Ibid. 178.

32. Ibid. 357. 1984.  The Beginning and the Beyond. ed. Fred Lawrence. Chico, CA: Scholars Press.

33. Ibid. 178-79.

34. Ibid. 111-112.

35. Ibid.

36. Ibid. 635.

37. Löwith, Karl. Martin Heidegger and European Nihilism. ed. Richard Wolin. Columbia: Columbia University Press. 1995, 4.

38.  Voegelin, Eric. Autobiographical Reflections, ed. Ellis Sandoz.CW 34.Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press. 1989. 113.

39. Voegelin, Eric.In Search of Order, CW 18, (Order and History, Vol 5). Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press.2000, 79.

40. Voegelin, Eric. Published Essays, 1966-1985.  ed. Ellis Sandoz., CW 12.Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press. 1990. 7.

41. Ibid.

42. CW 12, 8-9.

43. Ibid.

44. Walsh, David. 2002. “Editor’s Introduction.” In Anamnesis: On the Theory of History and Politics, trans. M.J. Hanak. Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Vol. 6. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press.1990, 13.

45. Voegelin, Eric.Hitler and the Germans, CW 31.Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press.2007, 250.

46. Ibid. 261.

47. Ibid.

48. CW 30, 635.

49. CW 12, 43-44.

50. Ibid. 43.

51. Ibid. 51.

52. Voegelin, Eric. Science, Politics, and Gnosticism, in Modernity without Restraint, CW 5. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press.2000, 276.

53. Voegelin, Eric.The Ecumenic Age CW 17 (Order and History, Vol 4), Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press. 2000, 75.

54. Voegelin, Eric. 2004. Science, Politics, and Gnosticism, Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, quoting from the introduction by Ellis Sandoz for this special paperbound edition, xiv.

55. CW 30, 854.

56. Ibid. 634.

57. Hughes, Glenn. Mystery and Myth in the Philosophy of Eric Voegelin. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press. 1993, 57.

58. Walsh, Op. cit. CW 30.

59. Ibid, 23.

60. Ibid, 13.

61. Ibid, 18.

62. Hughes, 11.

63. Ibid, 12.

64. Ibid, 13.

65. Ibid, 12.

66. Ibid, 12-13., CW 12.

67. Ibid, 116.

68. Id.

69. CW 30, 112.

70.  Polt, Richard. “Beyond Struggle and Power: Heidegger’s Secret Resistance.”  Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy 35(1): 11-40. 2007.

71. Ibid. 35.

72. Ibid. 36.

73.  Burke’s saying was: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Myron JacksonMyron Jackson

Myron Jackson

Myron Jackson completed his Ph.D. in Philosophy at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. His dissertation is a philosophical interpretation of ironic American exceptionalism.

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