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Eric Voegelin: Mystical Philosopher and Scientist

Eric Voegelin: Mystical Philosopher And Scientist

A Modern Father of the Church?

At the international Voegelin conference held at the University of Manchester, England, in July 1994, two distinguished Voegelin schol­ars presented dramatically opposed interpretations of Voegelin’s fundamental enterprise. Paul Caringella maintained that Voegelin was a master of meditative exegesis and anamnetic experiment.1

In Caringella’s words, “Voegelin’s ‘New Science’ of order, personal, social and historical order, his philosophy of politics and his philos­ophy of history, essentially begins and end[s] in the three phases of his meditation over forty years, a meditation that invites and even demands to be placed alongside and studied along with Augustine’s ‘history’–in the phases of its unfolding from the Confessions to The City of God.”2

Jurgen Gebhardt took strong exception to the comparison of Voegelin with Augustine, arguing that “Voegelin would have resented being elevated to a modern Church Father.” Moreover, according to Gebhardt,”. . . the reference to Augustine or Thomas very often carries undertones and implications that may cause the nature of Voegelin’s conception of science to be misunderstood.”3

In this article I want to examine whether or not the two facets of Voegelin’s work emphasized by Caringella and Gebhardt ultimately contradict each other. Do they exist in harmony with each other, or coexist in an unresolvable tension? While I think neither writer would deny the presence of both dimensions in Voegelin’s thought, it is clear that Caringella wished to underline the more mystical dimension of Voegelin’s enterprise, and Gebhardt intended to stress Voegelin as Wissenschaftler in the specifically modern, or even Webe­rian, sense.

In relation to these two accounts of Voegelin’s work, I want to argue that it is false to contrast his achievements restoring reason in political science with his meditative endeavors. To develop my argument, I first present a summary of Caringella’s thesis. Next, I summarize Gebhardt’s position briefly, since his full text is available in this collection. Then I offer my own argument that Voegelin’s philosophical-theological quest is indeed comparable to that of Augustine and indeed to that of several modern theologians.

Voegelin as Meditative Exegete: The First Anamnesis

As noted above, Caringella maintains that the foundations and development of Voegelin’s “new science” are laid in and continue through three phases of meditation, undertaken over a period of forty years. The first phase emerged, Caringella explains, in the “Anamnetic Experiments” of late 1943, and the accompanying letter to Alfred Schütz “On the Theory of Consciousness.” Voegelin was then able to declare:

“Resistance to it [sc., Husserl’s account of transcendental meditation] . . . ultimately issues from two experiential complexes. The first complex is given through man’s experience of his own ontic structure and its relation to the world-immanent order of being . . . .”

“Man’s structure seems to be the ontic premise for man’s transcending into the world, for in none of its directions of transcending does consciousness find a level of being which is not also one on which it itself is based . . . .”

“The second experiential complex is the experience of meditation, at the climax of which the intention of consciousness is directed toward the contents of the world, not objectively, through the cogitata, but rather non-objectively toward the transcendent ground of being.”4

The background to this first anamnesis, Caringella argued, was prefig­ured in Voegelin’s “Herrschaftslehre und Rechtslehre,” the unpub­lished manuscript of 1930 on Augustine, Descartes, and Husserl.5 In that study, Voegelin, influenced by the Augustinian meditative understanding of consciousness, had freed himself from the key ele­ments of Husserl’s notion of egologically constituted consciousness that6 To quote Voegelin:

“For the modern teaching on person, the contrast between person and world is primary; for Augustine, the contrast between God and world (is primary). For (Augustine), the whole creation, and within it, the person is something objectively given. His world- picture is ordered spatially from the realm of sensible bodiliness below to the animus (spirit, soul) above. The modern world-picture orders the world from the corporeal realm as outward to the person as the most inward and intimate.”

“The clearest symptom of this objective order, in which even the person is one object among many, should surely be Augustine’s notion of time, which is not an inner time-awareness, nor is it the constituent of the Ego, but on the contrary, it is its solvent. Tempora (periods in a life) and saecula (historical epochs) are identical with creatura–in the sense of the concrete plenitude of the objective expiration of the world, by which the person too will be consumed . . . . (my translation).”7

Just as the Augustinian Confessio begins with the question of the relationship of Creator and creation, so the Cartesian ‘Confession’ is kindled by the dualism of knowing subject and world. Augustine sought for the place of the soul’s rest; Descartes searches for the point of certitude, from which the knowledge of the whole world can be built up. (my translation).8

Finding a Form of Expression in Vico’s New Science

After the breakthrough of his first anamnesis, Voegelin–on Carin­gella’s account–was able in a long chapter of the History of Political Ideas to recapitulate Giambattista Vico’s meditative approach to the science of mind,[9 and to develop themes central to his subsequent work.

Voegelin came to realize what Vico was proposing: “The counter­position to natural science. The Scienza Nuova is a conscious attempt to restore a science of the mind against the exuberant claims that the methods of the science of natural phenomena are the model of all science.” Moreover, it is:

“The counter-position to the Cogito ergo sum. The restoration of a science of substance requires the restoration of philosophical anthropology. The principal enemy in this respect was the Cartesian meditation which finds the Archimedic point of metaphysics in the cogitare of solitary existence.”

“The first axiom of a science of substance is the historicity of existence. Reason is not an independent creative principle; reason can only operate within the field staked out by mythical creativity. The sensus communis of gentilician history and the great transcendental irruptions in sacred history furnish the substance for rational penetration.”10

In Vico, Voegelin recognized the humility of spirit which did not assert that reflection could encompass the whole of human affairs and development:

“Vico can hardly be considered the equal of Kant as an epistemologist, or the equal of Hegel as a logician of the spirit, but as a philosopher of history he surpasses them both because his Christian awareness of the problems of the spirit guarded him against the gnostic derailment of finding the meaning of history exhausted by the humanly intelligible structure of profane history. And in this respect, he surpassed even Schelling, with whom as a philosopher of the myth Vico has much closer relations than with either Kant or Hegel . . . . “11

Developing a Contemporary Refutation of Hegel

Caringella argued that after 1943, Voegelin was able to develop a contemporary counterargument to Hegel’s claim to have completed a final meditation on the structure of history.

“Something in ‘modernity’ seemed to call for a ‘New Science,’ of which Hegel’s claimed to be the ‘final’ form . . . . But . . . Voegelin was aware that there was something wrong with the Hegelian meditation. He [had already in 1943 found that] . . . the Cartesian meditation still bore the imprints of its true origins, the Christian and Augustinian meditation on God and time, but had shifted the attention and intention of the mind from the former to the latter–to the world and its space and time.”12

Vico, Voegelin realized at that time, had “. . . preserve(d) the tension between the transcendental existence of God and the created world. . . . Reason in man is the imprint of the ratio aeterna (to use the phrase of St. Thomas), but it is not the ratio aeterna itself.”

The preservation of the tension makes impossible, ontologically, a construction of history as a process in which the divine Logos comes to its self-reflective fulfillment; and it makes impossible, epistemologically, a gnostic philosophy of history according to which the meaning of history can be penetrated fully by the mind of man because in the reflective, spiritual consciousness of the thinker the identity of the human mind with the historical Logos is achieved. This is the decisive point of difference between Vico and Hegel.13

The Second Anamnesis: Augustine’s  Exodus

Voegelin’s second anamnesis or meditative exegesis was achieved, Caringella argued, between 1964 and 1974. In his essay “Eternal Be­ing in Time,” he brought Plato and Augustine together by contrasting the order of the empires that seek their meaning by expansion in the sphere of power with the order of the soul to be discovered in the metaxy of the flowing presence.

That order could be discovered only through an exodus from the configurations of lower-ranking orders of existence, in Augustine’s sense of incipit exire qui incipit amare.14 The second anamnesis came to a climax in 1974 in chapters 3-5 of The Ecu­menic Age, volume 4 of Order and History.15 These chapters–”The Pro­cess of History,” “Conquest and Exodus,” and “The Pauline Vision of the Resurrected”–at the heart of the volume are, Caringella argued, a meditative unity. “At the beginning of these pages we find again Augustine and Plato together, with Voegelin introducing Augustine’s ‘Exodus’ as expressing, with its ‘two loves,’ amor Dei and amor sui, history as metaxy.”

The sequence of chapters then ends with Paul’s vision of the Resurrected, where Voegelin considers the Christian symbolism of transfiguration. “Here, finally, the telos, the eschaton, is given its due.”16 What is new in Voegelin’s fourth volume is the com­pletely permeating role of metaxy: cosmos as metaxy, person and soul as metaxy, and history as metaxy. Thus, Caringella maintained:

“What Voegelin has accomplished in [this volume] is a clear articulation of the ‘cosmic bond’17 of the four partners in the primordial community of being.18 Metaxy now is the symbol that expresses their unity at all levels and for each of the partners in their relationship with the divine ground and with each other.”

And “History” now becomes visible as the personal Vision that holds the partners, especially the partner “society,” together with the others. It is the Vision of the “horizon of divine reality” equivalent to the “Okeanos” of the Okeanos-oikoumene symbolism of the myth.19

The Third Anamnesis: The Beginning and the Beyond

The third meditative, anamnetic development in Voegelin’s work was–in Caringella’s estimate–commenced in the essay “The Be­ginning and the Beyond” (ca. 19 77).20 In order to appreciate this, the concluding section “On Vision” must be remeditated:

“The problems of vision and its language, of the truth of reality and the reality of truth, come to analytical consciousness when the experience of reality has differentiated so far that the Metaxy of the psyche and the divine-human encounter can be discerned as the site and source of reality experienced and symbolized . . . .”

“The noetic experience of the Beyond and its Parousia in the soul of man and the cosmos does not correct an erroneous opinion about a detail in external reality, nor does it add a piece of information to a previously existing body of knowledge; it is a something that Plato calls by the technical term vision.”21

This vision at the outset of Voegelin’s “third meditation” culminates in the reading of the Timaeus in the final chapter of In Search of Order.

“The experienced tensional constants and their symbolizations illuminate, complement and balance one another in the quest for truth, but the questing wandering through the tensions does not arrive at an ultimate place of rest. None of the single tensions, or any of their poles, is an absolute entity given to an external observer; nor will the existentially balancing quest come to a rest in itself, but will remain a tensional event in a tensional Cosmos. The quest of which the tensions are an intelligible part is a movement within the thingly order of the Cosmos toward a Beyond of its thinglyness. Still, the meditative wandering through the penultimate tensions appears to become luminous for its Beginning in the ultimate mystery of a Creator-God who, when he creates, creates a tensional Cosmos.”22

Thus, according to Caringella:

“[Here] is Voegelin’s final meditation, his ‘third Anamnesis,’ where History becomes clearly the History of Vision(s) and this as a History of the Cognitio Fidei. Voegelin here has expanded the horizon of the Augustinian Fides Quarens Intellectum.  He has held together in his meditation on the ‘Full God and the Full Man,’23 the God of (Augustine’s) Confessions, the god of personal vision gained by the ascent of the soul to the God of the Beyond present in the search, and the God of History, of the City of God, who is present in the historical metaxy of the search for the Beginning.”24

Voegelin’s Meditations as a Unified Whole

We can summarize Caringella’s position, then, as follows: though they were separated in time by some four decades, Voegelin’s med­itations form a single whole, a modern equivalent of Augustinian meditation. Moreover, Voegelin’s encounters with Augustine over that period suggest the proportion. The key element in this proportion is the contrast between what Voegelin and Augustine held in common and the stance of Hegel. Hegel was oblivious to the achievements of Hellas and Israel, and so he went in for magic construction. In contrast, Voegelin’s career traces an anamnetic ascent not unlike that of Augustine.

As Juergen Gebhardt’s essay in this collection [from which this is taken] makes clear, Juergen Gebhardt has developed a strong rebuttal of Caringella’s argument. He entitles his paper “The Vocation of the Scholar,” so that we may overhear the title of Max Weber’s renowned lecture, “Wissenschaft als Beruf”–”Science/Scholarship as a Vocation.25

In Gebhardt’s account, Voe­gelin is portrayed as refounding political science in our age by combining the analytic skill of a Plato with the concern for empir­ical comprehensiveness and factuality of a Max Weber: “Of course, Voegelin responded to the experience of religious, intellectual, and political disorders in our age, but his reaction took the form of modern scholarship.”26

Whereas, as we have seen, Caringella illustrated Eric Voegelin’s overall life-project in comparison with that of Augustine of Hippo fifteen centuries ago, Gebhardt strongly resists the comparison of Order in History with The City of God, insisting that “[I]t would be a misreading of the science of the order of human existence and society if it were considered the Civitas Dei or the Summa of the twenty-first century.”27

Indeed, Gebhardt avers that Voegelin “would have resented being elevated to a modern Church Father” because:

“[T]he very nature of a modern scholar’s search for truth renders it an ongoing process of existential and cognitive research that resists being finalized in terms of a literary corpus that will be transmitted and expounded by future generations. It is supposed to function in a communion of existential and cognitive concern within the ever expanding ecumenic horizon of empirical knowledge.”28

Gebhardt wants us to realize that the knowledge-explosion being continuously wrought by the modern natural and human sciences is unprecedented in antiquity, and it has made it virtually nonsensical to compare the situation for the philosophic integration of scien­tific results with that of premodern philosophy and theology. He also reminds us that Voegelin kept abreast of the latest scientific developments across the board.29

An Underlying Rational Element?

It follows for Gebhardt that, from his early writings:

“. . . Voegelin worked with the fundamental premise of hermeneutical Geisteswissenschaft: all manifestations of human life are objectifications of the spirit that materialize in the historical and social worlds . . . . [C]ontours of a philosophical anthropology based on a theory of the spirit emerge in Voegelin’s conceptualization of a hermeneutical science of the socio-historical world.”

“It takes seriously the claim that Geisteswissenschaft is an empirical philosophy (Erfahrungsphilosophie) of reality and of life that is based on the universal and “unmutilated” (Dilthey) experience by firmly placing the analysis of intellectual formations in the context of political life.”30

Gebhardt is not content to argue that the development of modern science posed such demands on Voegelin that his project cannot helpfully be compared to what Augustine was doing in his lifetime. In his above-cited formulation of Voegelin’s putative reaction to being considered the modern equivalent to a Church Father in terms of “resentment,”31 Gebhardt reveals that he also has another strong underlying stance. I want to draw your attention to the rationalist tenor of Gebhardt’s interpretation of Voegelin’s achievement.

I do not object to what Gebhardt shows us Voegelin did say: about his un­affiliated, “modernist” Christianity;32 or about the Christian Church’s loss of authority in the public sphere since the Middle Ages–”‘man in search of authority cannot find it in the Church, through no fault of his own;’ ”33 or about Voegelin’s having moved beyond the standpoint both of what “may be [his] most Christian text,”3 The New Science of Politics, and of “the original program of Order in History,35 since “only in modern scholarship ‘the implication of history as the process of universal humanity could fully unfold.’ ”36

However when he claims that for Voegelin:

“the ‘essence’ of Christianity turns out to be a modernist, antitraditional, and antidoctrinal philosophical exegesis of the spiritual core of historical Christianity . . . . radically dissociated from the ecclesiastical establishment,37 is not Gebhardt invoking that distinction between philosophy and theology, between reason and revelation, that Voegelin ultimately deemed passé?”

From Church to Philosopher

The agenda Gebhardt has in mind when he reinvokes that distinction radically eschewed by the late Voegelin becomes clear in the follow­ing statement:

“Now, where do modern men and women find this spiritual leadership that the Church has abandoned? I suggest it is the philosopher-scholar who is called upon to accept the office of magisterium and defend it against intellectual usurpers. Voegelin determines the extent of his magisterium by defining science as a truthful account of the structure of reality, ‘as the theoretical orientation of man in his world, and as the great instrument with which man can understand his own position in the universe.’”38

Does this translatio magisterii from Church to philosopher-scholars imply the not-so-subtle and familiar post-Enlightenment position that philosophy, instead of being a fides quaerens intellectum, is rather reason unillumined by faith which, in the guise of the empirical human science of politics, has the task of sublating–in the sense of eliminating–faith in a manner scarcely distinguishable from the procedure of Hegel?

I am arguing strongly against this element of rationalist bias in Gebhardt’s interpretation of Voegelin. I do not really want to insist that he intends such an interpretative twist, but I want to take Caringella’s interpretative thrust as a needed corrective, because correctly grasping the Voegelin/Augustine relationship means fo­cusing upon what Voegelin himself called “the meditative problem.” As he wrote:

“[The meditative problem] can be accentuated from one side, that is to say, from the human side, as a questing. I would call this the noetic attitude. From the other side, the revelatory side, one can accentuate the side of movement. I would call this the pneumatic attitude.Both are present within the meditative problem. The tension arises between the being-moved from the divine side and the questing from the human side. The divine side and the human side, then, are presupposed in a process of questing and of being-moved. Such a symbolic framework as I have just used–a divine reality that moves, a concrete human being who quests, such a framework I name a ‘complex.'”

“By the term ‘complex’ is to be understood that this process of movement and questing . . . should not be cut up into pieces or fragmentized in such a way that a study of human being–an anthropology, then–emerges from a concentration on the human side; or that a theology gets formulated from the confinement to the divine side. Also impermissible is the separation of the process in the form of a process philosophy that would examine only the process lying between the two poles and lead to a psychology. All three forms–’anthropology,’ ‘theology,’ and ‘psychology’–are types of deformation and impermissible in a meditative investigation.”39

Getting the Meditative Problem Right

Gebhardt rightly fears an obscurantist dedifferentiation in Voegelin studies that would so emphasize the mystical element in his thought as to overshadow the academic pedigree of his new science of politics and expose it to the mockery of religion’s cultured despisers. But the dialectical tendency of his downplaying of the possible relevance of Caringella’s thesis quoted above is to turn Voegelin into an advocate of the kind of rationalism that represents one side of the dogmatomachy for which his project is meant to be a therapeia.

Moreover, the key to getting Voegelin right is getting the “meditative problem” right. And that is just what the dominant tradition of the human sciences in Germany–under the aegis of Max Weber and extending to the tradition of anthropology stretching from Dilthey and Simmel and Scheler to the likes of Lipps and Rothacker and Plessner on the one hand, and the Critical Social Theorists of the Frankfurterschule on the other–have not fully managed to do.

For this reason I believe it is far less misleading to associate Voegelin more closely with Augustine than with this stream of modern scholarship. By claiming this, I in no way wish to impugn or call into ques­tion the genuinely scientific or scholarly credentials of Voegelin’s approach. But I want to stress that what Voegelin confronted in an almost incomparable fashion was a crisis of foundations of the kind divined by Husserl and Heidegger in starting the phenomenologi­cal movement, and diagnosed in differing ways by Voegelin’s great contemporaries, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Leo Strauss, and Bernard Lonergan.

All these thinkers share with Voegelin an approach to modernity massively conditioned by having carried out quite con­sciously a return to the ancients. Like Augustine and in marked contrast to the otherwise dominant twentieth-century practitioners of what might be called a “social scientific” approach to the philosophia practica sive politica–they each learned about theory from the kinds of thinkers Augustine called “Platonists.” When Voegelin challenged political science to renew its theory in New Science of Politics, he meant quite concretely and seriously what only a person who has learned from Plato and Aristotle what episteme in contrast to doxa means.

The Augustinian Dimension of Voegelin’s Work

Beyond the retrieval of the classical sense of theoria, what Voegelin learned from Augustine in particular is as central to his achievement, as the recurrence of the epigraph to so many of his works from Au­gustine’s De Vera Religione might be intended to lead us to suspect: “In the study of creatures one should not exercise a vain and perishing curiosity, but ascend toward what is immortal and everlasting.”40

The Augustinian dimension of Voegelin’s enterprise highlights two aspects of Augustine’s achievement as assessed by Voegelin. First, Augustine furnishes the prime analogate for the technique of medi­tation as continued in Anselm of Canterbury and successively more narrowed in modernity by Descartes and Husserl. By anamnetic meditation he discerned “the reflective ascent of the soul to the super-reflective truth which illuminates the reflection as the event in which divine reality becomes present in reality.”41

Second, Augus­tine discerned “the movement of amor Dei as the existential exodus from the pragmatic world of power–incipit exire, qui incipit amare–and, consequently, conceived the ‘intermingling’ of the civitas Dei with the civitas terrena as the In-Between reality of history.42 This is crucial for Voegelin because:

“the philosophers’ truth . . . of the search (zetesis) in erotic tension toward the mysterious ground of existence, . . . the philosophers’ noetic consciousness of existence in erotic tension, thus, becomes the closest neighbor to the Augustinian incipit exire qui incipit amare, i.e. the revelatory consciousness of the exodus from Babylon as the meaning of existence.”43

It is also crucial for Voegelin because “the dynamism and direction of the process” of exodus brought to light by Augustine springs from love for eternal being; this is “the great principle of a material philosophy of history.44 These Augustinian aspects of Voegelin’s approach set his work apart from the approaches of two of his famous contemporaries named above.

Leo Strauss’s return to Plato and Aristotle seems to lack what Voegelin gained from the premodern turn to interiority performed by Augustine, perhaps because until Buber, Rosenzweig, Scholem, and Levinas, Jewish thinkers (like Moses Mendelsohn or Hermann Cohen) only made the turn to interiority under the aus­pices of the truncated Cartesian style of meditation.

Analogously, although Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Heidegger-inspired retrieval of Pla­tonic dialectic and Aristotelian phronesis is indeed directed towards dismantling the truncated Cartesian ego and the immanentist Kan­tian ego and aimed at opposing the Hegelian egophany that is their logical outcome, his hermeneutic philosophy also remains unschooled by Augustine’s premodern turn to interiority.

Only Lonergan among these thinkers parallels Voegelin in this respect. He uncovered how Thomas Aquinas used Augustine to transform Aristotle’s nous poietikos into a thematization of human be­ing as the created imago Dei, an immanent source of transcendence.45 Lonergan’s lifework transposed this Augustinian and Thomist break­through into the utterly modern terms that he called “generalized empirical method.46 This he elaborated into a philosophy of action and an articulation of an integrated set of functionally specialized methods that together are relevant guides to any human beings facing the future in the light of the past.47

Voegelin and Lonergan Make Meditation a Condition

Lonergan, too, was con­cerned to liberate differentiated consciousnesses from the morass of what Voegelin cataloged as “Neokantian theories of knowledge, value-relating methods, historicism, descriptive institutionalism, and ideological speculations on history.48 You could almost say that this same point of departure is being applied to political science in Voegelin’s thesis in the foreword to Anamnesis: “The problems of human order in society and history arise from the order of con­sciousness. The philosophy of consciousness is therefore the core of a philosophy of politics.”

The point of contextualizing Voegelin’s achievement with Lonergan’s is not to clarify by contrast, but to underline what they share. And from this perspective, Voegelin and Lonergan have made “meditation” or “self-appropriation” a necessary condition of mod­ern science, scholarship, and the disciplines traditionally called “philosophy” and “theology.” In this vein David Tracy has evoked Pierre Hadot’s retrieval of “spiritual exercises” in the philosophic traditions of late antiquity (Stoicism, Epicureanism, Platonism, Aristotelianism), for which the love of wisdom demands a unity of thought with one’s way of life.49 According to Tracy’s reprise of Hadot:

“Each school maintained itself (and its fidelity to its founding sage) by a specific training in intellectual and spiritual exercises. Each school possessed its ideal of wisdom and corresponding fundamental attitude or orientation . . . . These orientations, of course, differed depending on the ideal itself: for example, a tensive attentiveness for the Stoics or a relaxation or letting-go for the Epicureans. Above all, every school employed exercises to aid the progressive development of its philosophical proponents to the ideal state of wisdom. At that ideal state the transcendent norm of reason ultimately coincides with God.”50

The Necessity for Meditation

Voegelin tells us that in the cultural grotesque of our time, he learned the importance of intellectual honesty (intellektuelle Rechtschaffen heit) from Max Weber.51 However, Voegelin realized this noble ideal by the practice of anamnetic meditation. Meditation is also the basis of what he has called substantive communication as distinct from pragmatic and intoxicant communication.52 It follows that we are not really reading Voegelin unless we are performing “spiritual ex­ercises.”

Such communication is not about garnering information, but about heightening our awareness and appropriating ourselves as social and historical in relation to the divine reality. As he once expressed it:

“This field of experiences and symbols is neither an object to be observed from the outside, nor does it present the same appearance to everybody. It rather is the time dimension of existence, accessible only through participation in its reality; and what the philosopher moving in the field will see or not see, understand or not understand, or whether he will find his bearings in it at all, depends on the manner in which his own existence has been formed through intellectual discipline in openness toward reality or deformed through his uncritical acceptance of beliefs which obscure the reality of immediate experience.”53

The heightened awareness that the mediation of truth and order in history is conditioned by the formation or deformation of the existence of the human beings in search of meaning leads to the cen­trality of meditative exegesis and anamnetic experiment in the performance of the scholar, the scientist, the philosopher, or the theologian.

Hence the growing realization on Voegelin’s part that his labors on the historical phenomena of order proceeded by reducing those phenomena to the logos of consciousness; and, in turn, that “. . . consciousness is not a given to be deduced from outside but an experience of participation in the ground of being whose logos has to be brought to clarity through the meditative exegesis itself.”54 “The reality of the meditative process” cannot be short-circuited; we cannot get out of undergoing “phases of increasing experience and insight,”55 if we are to “get anywhere” in philosophy/theology.

As Tracy tells us, what Hadot and before him Ignatius Loyola called “spiritual exercises” “were understood by all the ancient schools as analogous to the exercises employed by an athlete for the body as well as analogous to the application of a medical cure.”56 Intel­lectual and spiritual exercises are integral to what Voegelin calls “the process through which we find the order of our existence as human beings in the order of consciousness.”57 Voegelin’s masters for spiritual exercises are Augustine and Plato.

Augustine and Plato as Masters

As for Augustine, Caringella’s citations from the 1930 “Herrschafts­lehre” fragment–some of which are included above–document Voegelin’s firsthand familiarity with Augustine’s procedure of medi­tation in Books 10 and 11 of the Confessions.58 In his correspondence with Schütz, Voegelin says that:

“Descartes’ meditation is in principle a Christian meditation in the traditional style; it can even be further classified as a meditation of the Augustinian type, and has been made hundreds of times in the history of the human spirit since Augustine . . . . The goal of the meditation is the gradual elimination of the world-content, from the bodily world to the animate, in order to attain the point of transcendence, in which the soul can, in Augustinian language, turn itself in the intentio toward God.”59

His second master for spiritual exercises is Plato, who used the symbol of anamnesis or “remembrance” or “recollection” for it:

“What gets remembered is what was forgotten; and we remember the forgotten–sometimes with immense exertion–because it should not stay forgotten. What has been forgotten through fault gets brought by remembrance to the presence of knowing; and in the tension towards knowledge the state of forgetfulness is disclosed as the condition of not-knowing, of the agnoia of the soul in the Platonic sense. Knowing and not-knowing are states of existential order and disorder.”

“What has been forgotten can nonetheless only be remembered because it is a knowing in the mode of forgetfulness, which by its presence in the state of forgetfulness incites the existential unrest that exerts pressure towards its being lifted up into the mode of knowledge. Forgetfulness and knowledge are modes of consciousness of which the first can be transferred by remembrance over to the second. Remembering is the activity of consciousness by which what is forgotten, i.e., the knowledge latent in consciousness, gets lifted up out of the unconscious state into a specific presence of awareness . . . .”

“The objective center of consciousness however remains man’s knowledge concerning his tension toward the divine ground of being; what is remembered are the origins, the beginnings, and the grounds of order in the present existence of man . . . . In times of social disorder like our own we are thus surrounded by the rubble of the symbols from past remembrance, as well as by the symbols of revolt against the state of forgetfulness, and we have to bring the labor of remembrance back into play.”60

The foundation for Voegelin’s Platonic-Augustinian anamnetic meditation is “mystical” in the broad sense described by theologian Karl Rahner:

“In every human being . . . there is something like an anonymous, unthematic, perhaps repressed, basic experience of God, which is constitutive of man in his concrete makeup (of nature and grace), which can be repressed but not destroyed, which is ‘mystical’ . . .”61

This capacious sense of mysticism is characteristic of the first work of “mystical theology” by the anonymous fifth-century writer we call Denys the Areopagite. We can notice how apropos of Voegelin’s approach is Rowan Williams’s depiction of this overall approach:

“[T]he mystery of God going out from the depths of the divine nature to create and then to become incarnate in our nature, God binding creation together in communion and drawing creation back to its divine source. To understand this divine movement is to receive it into yourself in such a way that you are taken beyond all words and signs; and this openness or passivity to God’s movement (‘suffering divine things’) . . . In coming to terms with the mystical basis for anamnetic analysis, Voegelin breaks decisively with post- Enlightenment rationalism. He acknowledges that the fundamental reflection on the human condition traditionally known as philosophy is identical with the classic definition of theology: fides quaerens intellectum, ‘faith seeking understanding.’”61

Recovering the Mystery of the Church

As for churchmanship, Voegelin is probably correct that perhaps few today could follow the example of John Henry Newman, who, in his nineteenth-century quest for spiritual authority, was so struck by Augustine’s phrase, securus judicat orbis terrarum, that he immediately identified its referent with the Catholic Church in Rome.62

But that does not mean that the traditional threesome of imperium, sacerdotium, and studium should not each maintain their proper spheres of pub­lic authority as the foundations for social and cultural order even today, no matter what transformations their formal and informal institutionalizations will have to undergo. As far as sacerdotium is concerned, ecclesiology is one of the least mature of the disciplines of Catholic theology.63 Since the Triden­tine era (and before) it has been overly dominated by the canon lawyers.

As the studies of Hermann Josef Pottmeyer have shown, since the nineteenth century the Catholic Church has been oscillat­ing practically and theoretically between the ultimately Hobbesian idea of sovereign authority (mediated through Joseph de Maistre to the underlying rationale for the teachings on papal sovereignty adopted at the First Vatican Council) on the one hand, and the Second Vatican Council’s privileging of the image of the Church as a communion on the other.64

According to Johann Baptist Metz, the Catholic Church is struggling to make the transition from being a monocentric Europe-centered church to being a polycentric world church.65 Whatever the empirical trends may be,66 the theoretical and practical implications of Thomas Aquinas’s teaching about the whole Christ in Summa Theologiae III, quaestio 8, article 3 regularly invoked by Voegelin still have not been coherently drawn out for the Catholic Church.67

That argument drives home the universalist claim of Christianity by making the mystical body of Christ congruent with universal humanity.68 Although Aquinas wrote no treatise “on the Church,” what he said about Christ as head of the corpus Christi mysticum renders the dictum, extra ecclesiam nulla salus (“no salvation outside the Church”) itself heterodox. And so the whole tendency of Voegelin’s approach is in fundamental harmony with contemporary theology’s attempts to recover the mystery of the Church. Perhaps the only sure thing is that fundamentalist ecclesiologies that would reduce the mystery to manageable institutional terms are passé in theory, if not altogether in practice.

Voegelin’s sketch of the Christological, Trinitarian, and Mariolog­ical dimensions of what he calls “essential Christianity” features the Catholic genius for combining regard for the ineffability of the Tetragrammaton (as in Denys the Areopagite and Thomas Aquinas), with its need to be incarnately mediated.69 Given that Voegelin’s anamnetic analysis makes mystagogy integral to the meditative pro­cess, it is somewhat surprising that his sketch is silent about the rôle of the Spirit,70 who, according to the Scriptures, is sent anonymously to all human beings.

Yet this becomes more understandable when we consider the anamnetic model for his “inquiry into the history of experiences and symbolization” that provides the exegesis for “faith shaped by charity”:

“In the Enneads (IV, 3, 30), Plotinus has described this action as the transition from nonarticulate thinking to articulate thinking that perceives itself. Through an act of perceiving attention (antilepsis), the non-articulated knowledge (noema) is transformed into conscious knowledge; and this antileptic knowledge then becomes fixed through language (logos). Remembrance, thus, is the process by which non-articulated (ameres) knowledge can be raised into the realm of language-images [Bildlichkeit] (to phantastikon) so that, through expression in the pregnant sense of becoming a thing in the external world (eis to exo), it will become linguistically articulated presence in consciousness.”71

The movement from nonarticulate to articulate, from experienced and not expressed to experienced and made explicit, uttered, indeed “outered,” frames Voegelin’s way of thinking about the incarnation: “the symbolism of the incarnation would express the experience, with a date in history, of God reaching into man and revealing him as the Presence that is the flow of presence from the beginning of the world to the end. History is Christ written large.”72

Exodus from the World

So too does this movement–from implicit to expressed–frame Voegelin’s interpretation of the process by which true order in history is achieved, in accord with Augustine’s Enarrationes in Psalmos, 64:2.73 “They begin to depart who begin to love. Many there are who depart and not know it. For their walk of departure is a movement of the heart. And yet they depart from Babylon.”74

According to Voegelin, this philosophy of existence is symbolized by Augustine in terms of an exodus: “the tendency to abandon one’s entanglements with the world, to abandon the love of self, and to turn toward the love of God.” But the movement of the heart toward the love of God is depicted by Augustine as something not always explicitly known. And it may remain “subconscious,” in this sense, unless it is remembered in the encounter of experience with symbol–for Chris­tians, the historic reality of Christ, whose saving tale communicates outwardly the outreach of the divine to embrace intimately all of creation,75 and thus, “The Pauline Vision of the Resurrected.”76

It remains that in The Ecumenic Age Voegelin calls the differentiation brought about by this experience “pneumatic,” so that the Spirit almost becomes thematic. In stark contrast to these central emphases upon “spiritual exer­cises,” rationalism confines the scope of human questioning and knowing to what can be an object of intentional consciousness as sensing and as performing logical operations upon terms and propositions referring to the objects sensed.

Rationalism cannot account for the heart’s subconscious love that results from the pneumatic experience of being drawn by the divine reality; indeed, rationalism excludes the heart’s inarticulate guidance and either truncates or immanentizes the complex processes of moving to articulate, linguistic knowability. Voegelin’s Augustinian approach leads him to avoid rationalism, while restoring reason to its classic status.



1.The summary of Paul Caringella’s paper in the section, “Voegelin as Medi­tative Exegete,” was prepared by Geoffrey L. Price.

2  Paul Caringella, “Voegelin’s Order and History-. A Civitas Dei for the Twenty- first Century?” (paper presented at conference: Voegelin’s Vision of Order and the Crisis of Civilization in the Twentieth Century, University of Manchester, England, July 1994), 12.

3. Jurgen Gebhardt, “The Vocation of the Scholar,” this volume, 13.

4. Extracted from Eric Voegelin, “On the Theory of Consciousness,” “Anam­netic Experiments,” in Anamnesis, trans. Gerhart Niemeyer (Columbia: Univer­sity of Missouri Press, 1990), 27-28. This is a translation of “Zur Theorie des Bewußtseins,” “Anamnesis,” in Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik, 51- 52. Niemeyer’s translation is not a complete edition of the original German Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik.Subsequent notes will cite first the Niemeyer translation as Anamnesis, and then the German original as Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik.[EdAnamnesis: On the Theory of History and Politics, edited with an Introduction by David Walsh and translated from the German by M.J.Hanak was finally issued by the University of Missouri Press in 2002.]

5. Paul Caringella, appendix to “Voegelin’s Order and History.” See also Paul Caringella, “Crisis and Exodus: Eric Voegelin’s Anamnesis. Voegelin’s Way from Weber and Husserl through Schütz to Anamnesis as the Method of History,” in Krise und Exodus: Osterreichische Sozialwissenschaften im Mitteleuropa, ed. Kurt R. Leube and Andreas Pribersky (Vienna.- WUV-Universitatsverlag, 1995), 198-210.

6.  Edmund Husserl, Cartesianisiche Meditationen und Pariser Vortrage, ed. S. Strasser, vol. 1, Husserliana (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1950).

7.  “Fur die neuzeitliche Personenlehre ist der Gegensatz von Person und Welt primar, fur Augustin der Gegensatz von Gott und Welt. Ihm ist die gesamte Schopfung und in ihr die Person ein gegenstandlich Gegebenes. Sein Weltbild ist raumlich geordnet von unten, dem Sinnlich-Korperlichen, nach oben, dem animus; das neuzeitliche ordnet sich vom Korperlichen als dem Außen zur Person als dem Innersten und Intimsten. . . . Das deutlichste Symptom dieser gegenstandlichen Ordnung, in der auch die Person für den Beschauer ein Objekt unter anderen ist, dürfte Augustins Begriff der Zeit sein–sie ist nicht ein inneres Zeit bewußtsein, nicht das Konstitutens des Ich, sondern im Gegenteil sein Dissolvens; die tempora und saecula sind identisch mit der creatura im Sinne konkreter Erfulltheit des objektiven Weltablaufes, von dem auch die Person verzehrt wird, solange sie nicht die intentio auf Gott hat. . . .” (Voegelin, “Herrschaftslehre und Rechtslehre [1930],” Typescript, box 53, folder 5, Eric Voegelin Archive, Hoover Institution, Stanford, Calif., 8.)

8. “Wie die Augustinische Confessio mit der Frage nach dem Verhältnis von Schöpfer und Schopfung anhebt, so entzändet sich die Cartesische an dem Dualismus von Erkenntnissubjekt und Welt. Augustin suchte nach dem Ort der Ruhe der Seele, Descartes sucht den Punkt der Gewissheit, von dem her die Erkenntnis der Welt aufgebaut werden kann.” (Voegelin, “Herrschaftslehre und Rechtslehre,” 9).

9. Caringella, “Voegelin’s Order and History,” 6-19.

10. Voegelin, History of Political ideas, Typescript, 1939-1950,9 parts (Boxes 56:5 to 60:12. Eric Voegelin Archive, Hoover Institution, Stanford, Calif.). This entry is from part 8, subpart 3, “The Scienza Nuova,” 82-83. Subsequent citations are given in order: part, (subpart), chapter number, “chapter title,” and page number(s), if pertinent. For example, Voegelin, History of Political Ideas, 8(1): 20, “From Imperial to Parochial Christianity,” 1-5.

11. Ibid., 12.

12. Caringella, “Voegelin’s Order and History,” 12.

13. Voegelin, History of Political Ideas, 8(3), “The Scienza Nuova,” 26.

14. Voegelin, “Eternal Being in Time,” in Anamnesis, 136; “Ewiges Sein in der Zeit,” in Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik, 276.

15. Voegelin, The Ecumenic Age, vol. 4, Order and History (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1974), 171-271.

16. Caringella, “Voegelin’s Order and History,” 24.

17. By this, Caringella was referring to Voegelin’s statement, “For the cosmos may indeed be dissociated into divine and worldly being, by the experience of being, but that dissociating knowledge does not dissolve the bond of being between God and World, which we call cosmos.” Voegelin, “What Is Nature?” in Anamnesis, 79; “Was ist Natur?” in Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik, 144.

18. Caringella was referring here to “God and man, world and society, form a primordial community of being.” Eric Voegelin, Israel and Revelation, vol. 1, Order and History (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1956), 1.

19. Caringella, “Voegelin’s Order and History,” 25. See Voegelin, The Ecumenic Age, 300-336.

20. Caringella, “Voegelin’s Order and History,” 24-25.

21. Voegelin, “The Beginning and the Beyond: A Meditation on Truth,” in “What Is History?” and Other Late Unpublished Writings, ed. Thomas Hollweck and Paul Caringella, vol. 28, Collected Works of Eric Voegelin (Baton Rouge: Louisiana University Press, 1990), 232.

22. Voegelin, In Search of Order, vol. 5, Order and History (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press), 103-4.

23. Caringella was referring here to Voegelin’s statement “For Aristotle the spoudaios is the fully-developed man [Vollmensch] who is in the highest degree permeable for the cosmic-divine movement of being and who, by virtue of this quality, becomes the creator of ethics and the source of knowledge about what is right by nature” (Voegelin, “What Is Nature?” in Anamnesis, 80; “Was ist Natur?” in Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik, 144).

24. Caringella, “Voegelin’s Order and History . . . ”, 25.

25. The term scholarship used here is a one-sided translation of the German Wissenschaft, which in English means both “science” in the sense of the methods of the empirical sciences of nature, and “scholarship” in the sense of ascertaining through evidence the particular meanings and values proper to particular societies and cultures across time and space. Max Weber, “Science as a Vocation,” in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, trans. and ed. H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills (London: Kegan Paul, 1948), 129-56.

26. Gebhardt, “The Vocation of the Scholar,” this volume, 12.

27.  Ibid., 19.

28. Ibid., 13.

29. Ibid., 20.

30. Ibid., 22, 23.

31. Ibid., 13.

32. Ibid., 16.

33.  Ibid., 17, citing Voegelin, From Enlightenment to Revolution, ed. John Hallowell (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1975), 23.

34. Gebhardt, “The Vocation of the Scholar,” 19.

35.  Ibid., 35.

36.  Ibid., 15, citing Voegelin, The Ecumenic Age, 330.

37.  Gebhardt, “The Vocation of the Scholar,” 17.

38. Ibid., 18, citing Voegelin, The New Science of Politics: An Introduction, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952), 5.

39.  Voegelin, “The Meditative Experience of the Philosophical Experience of Order,” in The Beginning and the Beyond: Papers from the Gadamer and Voegelin Conferences, vol. 4, supplement 1 of Lonergan Workshop, ed. Frederick G. Lawrence (Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press, 1984), 47.

40. St. Augustine, “Of True Religion,” in Augustine: Later Writings, ed. John H.S. Burleigh, vol. 6, Library of Christian Classics (London: SCM Press, 1953), 225-83.

41.  Voegelin, The Ecumenic Age, 47.

42.  ibid., 172.

43.  Ibid., 178.

44. Voegelin, Anamnesis, trans. Gerhart Niemeyer, 140; “Ewiges Sein in der Zeit,” in Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik, 280.

45. Bernard Lonergan, S.]., Verbum: Word and Idea in Aquinas, ed. David Burrell (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1967).

46. Bernard Lonergan, S.J., Insight. A Study of Human Understanding, ed. Frederick E. Crowe and Robert M. Doran, vol. 3, Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan, S.J. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, for the Lonergan Research Institute of Regis College, Toronto, 1992).

47. Bernard Lonergan, S.J., Method in Theology (New York: Seabury Press; London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1972).

48.  “Consciousness and Order: Foreword to Anamnesis (1966),” is a translation by Voegelin of the “Vorwort” of his German text, Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik (Munich: Piper, 1966). The original “Vorwort” was not translated for the Niemeyer version of Anamnesis; instead Voegelin wrote a new introductory chapter, “Remembrance of Things Past.” Therefore the only available English translation of the “Vorwort” is “Consciousness and Order: Foreword to Anamnesis, (1966),” which appears in “The Beginning and the Beyond: Papers from the Gadamer and Lonergan Conferences,” vol. 4, supplement 1 of Lonergan Workshop, ed. Frederick G. Lawrence (Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press, 1984), 35-41. Subsequent citations of this text appear as “Foreword to Anamnesis (1966).” Subsequent citations of the German original will appear as “Vorwort.”

49. Pierre Hadot, Exercices spirituels et philosophie antique. Paris: Institut pour Études Augustiniennes, 1986. Revised text in English: Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault, trans. Michael Chase, ed. Arnold I. Davidson (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1995). This volume also includes translations of other important essays by Hadot.

50.  David Tracy, “Bernard Lonergan and the Return of Ancient Practice,” in The Legacy of Lonergan, vol. 10 of Lonergan Workshop, ed. Frederick G. Lawrence (Chestnut Hill, Mass.: Boston College, 1994), 326.

51. Voegelin, Autobiographical Reflections, ed. Ellis Sandoz (Baton Rouge: Lou­isiana State University Press, 1989), 45-46.

52. Voegelin, “Necessary Moral Bases for Communication in a Democracy,” in Problems of Commu­nication in a Pluralistic Society, ed. R. C. Seitz et. al. (Milwaukee, Wis.: Marquette University Press, 1956), 53-56. Also found in Published Essays, 1953-1965, CW Vol 11, p. 47.

53. Voegelin, “Equivalences of Experience and Symbolization in History,” in Published Essays, 1965-1985, ed. Ellis Sandoz, vol. 12, Collected Works of Eric Voegelin (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990), 116.

54. The phrase is from Voegelin, Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik, 7; “Foreword to Anamnesis (1966),” 35. This insight has integrally to do with, for instance, Voegelin’s historical retrieval of Augustine. Hadot has claimed of the self that is to be found in the Confessions that “it must not be understood as the incommunicable singularity of the man Augustine, but, on the contrary, as universal humanity of which the events of the life of Augustine are only the symbols.” (Cited in Arnold I. Davidson’s introduction to Hadot, Philosophy as a Way of Life, 17.) This profound decentering of the self is not the same as the elim­ination of the self, but the reunderstanding of the self–whether of ourselves or of Augustine–in its concrete, actual relationship of self-transcendence. That, I suggest, is what the expression “logos of consciousness” is about in Voegelin. It comes up later, in terms of “reflective distance.” See Voegelin, In Search of Order, 40-47, with the verification being worked out in the chapter entitled “Reflective Distance vs. Reflective Identity,” 48-107.

55. Voegelin, “Foreword to Anamnesis (1966),” 35; Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik, 7.

56. David Tracy, “Bernard Lonergan and the Return of Ancient Practice,” in The Legacy of Lonergan, 327.

57. Voegelin, “Foreword to Anamnesis (1966),” 38; Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik, 11.

58. See notes 5 and 6, above.

59. Voegelin, “Brief an Alfred Schütz über Edmund Husserl,” in Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik, 33; “Letter to Alfred Schütz, 17 September 1943,” in Faith and Political Philosophy. The Correspondence between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin, trans. and ed. Peter Emberley and Barry Cooper (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993), 31.

60. Voegelin, “Foreword to Anamnesis (1966),” 38, 39; Anamnesis: Zur Theo­rie der Geschichte und Politik, 11, 12-13. For another rendition of these points, see Voegelin, “The Symbols Reflective Distance-Remembrance-Oblivion,” in In Search of Order, 40-47.

61. Karl Rahner, “St. Teresa of Avila: Doctor of the Church,” in Opportunities for Faith, trans. Edward Quinn (New York: Seabury, 1974), 125. Rowan Williams, Teresa of Avila (Harrisburg, Penn.: Morehouse; London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1991), 143. Voegelin, “Response to Professor Altizer’s ‘A New History and a New but Ancient God?'” in Published Essays 1965-1985, 300-302.

62.St. Augustine, Contra epist. Parmen, 3:4. John Henry Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua. Being a History of His Religious Opinions (London: Longmans, Green, 1957), 116-17.

63. On the state of Catholic ecclesiology as a discipline, see Joseph A. Komonchak, Foundations in Ecclesiology, vol. 11, supplementary issue of Lonergan Workshop, ed. Frederick G. Lawrence (Chestnut Hill: Boston College, 1995).

64. See for example, Hermann Joseph Pottmeyer, “Kontinuitat und Innovation in der Ekklesiologie des II. Vatikanums,” in Kirche im Wandel–eine kritische Zwischenbalanz nach dem Zweiten Vatikanum, ed. G. Alberigo et al. (Dusseldorf: Patmos Verlag, 1982), 110.

65. Johann Baptist Metz, “Unity and Diversity: Problems for Inculturation,” in Faith and the Future: Essays on Theology, Solidarity and Modernity, by Johann Baptist Metz and Jurgen Moltmann, ed. Schüssler Fiorenza (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1995), 57-65; idem., “Im Aufbruch zu einer kulturell polyzentrischen Weltkirche,” in Zukunftsfahigkeit: Suchbewegungen im Christentum, by Franz Xaver Kaufmann and Johann Baptist Metz (Freiburg im Bresgau: Herder, 1987), 93-123.

66. See Franz-Xaver Kaufmann, “Christentum im Western Spannungsfeld der Verweltlichung,” in Zukunftsfahigkeit: Suchbewegungen im Christentum, 55-90.

67. St. Thomas Aquinas, “Is Christ the Head of All Men?” Ill,q.8,a.3, in The Grace of Christ, trans. Liam G. Walsh O.P, vol. 49, Summa Theologiae (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1963), 61.

68. See Voegelin, “Letter to Alfred Schütz I: [On Christianity],” in The Philosophy of Order: Essays on History, Consciousness and Politics, ed. Peter J. Opitz and Gregor Sebba, trans. Gregor Sebba (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1981), 456-57, the original German has subsequently been published: Voegelin, “Voegelin an Schütz, 1 January 1953,” in Eric Voegelin, Alfred Schütz, Leo Strauss, Aron Gurwitsch: Briefwechsel über “Die Neue Wissenschaft der Politik,” ed. Peter J. Opitz (Freiberg, Munich: Karl Alber, 1993), 105-20; Voegelin, The Ecumenic Age, 15; Voegelin, “Immortality: Experience and Symbol,” and “Response to Professor Altizer’s ‘A New History and a New but Ancient God?’” in Published Essays, 1965-1985, 78, 294.

69. Voegelin, “Letter to Alfred Schütz I: [On Christianity],” 456-57.

70. See Frederick E. Crowe, “Son of God, Holy Spirit and World Religions: The Contribution of Bernard Lonergan to the Wider Ecumenism,” in Appropriating the Lonergan Idea, ed. Michael Vertin (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1989), 324-43.

71. Voegelin, “Foreword to Anamnesis (1966),” 39; Anamnesis: Zur Theorie der Geschichte und Politik, 11.

72. Voegelin, “Immortality: Experience and Symbol,” in Published Essays 1965-1985, 78.

73. Ibid., 79.

74. St. Augustine on the Psalms, trans. S. Hebgin and F. Corrigan, vol. 29, Ancient Christian Writers, ed. Johannes Quasten and Walter J. Berghart, S.J. (London: Longmans, Green 1960).

75 .Voegelin, “Immortality: Experience and Symbol,” in Published Essays 1965- 1985, 79-80.

76. Voegelin, The Ecumenic Age, 239-71.


This excerpt is from International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Eric Voegelin (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1997)

Frederick LawrenceFrederick Lawrence

Frederick Lawrence

Frederick Lawrence is Associate Professor of Theology at Boston College. He is author of several books, the latest being The Fragility of Consciousness: Faith, Reason, and the Human Good (Toronto, 2017).

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