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Eric Voegelin’s essay “On Classical Studies” is, among the late published essays included in Volume 12 of his Collected Works, both the shortest piece, in terms of length, and the one that has been referenced in Voegelin scholarship on fewer occasions than the other Volume 12 pieces.[1]  Nevertheless, it is a pithy work that is attractive for its clarity, its…

A reflection on classical studies, their purpose and prospects, will properly start from Wolf’s definition of classic philology as the study of man’s nature as it has become manifest in the Greeks.[1]
The conception sounds strangely anachronistic today because it has been overtaken by the two closely related processes of the fragmentation of science through specialization and the deculturation of Western…

In Eric Voegelin: Philosopher of History Webb comments, of liberal conceptions of order in history, that they “overlook the transcendent dimension of the human project, but they notice the immanent one. They overlook the helkein, but they notice the reality and importance of zetesis” (Webb, 1981, 248). Yet I suspect that either liberal thinking is virtually pervasive in the West…

The Eric Voegelin Reader: Politics, History, Consciousness. Charles R. Embry, Glenn Hughes, eds. (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2017)
 
Eric Voegelin is one of the most insightful and prolific philosophers of the twentieth century. His life (1901-85) spanned two world wars, the rise of totalitarianism, and the spread of modern ideologies that undermined the philosophical foundations of the Western political…

1. Voegelin presented himself as someone who knew his business and based on a solid conviction that Greek philosophy is the foundation of political science: the lecture materials were presented from this coherent starting point.
2. Devotion to truth as a desire to communicate it to students illumined every lecture and discussion, with the exploration of questions constantly reflecting the tension…

Compared to other European émigré scholars of the same period–Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Hannah Arendt, Hans Morgenthau, and Leo Strauss–Eric Voegelin’s contribution to the discipline of political science is marginal. Over time the work of these thinkers have become part of the mainstream of political science with their legacies preserved by their students who continue to find new and relevant…

Maladies of Modernity: Scientism and the Deformation of Political Order. David Whitney. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine Press, 2019.
 
David Whitney’s excellent critique of what he calls scientism, a dogmatic application of the methods of natural science to social science, provides a high-brow diagnosis of the modern maladies that result from the “rhetorical power of science.”  Whitney traces the development of…

In the first half of the twentieth century, the rationalist tide had reached its high mark[1]. For example, in architecture and city planning, rationalism would sweep away that unnecessary clutter of old prejudices that restrained traditional architecture and customary urban organization and build the modern, functional buildings and communities that people truly needed.[2] Traditional work practices were to be rejected…

Tradition V. Rationalism: Voegelin, Oakeshott, Hayek, and Others. Lee Trepanier and Eugene Callahan, eds. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2018.
 
We live in strange times. Anyone following educational trends will have noticed that the culture wars are filtering into even the hard sciences. To the wider world this might be perplexing but to readers of this website none of this is surprising. Science…

History has an ineradicable place in Christian theology.[1] In the Judeo-Christian tradition, history is the “place” where God’s revelation and offer of salvation is made to human beings. History is the “place” where human beings are also free to choose to respond to this graceful gesture by an expression of faith, living a moral life and reliving and celebrating the…