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The New Science of Politics: An Introduction (Walgreen Foundation Lectures) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0226861142 ISBN-10: 0226861147 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Walgreen Foundation Lectures
  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (August 15, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226861147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226861142
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) was Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at the time of his death. He is the author of numerous books in addition to his major five-volume work Order and History.

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Customer Reviews

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I would recommend this book to anyone looking to explore the work of Voegelin; this is a great place to start.
The New Science of Politics (NSP henceforth) is packed and packed with information, but unlike most philosophers, Voegelin keeps the length of the book short.
Daniel Stephens
When you understand the gnostic connection, you will understand the unshakeable certainty of those who believe in massive social change.
Edward S. Tonry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By New Age of Barbarism on January 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
_Modernity Without Restraint_ presents three of Erik Voegelin's essays on the modern political religions, including Marxism, National Socialism, Hegelianism, Nietzschianism, and Heideggerianism. To Voegelin, these thinkers are all best described as "gnostics" and in their effort to create God's Kingdom on Earth seek to "immanentize the Christian eschaton". In "The Political Religions", Voegelin traces back the origin of political religion to the Egyptian worship of the Sun, the cult of Akhenaton. He traverses the history of the Middle Ages, and he shows how the archetype of the Christian apocalypse (a heresy to the orthodox Christian) came to occupy a central role in political religion. He includes a good discussion of the leviathanic state of Thomas Hobbes. Finally he ends with a compelling picture of the National Socialist state embodied in the Fuehrer. Although he was criticized in this essay for not outrightly condemning the National Socialists, Voegelin stated that this in fact just reveals the satanic allure that this political religion holds. To Voegelin, National Socialism is "satanic". In "The New Science of Politics", Voegelin examines various modes of representation from Plato and Aristotle through the Roman Empire. He then discusses the idea of gnosticism; he views the modern political religions as a restoration of the Gnostic heresy (condemned by early Christianity), an attempt to replace faith with certainty and bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth. This idea arose in the apocalyptic tradition, transmitted through the Middle Ages by the followers of Joachim de Fiore. He discusses in particular the case of the English Puritans.Read more ›
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Jas. Murphy on September 21, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Eric Voegelin, who died in 1985, is one of the giants of intellectual history and political philosophy. Unfortunately, he is far less well-recognized outside of a small scholarly community than some of the poseurs who foist quack theories on the public under the guise of "political philosophy." The New Science of Politics, based on Voegelin's Walgreen Lectures, can be read as a theoretical companion to his magisterial Order and History, a five-volume elaboration of the theories presented here. Voegelin provides an examination of political community and its representations through symbolic appropriation and the underlying basis of political order throughout history. Equally, Voegelin deals with misappropriation of symbols in the form of Gnosticism, which emerged at the dawn of the middle ages. His diagnostic exercise leads to an examination of modernity, which is characterized by advance and decline, the nature of of our own times. Modernist movements such as Nazism and Communism embody gnostic misappropriation of the symbolization of order. Writing in the immediate postwar period as an Austrian refugee from Hitler, with a command of ancient and modern philosophy and history and access to documentation in a dozen languages, Voegelin both lays the foundation for a return to the Aristotelean tradition of political philosophy and analysis and provides the personal witness of a research physician who has examined the patient at close hand. There is no better short book in our times for accomplishing Dr. Johnson's admonition to clear your mind of cant, or providing a sound basis for recognizing the corruption of intellectual and personal standards in current politics and scholarship, or the infection of scholarship by extremist politics.Read more ›
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By TEK on March 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of you who are new to Voegelin perhaps a word generally about his work will be helpful. Voegelin was born in Cologne, Germany in 1901. In 1938, he and his wife fled from Germany to the United States. From this context alone it is not surprising that Voegelin is very critical of the Nazis in particular and totalitarian regimes in general. What is perhaps more surprising to those who first come across Voegelin is his claim that regimes such as the Nazis are derivatives of such generally loved intellectual movements as the Enlightenment and Progressivism.

Taken together, the three works published in this volume provide a good basis for understanding how Voegelin comes to this conclusion. In this regard, "The New Science of Politics" is probably the most comprehensive work of the three. However, I would make two suggestions to those who are considering tackling this volume. First, read the first and third (that is, "The Political Religions" and "Science, Politics, and Gnosticism") before reading "The New Science of Politics". I think that the first and third pieces are much easier to read, even though they are less encompassing overall. Second, read "The New Science of Politics" twice. I read that installment for the first time about a year ago and I feel that I understood a lot more the second time around.

Voegelin is a great thinker, and his works in this volume provide a different, and yet very profound way of looking at modern Western society. I think Voegelin's construction of Gnosticism is right on as a critique of the modern psyche. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to explore the work of Voegelin; this is a great place to start. The writing is fairly difficult, but you don't have to understand everything to take a lot from this book.
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