greatest political scientists. Eric Voegelin here contends that certain modern movements, including Positivism, Hegelianism, Marxism, and the “God is Dead” movement, are variants of the Gnostic tradition of antiquity. Highly provocative, this book is essential reading for students of modern politics, philosophy, and religion.
Hailed by the American Political Science Review as “one of the most distinguished interpreters to Americans of the non-liberal streams of European thought,” Professor Voegelin was director of the Institute for Political Science at the University of Munich as well as professor of political science and lecturer at numerous universities in the United States and Europe.
With a new introduction by Ellis Sandoz, professor of political science at Lousiana State University and director of the Eric Voegelin Institute for American Renasissance Studies.
"This book must be considered one of the most enlightening essays on the character of European politics that has appeared in half a century. . . . This is a book powerful and vivid enough to make agreement or disagreement with even its main thesis relatively unimportant."—Times Literary Supplement
"Voegelin . . . is one of the most distinguished interpreters to Americans of the non-liberal streams of European thought. . . . He brings a remarkable breadth of knowledge, and a historical imagination that ranges frequently into brilliant insights and generalizations."—Francis G. Wilson, American Political Science Review
"This book is beautifully constructed . . . his erudition constantly brings a startling illumination."—Martin Wright, International Affairs
"A ledestar to thinking men who seek a restoration of political science on the classic and Christian basis . . . a significant accomplishment in the retheorization of our age."—Anthony Harrigan, Christian Century
Sandoz analyzes the religious debt of the emergent American community and its elevation of the individual person as unique in the eyes of the Creator. He shows that the true distinction of American republicanism lies in its grounding of human dignity in spiritual individualism and an understanding of man’s capacity for self-government under providential guidance. Along the way, he addresses such topics as the neglected question of the education of the Founders for their unique endeavor, common law constitutionalism, the place of Latin and Greek classics in the Founders’ thought, and the texture of religious experience from the Great Awakening to the Declaration of Independence
To establish a unifying theoretical perspective for his study, Sandoz considers the philosophical underpinnings of religion and the contribution that Eric Voegelin made to our understanding of religious experience. He contributes fresh studies of the character of Voegelin’s thought: its relationship to Christianity; his debate with Leo Strauss over reason, revelation, and the meaning of philosophy; and the theory of Gnosticism as basic to radical modernity. He also provides a powerful account of the spirit of Voegelin’s later writings, contrasting the political scientist with the meditative spiritualist and offering new insight into volume 5 of Order and History.
Republicanism, Religion, and the Soul of America concludes with timely reflections on the epoch now unfolding in the shadow of Islamic jihadism. Bringing a wide range of materials into a single volume, it confronts current academic concerns with religion while offering new insight into the construction of the American polity—and the heart of Americanism as we know it today.