April 23, 2020

Eric Voegelin and the Metaphysics of History

A discussion on Eric Voegelin's philosophy of history

Time & Location

April 23, 2020


“...the truth about the order of being emerges in the order of history” –Eric Voegelin

Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) was one of the 20th-century's greatest thinkers. Most remembered for his five-volume philosophy of history (Order and History) and for his critiques of “Gnostic” political ideologies, he worked at Stanford's Hoover Institution for the last 15 years of his life. Voegelin devoted much of his work to a search for the source of order in history. Order and History studies the efforts of world civilizations to articulate experiences of order through cosmological myth, revelation, and philosophy. The differentiation across these symbolic forms over time, Voegelin contended, reflects humanity’s increasing attunement to the ground of being. Such attunement is crucial for a genuine renewal of political order. 


Eric Voegelin, “Introduction: The Symbolization of Order,” Order and History, Vol. 1: Israel and Revelation (Louisiana State University Press, 1956), reprinted in Maurice P. Hogan, ed., The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Vol. 14 (University of Missouri Press, 2001) 

Eric Voegelin, “In Search of the Ground,” 1965 lecture, originally printed in R. Eric O'Connor, ed., Conversations with Eric Voegelin (Thomas More Institute, 1980), reprinted in Ellis Sandoz, ed., The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Vol. 11 (University of Missouri Press, 2000)




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