Voegelin's philosophical project was to restore order in human souls and human societies in a century of civilizational catastrophe. For Voegelin, the "crisis of the West," reflected in the horrific wars and social chaos of the twentieth century, was the result of the gradual detachment of the our theoretical language from the unique, historical encounters with transcendence that lay at the foundation of Western civilization. As Federici shows, Voegelin undertook two massive efforts to provide evidence for this thesis in his five-volume Order and History series and in his posthumously published multi-volume History of Political Ideas
The ultimate goal of Voegelin's project, Federici argues, was to liberate modern men and women from the grasp of ideologies, which Voegelin characterized as simplified constructions of reality that always distorted and obscured the truth. Hence, Voegelin was especially critical of Nazism, Marxism, gnosticism, and scientism. But he was also a critic of doctrinal Christianity and conservatism, positions that Federici explains in detail. Federici also introduces the reader to Voegelin's difficult but influential philosophy of consciousness, and he includes a helpful glossary of Voegelinian terms.
Readers intimidated or puzzled by Voegelin's often daunting prose will find Federici's volume, the fourth entry in ISI's Library of Modern Thinkers series, an invaluable guide to one of the twentieth century's most imposingand most impressivephilosophical minds.
What They're Saying...
"This concise and authoritative introduction to Eric Voegelin's philosophy will be invaluable for the reader approaching his thought for the first time and be of interest to the experts as well. It is lucid, cogent, and insightful. Federici takes account of much of Voegelin's published work and of some of the important and extensive critical literature. His treatment of such complicated questions as Voegelin's relationship to philosophy or to Christianity or to political conservatism (among other issues) is balanced, lively, and clarifying. Eric Voegelin deserves a prominent place on the bookshelf of anyone interested in understanding the mind of perhaps the premier political philosopher of the last century, the great diagnostician of the crisis of our times. Warmly recommended."
— Ellis Sandoz, Director, Eric Voegelin Institute for American Renaissance Studies, Louisiana State University
"This lucid and intelligent book provides a much-needed introduction to Eric Voegelin's rich and demanding corpus. It will be indispensable for introducing a new generation to one of the most significant political philosophers of the age."
— Daniel J. Mahoney, Assumption College
"Eric Voegelin may need no introduction but his work can certainly use one. Michael Federici has furnished just such a guide to the challenging intellectual landscape of Voegelin's historical meditations. Eric Voegelin: The Restoration of Order has distilled a deep reading of Voegelin's works into a highly accessible format, providing thereby a service to newcomers and a model for emulation by others."
— David Walsh, Catholic University of America
"By concentrating on Voegelin's political philosophy, and with the aid of a hefty glossary of his terms, Federici makes accessible this extraordinary thinker's ideas."