VOEGELIN--RESEARCH NEWS
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Volume I, No. 3                                             April 1995
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_In this issue_:  I.1  Announcing the creation of VOEGLN-L.
                  I.2  Lisbon Conference--Preliminary Agenda.

                  II.1 Z. Planinc review of _Faith and Political 
                       Philosophy:  The Correspondence Between 
                       Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin, 1934-1964_.


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                                  I

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1.  The editors of _VOEGELIN -- RESEARCH NEW_ are pleased to bring to 
your attention the following announcement, which was disseminated over 
the system in late March.

                  ********** ANNOUNCING *************
 
         A listserv dedicated to the thought of ERIC VOEGELIN
 
VOEGLN-L is a forum for discussion and debate of Eric Voegelin's works.
Possible uses of this list include slow reading of key texts, exchange 
of research ideas and sources, announcements and calls for papers, and 
discussion of issues relevant to the thought of Eric Voegelin.  Discus-
sion might focus on Voegelin's significance for the modern world, the 
Strauss-Voegelin correspondence, and the revival of the classical con-
ception of reason.

To subscribe send the following message in E-MAIL to:

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2.  _Lisbon Conference--Preliminary Agenda_.

I Sintra International Seminar on Political Science, Sintra, Portugal, 
                           10-11 July 1995.

Promoted by
Universidade Internacional 
Quinta da Vitoria, Loures, Portugal
tel. 351 1 941 23 63
fax. 351 1 941 66 72

In cooperation with
Universidade Catolica Portuguesa
1600 Palma de Cima, Lisboa, Portugal
tel. 351 1  7214000
fax.  351 1 7271700
E-Mail gepolis@fagote1.ciucp.ucp.pt

The Universidade Internacional (Lisbon, Portugal) with the support of 
other academic and university institutions, namely Universidade Cato-
lica (Lisbon, Portugal) will held a Seminar at Sintra on the subject:

    _The Challenges to Democracy and the Crisis of Representation_

having as its starting-point the appraisal of Eric Voegelin's politi-
cal philosophy.

The seminar will have four panels. At the first part of each session 
there will be two papers, and three commentaries.  At the second part, 
the debate will be taken up by the audience.


                               _PROGRAM_


Monday, 10 July

The Crisis of Political Identities and Symbolic Power
  9.00 am - 10.30 am
 11.00 am - 13.00 pm

Monday, 10 July

The Return of Political Philosophy
 15.00 pm - 16.30 pm
 17.00 pm - 19.00 pm

Tuesday, 11 July

Representative Minorities and the Open Society
  9.00 am - 10.30 am
 11.00 am - 13.00 pm

Tuesday, 11 July

Models of Transition at the End of the Cold War
 15.00 pm - 16.30 pm
 17.00 pm - 19.00 pm

Closing session - 19.30 pm - 20.00 pm

Further information about applications for the participation of inde-
pendent scholars, will be available after Easter. 

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                                  II

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As this is the first piece to appear in Part II, the moderated research 
notes and communications section of our newsletter, we would like to in-
form our readers that we are mindful of the need to treat contributions 
made to this section with care.  To this end, the editors are exploring 
various options designed to assure our contributors that none of the 
contributions to this section will be lost to the scholarly community.  
In the short run, we propose to place a hard-copy of our newsletter _cum_
research report in four places:  At the Manchester centre, at Munich, at 
LSU, and at the Hoover Institute centre.  For the long term, we are in-
vestigating other possible solutions, and we would appreciate any sugges-
tions our readers might wish to make.  This being very much a new medi-
um, all of us are in an experimentation phase.

Needless to say, it is to be hoped that in this interim period we will 
be able to maintain the standard set for this section by Professor Z. 
Planinc's review.  We, of course, take this opportunity to invite read-
ers of the newsletter to contribute research notes, reviews of books or 
articles, comments on reviews, etc.

NOTE:  Accents over letter in non-English words have had to be omitted 
       since they do not transmit well electronically.


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Review:  Barry Cooper and Peter Emberley, editors, _Faith and Political 
Philosophy:  The Correspondence Between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin, 
1934-1964_, (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993),
pp. xxvi, 368.


The first academic conference I ever attended revealed almost all the 
charms of the contemplative life to me at once.  For several days, Eric 
Voegelin, Bernard Lonergan, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Allan Bloom, among 
others, spoke to one another openly about any topic they pleased.  There 
was no dogma, no evidence of the _deformation professionelle_ of the mod-
ern scholar:  they had free souls, it touched them not.  It would be 
five years before I saw any of them again, never together; and another 
five before I became an academic myself.  How simple it was; and, as I 
have learned, how rare.

The publication of _Faith and Political Philosophy:  The Correspondence 
Between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin, 1934-1964_ is another such occa-
sion.  We owe a debt of gratitude to the editors, Profs. Barry Cooper 
and Peter Emberley.  Their work in preparing this wonderful volume al-
lows one to witness the contemplative life overstepping the boundaries 
of the academic life.  The letters between Strauss and Voegelin have all 
the intelligence, good will and frankness necessary for philosophical 
dialogue, and have an immediacy that makes these great men directly pre-
sent to the reader.  Furthermore, eight distinguished scholars have writ-
ten insightful commentaries for the volume addressing not only matters 
raised in the correspondence but also related questions raised in the 
published works of Strauss and Voegelin, several of which are reprinted 
here.  Together, the letters, the articles and the commentaries allow 
the reader to participate in the highest form of discourse about faith 
and reason, the spiritual order and the political order, the best way 
to live one's life.

The bulk of the letters were written between 1942 and 1953, just before 
both men received widespread public recognition following the publica-
tion of their Walgreen lectures:  Strauss' 1949 lectures appeared as 
_Natural Right and History_ in 1953; and Voegelin's 1951 lectures ap-
peared as _The New Science of Politics in 1952_.  By the time the works 
of their maturity began to be published Strauss' _Thoughts on Machia-
velli (1958) and the first three volumes of Voegelin's _Order and His-
tory_ (1956-7) they were no longer engaged in dialogue.  The questions 
raised in their letters had not been answered, but they understood each 
other well enough to know that further discussion would be fruitless.  
The four essays reprinted in this volume, all written in the late 1960s 
or early 1970s, show that both men continued to reflect on the nature 
of their disagreements:  they perfected their arguments, but no longer 
addressed them to one another.

The correspondence shows their substantial agreement as well as their 
disagreement.  Their critiques of modernity were similar, although 
most people would be rather uncomfortable with line below which both 
of them dismissed things as "idiocy."  Their assessments of America as 
the best practical regime for the modern era were also similar, al-
though they feel little need to speak about this in their letters.  And 
each understood himself as a political philosopher whose work could 
contribute to the restoration of the life of reason in society prima-
rily through its influence in the academy.

It is not wrong to call them friends during this period, even though 
their relations with others more closely approached the Platonic stan-
dard of friendship:  having all things in common.  One wishes they would 
discuss matters with each other as openly as Voegelin could speak with 
Alfred Schutz and Strauss could speak with Alexander Kojeve.  Never-
theless, a great deal may be learned from their frank exchanges on any 
number of topics.  For example:  the work of Karl Popper, which they 
place well below that uncomfortable line; the understanding of poli-
tics in Xenophon and Machiavelli, well above; and accounts of _nous_ 
(intellect or mind) given by Averroes, Hegel and Husserl, about which 
they have fundamental differences.

After a period of increasing engagement, the replies no longer take up 
all that is offered in a letter and the correspondence ends abruptly.  
Voegelin writes an extensive letter (22.4.51) explaining how the dichot-
omous distinction between reason and revelation is inadequate for analy-
tic purposes, how the literary form of Plato's dialogues is grounded in 
myth, and how, therefore, an analysis of the dialogues using an inade-
quate notion of reason will misrepresent Plato's meaning.  Strauss' re-
ply (4.5.51) is disappointing:  he is certain Voegelin accepts "Chris-
tian dogma," but is unsure of which denomination.  After several such 
disappointments, Voegelin hesitates to send Strauss a strong critique 
of John Locke's "swindles," the epistemological swindle of his under-
standing of _ratio_ (reason), and the political swindle of his account 
of consent, replacing it instead with a more moderately worded letter 
that only asks:  "Is Locke still a philosopher at all?" (15.4.53; 20.
4.53)  All serious discussion ends with the arrival of Strauss' inde-
cipherable letter defending, as it turns out, a radical distinction be-
tween prudential understanding and "authentic principles," and ending 
with a cryptic footnote:  "I pass over our perennial difference of opin-
ion concerning gnosis" (25.5.53).

Their judgments about many matters may have been similar, but the grounds
of their judgments were different.  It is their perennial difference con-
cerning the ground of judgment that is the most instructive feature of 
their correspondence.  For Strauss, ancient Greek philosophy and modern 
philosophy stand together against all theology.  And modern philosophy 
differs from ancient philosophy primarily in its political assumption
that all human beings may become enlightened:  wisdom is limited to the
few.  For Voegelin, one the other hand, ancient Greek philosophy stands
together with the Israelite and Christian revelatory traditions against
modernity in all its forms, philosophical as well as political.  And the 
gnostic claim of wisdom, no matter whether for the few or for the many, 
is the defining characteristic of modernity.  Voegelin, it seems, took
the _querelle des anciens et des modernes_ more seriously than Strauss
did.

The difference between them is only partly evident in their letters.  It 
is more pronounced in the later essays reprinted in this volume: 
Strauss' "Jerusalem and Athens" and "The Mutual Influence of Theology and
Philosophy," and Voegelin's "Immortality:  Experience and Symbol" and
"Gospel and Culture."  Differences aside, these essays are without doubt
among the best comparative studies of ancient Greek and Biblical texts to
be written in this century.  They contain a wealth of insight for
scholars.  In content as well as form, Strauss' work rivals the work of
Averroes, Maimonides or Spinoza; and Voegelin's, the work of Augustine,
Pseudo-Dionysius or Ficino.  

The relation of two such great men, even if limited to a decade of cor-
respondence and their major works, is so broad a topic that it is not 
surprising the eight scholars whose commentaries comprise the concluding 
third of this volume should find several different ways to approach it.  
The first essay is by James Wiser.  He gives an excellent summary, care-
fully argued and lucidly written, of their understandings of reason and 
revelation.  For Strauss, Athens and Jerusalem are antithetical:  philo-
sophy is strictly rational analysis, based on sense-experience; revela-
tion concerns the irrational or the extra sensory and is hearsay usual-
ly accepted on authority.  For Voegelin, philosophy and revelation have 
a "common noetic core."  Both are aspects of the "mutual participation 
of the human and divine that constitutes the all-encompassing reality 
of existence."  Wiser's essay sets the standard for the rest.  Unfortu-
nately, it is not always met.

Hans-Georg Gadamer and Stanley Rosen both discuss Strauss and Voegelin 
from the perspective of their own encounters with Heidegger and, to a 
lesser extent, Kojeve's atheistic Hegel; and both address themselves 
primarily to Strauss, with whom they have had their own public contro-
versies.  The resulting lack of engagement with what is at issue occa-
sionally produces surprising claims.  Rosen, for example, writes that 
both Strauss and Voegelin are "part of the crisis of late modernity," 
and that their shared program for the "radical reinstitution of some 
past `golden age' is impossible" or at least "undesirable."  

The next two essayists, Thomas J.J. Altizer and Timothy Fuller, both 
discuss Strauss and Voegelin from the perspective of their own readings 
of Hegel as a Christian philosopher; and both address themselves pri-
marily to Voegelin, with whom Altizer has had a public controversy.  
The differences between Strauss and Voegelin are confronted squarely, 
but surprising claims arise anyway.  Altizer writes that Voegelin is 
"alone among twentieth-century thinkers" in attempting a "reconcili-
ation and union of Athens and Jerusalem;" but he later becomes uncer-
tain whether Voegelin is best described as a Christian or a pagan, 
whether Strauss is best described as a pagan or a Jew, and indeed 
whether Hegel is best described as a mystic or a gnostic.  Fuller, 
on the other hand, is certain that the "progressive principle" in 
Hegel is gnostic.  Strauss and Voegelin both reject it, but for dif-
ferent reasons.  Strauss assumes that "Christian philosophy" is an 
oxymoron; but Voegelin purges Hegel of this principle and defends an 
"ecumenical and philosophical, `unprogressive,' Christianity."  How-
ever, the "chastened" Christianity of Fuller's Voegelin is too Chris-
tian to persuade this reader.  Philosophy is not equivalent to reve-
lation in Fuller's account; it is "expanded by the Incarnation," and 
again becomes a handmaiden of theology.
  
The concluding three essays provide a fitting end to the book. The last, 
by David Walsh, returns to the theme of the first.  Like Wiser, Walsh 
contrasts the "wall of separation between theology and philosophy" in 
Strauss' writings to the claim in Voegelin's writings that Biblical re-
velation and Greek philosophy are both "forms of theophany, revelations 
of the `fullness of divine reality' (_theotes_, Col. 2.9)."  However, 
like Fuller, Walsh also presents Voegelin in too Christian a light:  if
not a new Thomas, then certainly the philosopher to make a new Thomas 
possible.

The articles by Ellis Sandoz and Thomas L. Pangle are more immediately 
engaged in the disagreement between Strauss and Voegelin than any others 
in the collection.  They both recognize the historical importance of 
the dialogue between these two great philosophers.  Pangle speaks for 
Sandoz as well when he writes that Strauss and Voegelin both produced 
"amazingly extensive [and] painstakingly meticulous" studies of past 
thinkers in an attempt "to disinter the authentic, lost or forgotten 
or misunderstood, spiritual well springs of the West."  Sandoz and Pan-
gle have themselves given us excellent scholarly studies--detailed, 
careful and thoughtful--of the dispute:  Sandoz defends Voegelin, 
Pangle defends Strauss--but neither is partisan.  Sandoz presents the 
disagreement as one between Strauss' medieval rationalism and Voege-
lin's mystic philosophy.  Pangle presents it as one between Voegelin's 
"faith-inspired historical philosophizing" and Strauss' "intransigent 
stand for philosophy as rigorous science," comparable to mathematical 
knowledge.  In all justice, Pangle even presents the strongest chal-
lenges to Strauss' stand:  if knowledge of first principles is always 
incomplete, how then can philosophy be a rigorous science?; and, in 
any event, what is Strauss' justification for claiming that political 
philosophy has the "supreme task"?

This challenging collection of essays recalls nothing so much as the 
fourth heaven of Dante's _Paradiso_, in which Aquinas praises the 
Franciscans, Bonaventura praises the Dominicans, and twenty-four 
various theologians including Pseudo-Dionysius, Siger of Brabant and 
Joachim of Flora dance together in concentric circles--certainly too 
much to hope for in this world.


Zdravko Planinc, Associate Professor, Religious Studies, McMaster 
University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


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Dr. M.W. Poirier                  | Dr. Geoffrey L. Price
Dept. of Political Science        | Dept. of Religions and Theology
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