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VOEGELIN AND THE PHILOSOPHER

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  • Ricardo Stuani
    Dear list members, This is Ricardo Stuani, from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I m really pleased to become a member of this list after having read its content with great
    Message 1 of 11 , May 2, 2008
      Dear list members,


      This is Ricardo Stuani, from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

      I'm really pleased to become a member of this list after having read its
      content with great interest for more than 2 years. During this time I have
      also read some of EV's works, articles and books based upon him or analyzing
      his contribution. This process has culminated in some questions in whose
      clarification I would appreciate your input.

      What did EV conceive as the necessary conditions to (re)engender order?

      He said:

      http://watershade.net/ev/ev-a.html

      "Simply reversing the rebellion will not be successful. The rebellion has
      accomplished the good of breaking the domination of the former orthodoxies.
      The attempt to return to the former orthodoxy is a 'secondary ideology',
      using symbols of 'tradition' and 'conservatism.' Lacking noetic
      clarification, such efforts lack conviction in their debate with
      ideologies."


      I assume this "noetic clarification" is the result of the "noetic
      differentiation" Michael P. Federici identifies as essential, according
      to Voegelin, to the recovery of order.
      Still taking into consideration what Federici says in his "Eric
      Voegelin," the aforementioned differentiation is what tells a "philosopher"
      apart from a "philodoxer."



      As I understand from what I have read by and on EV, that differentiation
      comes from direct experience with the ground of being, which does not result
      from "mere" speculation, but from "contemplative practices" typical of the
      "mystics" from different religions, as has apparently been the case of both
      Plato and Aristotle, among others.


      I had been discussing that with a friend of mine, who is also interested in
      EV, when he had the chance to ask Mendo Castro Henriques, a Portuguese
      scholar who studied under EV, what he thought of that. As this friend
      reported to me, Mr. Castro Henriques replied with an emphatic "Yes," and
      illustrated it mentioning Plato and other philosophers. Then my
      friend questioned the identification of Voegelin himself as an actual
      philosopher, as he happened not to be a "mystic", and he answered that my
      friend was right, that EV was not a philosopher as defined in his own terms,
      regardless of his merits.

      I would like to know what you think of that. Moreover, in case you agree
      with Mr. Castro Henriques, how can order be engendered in our civilization
      given the absence of those "mystics" or the little importance they have
      nowadays? Also, as only the Orthodox and the Catholic churches value those
      "mystics", or have a background in which they were valued, can that order be
      brought back with the current spread of Protestantism?

      Best regards,

      Ricardo Stuani


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • fjjwagner
      I would make two brief comments in reply to this post which deserves more than brevity: 1. EV had no plan, program or prediction regarding the restoration of
      Message 2 of 11 , May 2, 2008
        I would make two brief comments in reply to this post which deserves
        more than brevity:

        1. EV had no plan, program or prediction regarding the
        restoration of order. He was describing how we got to be
        where we are, not how to get to a good society. He was
        not immanentizing the eschaton, either as a progressive
        or anything else. You can't, for instance, fix Brazil by using
        Voegelin. Instead you must participate in politics and change
        attitudes by being a principled and good man whom others will admire.

        2. EV was a mystic, or claimed he was, in private.
        See my paper on EV and Christianity at:
        http://www.fritzwagner.com/ev/ruminations_voegelin_and_christianity.html

        Good luck,

        Fritz Wagner

        On Fri, 2 May 2008 14:28:36 -0300, Ricardo Stuani wrote:
        > Dear list members,
        >
        >
        > This is Ricardo Stuani, from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
        >
        > I'm really pleased to become a member of this list after having
        > read its content with great interest for more than 2 years. During
        > this time I have also read some of EV's works, articles and books
        > based upon him or analyzing his contribution. This process has
        > culminated in some questions in whose clarification I would
        > appreciate your input.
        >
        > What did EV conceive as the necessary conditions to (re)engender
        > order?
        >
        > He said:
        >
        > http://watershade.net/ev/ev-a.html
        >
        > "Simply reversing the rebellion will not be successful. The
        > rebellion has accomplished the good of breaking the domination of
        > the former orthodoxies. The attempt to return to the former
        > orthodoxy is a 'secondary ideology', using symbols of 'tradition'
        > and 'conservatism.' Lacking noetic clarification, such efforts lack
        > conviction in their debate with ideologies."
        >
        >
        > I assume this "noetic clarification" is the result of the "noetic
        > differentiation" Michael P. Federici identifies as essential,
        > according to Voegelin, to the recovery of order.
        > Still taking into consideration what Federici says in his "Eric
        > Voegelin," the aforementioned differentiation is what tells a
        > "philosopher" apart from a "philodoxer."
        >
        >
        > As I understand from what I have read by and on EV, that
        > differentiation comes from direct experience with the ground of
        > being, which does not result from "mere" speculation, but from
        > "contemplative practices" typical of the "mystics" from different
        > religions, as has apparently been the case of both Plato and
        > Aristotle, among others.
        >
        >
        > I had been discussing that with a friend of mine, who is also
        > interested in EV, when he had the chance to ask Mendo Castro
        > Henriques, a Portuguese scholar who studied under EV, what he
        > thought of that. As this friend reported to me, Mr. Castro
        > Henriques replied with an emphatic "Yes," and illustrated it
        > mentioning Plato and other philosophers. Then my friend questioned
        > the identification of Voegelin himself as an actual philosopher, as
        > he happened not to be a "mystic", and he answered that my friend
        > was right, that EV was not a philosopher as defined in his own
        > terms, regardless of his merits.
        >
        > I would like to know what you think of that. Moreover, in case you
        > agree with Mr. Castro Henriques, how can order be engendered in our
        > civilization given the absence of those "mystics" or the little
        > importance they have nowadays? Also, as only the Orthodox and the
        > Catholic churches value those "mystics", or have a background in
        > which they were valued, can that order be brought back with the
        > current spread of Protestantism?
        >
        > Best regards,
        >
        > Ricardo Stuani
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > In consideratione creaturarum non est vana
        > et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
        > ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
        > �St Augustine De vera religioneYahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
      • Ricardo Stuani
        Dear Mr. Wagner, Thank you very much for the reply. ... not immanentizing the eschaton, either as a progressive or anything else... In fact, my question ( how
        Message 3 of 11 , May 2, 2008
          Dear Mr. Wagner,

          Thank you very much for the reply.

          You wrote:

          > 1. EV had no plan, program or prediction regarding the
          > restoration of order. He was describing how we got to be
          > where we are, not how to get to a good society. He was
          not immanentizing the eschaton, either as a progressive
          or anything else...

          In fact, my question ("how can order be engendered in our civilization
          given the absence of those "mystics" or the little importance they
          have nowadays?") was, if not a rhetorical one, just an attempt to
          understand how order is engendered in a civilization (or society). I
          might as well have asked "How is order engendered in a civilization or
          society without "mystics"?

          Just to illustrate: I have read Russell Kirk's "The Roots of American
          Order". There one can find a description of the influences that
          culminated in the American Order. Nonetheless, I could not see how
          those influences managed to "materialize" in the American individuals
          and institutions. How exactly were the seeds Greek philosophers sowed
          harvested 2 thousand years later? Kirk says the Greeks were decadent
          when Plato and Aristotle appeared, but that does not explain how
          Americans, a people without any mystics, were open to that order. How
          can that openness exist?

          > 2. EV was a mystic, or claimed he was, in private.
          > See my paper on EV and Christianity at:
          > http://www.fritzwagner.com/ev/ruminations_voegelin_and_christianity.html

          From your paper:

          "To me Eric Voegelin has always been an exemplary representative of
          rationality in the Greek sense, but when I argued that against a
          statement calling him a mystic philosopher he wrote back: 'This will
          shock you, but I am a mystic philosopher.'"

          Nonetheless, you had written:

          "But if we limit the name 'mystic' to those who have had an immediate
          experience of God, I don't know whether Voegelin should be included."

          That allows me to conclude that, despite his allegation, you are not
          convinced he was a mystic in the usual sense of the word. That is,
          that he either used the term "mystic philosopher" loosely or that he
          lied blatantly. I suppose you are more inclined to the former
          explanation, and so am I, which is a position that this transcription
          of an exchange between him and students, found in the same paper,
          seems to support:

          "E.V. [Students always ask the question:] Where do you get this Divine
          revelation? Where is the Divine presence? You are sitting here and
          asking questions. Why? Because you have that divine kinesis in you
          that moves you to be interested.:

          Q. Can't I just call it "interest?"

          E.V. You can call it interest, but it is the revelatory presence, of
          course, that pushes you or pulls you. It's there. We are talking."

          Maybe his "mysticism" is to be understood as something more ordinary.

          Best wishes,

          Caio
        • fjjwagner
          There is no such thing as the American Order. Everything the founders loved and implemented was British. This is set forth rather clearly in the History of
          Message 4 of 11 , May 2, 2008
            There is no such thing as the American Order. Everything the
            founders loved and implemented was British. This is set forth rather
            clearly in the History of Political Ideas, particularly CW 24 or 25,
            where EV notes the US bill of rights originated in England, etc. The
            US declaration of independence was borrowed in large measure from a
            protest presented to King Charles a century earlier, if I recall.

            Someone has suggested that the US Revolutionary War was really a
            civil war between English gentlemen who disagreed on taxation.

            In any event the conditions that existed at the time of the
            Revolutionary War were conducive to a gentlemanly society, and the
            fledgling nation managed to resist the machinations of the French
            Revolution to radicalized the US (Often referred to as the X-Y-Z
            affair, for the unnamed French agents-provacateur).

            Part of the social problem in the US today is the partial collapse of
            the English understanding due to radicalization of the intellectuals
            (a term EV used with acid sarcasm).

            On the mysticism question, it doesn't seem likely that EV was lying
            when he wrote to his close friend, Gregor Sebba. I suspect that most
            people think of mystics as people who are transported into the
            presence of God. Voegelin apparently meant something more
            attainable, as you suggest.

            Fritz Wagner

            On Fri, 2 May 2008 17:35:50 -0300, Ricardo Stuani wrote:
            > Dear Mr. Wagner,
            >
            > Thank you very much for the reply.
            >
            > You wrote:
            >
            >> 1. EV had no plan, program or prediction regarding the restoration
            >> of order. He was describing how we got to be where we are, not
            >> how to get to a good society. He was
            >>
            > not immanentizing the eschaton, either as a progressive or anything
            > else...
            >
            > In fact, my question ("how can order be engendered in our
            > civilization given the absence of those "mystics" or the little
            > importance they have nowadays?") was, if not a rhetorical one, just
            > an attempt to understand how order is engendered in a civilization
            > (or society). I might as well have asked "How is order engendered
            > in a civilization or society without "mystics"?
            >
            > Just to illustrate: I have read Russell Kirk's "The Roots of
            > American Order". There one can find a description of the influences
            > that culminated in the American Order. Nonetheless, I could not see
            > how those influences managed to "materialize" in the American
            > individuals and institutions. How exactly were the seeds Greek
            > philosophers sowed harvested 2 thousand years later? Kirk says the
            > Greeks were decadent when Plato and Aristotle appeared, but that
            > does not explain how Americans, a people without any mystics, were
            > open to that order. How can that openness exist?
            >
          • M.W. Poirier
            Concerning point no. 1 below: It seems to me that the stroke it too broad. There is certainly one thing that can be said, and it is that Voegelin recommended
            Message 5 of 11 , May 3, 2008
              Concerning point no. 1 below: It seems to me that the
              stroke it too broad. There is certainly one thing that
              can be said, and it is that Voegelin recommended that we
              avoid ideological thinking, which is a matter of no small
              consequence when we consider the role that ideological
              thinking plays these days.

              Maben W. Poirier

              ------
              On Fri, 2 May 2008, fjjwagner wrote:

              > I would make two brief comments in reply to this post which deserves
              > more than brevity:
              >
              > 1. EV had no plan, program or prediction regarding the
              > restoration of order. He was describing how we got to be
              > where we are, not how to get to a good society. He was
              > not immanentizing the eschaton, either as a progressive
              > or anything else. You can't, for instance, fix Brazil by using
              > Voegelin. Instead you must participate in politics and change
              > attitudes by being a principled and good man whom others will admire.
              >
              > 2. EV was a mystic, or claimed he was, in private.
              > See my paper on EV and Christianity at:
              > http://www.fritzwagner.com/ev/ruminations_voegelin_and_christianity.html
              >
              > Good luck,
              >
              > Fritz Wagner
              >
              > On Fri, 2 May 2008 14:28:36 -0300, Ricardo Stuani wrote:
              >> Dear list members,
              >>
              >>
              >> This is Ricardo Stuani, from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
              >>
              >> I'm really pleased to become a member of this list after having
              >> read its content with great interest for more than 2 years. During
              >> this time I have also read some of EV's works, articles and books
              >> based upon him or analyzing his contribution. This process has
              >> culminated in some questions in whose clarification I would
              >> appreciate your input.
              >>
              >> What did EV conceive as the necessary conditions to (re)engender
              >> order?
              >>
              >> He said:
              >>
              >> http://watershade.net/ev/ev-a.html
              >>
              >> "Simply reversing the rebellion will not be successful. The
              >> rebellion has accomplished the good of breaking the domination of
              >> the former orthodoxies. The attempt to return to the former
              >> orthodoxy is a 'secondary ideology', using symbols of 'tradition'
              >> and 'conservatism.' Lacking noetic clarification, such efforts lack
              >> conviction in their debate with ideologies."
              >>
              >>
              >> I assume this "noetic clarification" is the result of the "noetic
              >> differentiation" Michael P. Federici identifies as essential,
              >> according to Voegelin, to the recovery of order.
              >> Still taking into consideration what Federici says in his "Eric
              >> Voegelin," the aforementioned differentiation is what tells a
              >> "philosopher" apart from a "philodoxer."
              >>
              >>
              >> As I understand from what I have read by and on EV, that
              >> differentiation comes from direct experience with the ground of
              >> being, which does not result from "mere" speculation, but from
              >> "contemplative practices" typical of the "mystics" from different
              >> religions, as has apparently been the case of both Plato and
              >> Aristotle, among others.
              >>
              >>
              >> I had been discussing that with a friend of mine, who is also
              >> interested in EV, when he had the chance to ask Mendo Castro
              >> Henriques, a Portuguese scholar who studied under EV, what he
              >> thought of that. As this friend reported to me, Mr. Castro
              >> Henriques replied with an emphatic "Yes," and illustrated it
              >> mentioning Plato and other philosophers. Then my friend questioned
              >> the identification of Voegelin himself as an actual philosopher, as
              >> he happened not to be a "mystic", and he answered that my friend
              >> was right, that EV was not a philosopher as defined in his own
              >> terms, regardless of his merits.
              >>
              >> I would like to know what you think of that. Moreover, in case you
              >> agree with Mr. Castro Henriques, how can order be engendered in our
              >> civilization given the absence of those "mystics" or the little
              >> importance they have nowadays? Also, as only the Orthodox and the
              >> Catholic churches value those "mystics", or have a background in
              >> which they were valued, can that order be brought back with the
              >> current spread of Protestantism?
              >>
              >> Best regards,
              >>
              >> Ricardo Stuani
              >>
              >>
              >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >>
              >>
              >> ------------------------------------
              >>
              >> In consideratione creaturarum non est vana
              >> et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
              >> ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
              >> —St Augustine De vera religioneYahoo! Groups Links
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > In consideratione creaturarum non est vana
              > et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
              > ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
              > —St Augustine De vera religioneYahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Ricardo Stuani
              ... If the adjective American in American Order is to be understood as referring to the very origin of that order, your statement cannot be disputed
              Message 6 of 11 , May 3, 2008
                Mr. Wagner:

                > There is no such thing as the American Order. Everything the
                > founders loved and implemented was British...

                If the adjective "American" in "American Order" is to be understood as
                referring to the very origin of that order, your statement cannot be
                disputed (neither would Kirk, as I will show below), but it may also
                be used to refer to where that order is found, which is obviously what
                Kirk had in mind. Quoting from page 6 of his aforesaid book:

                "Seeking the roots of order, we are led to four cities; Jerusalem,
                Athens, Rome and London... [T]he order which Americans experience is
                derived from the experience of those four old cities."

                Also, starting on page 5:

                "We examine, successively, the legacy of order received from the
                Hebrews; from the classical culture of the Greeks and the Romans, from
                the medieval world and the age of the Reformation, particularly in
                Britain; fropm the turbulent civilization of the seventeenth century;
                and from America's colonial experience."


                Regardless of the above, I would like to confirm what seems to be
                implicit in your reply: did you mean that "order" could not grow had
                Christianity, or at least English Christianity, always been
                Protestant, as is the case of "mainstream" American Christianity, due
                to its rejection of Christian mysticism?

                Best regards,

                Ricardo Stuani
              • fjjwagner
                I can t argue with what has been said so far as it goes. I think perhaps that the American experience arises from particular protestant attitudes and for that
                Message 7 of 11 , May 3, 2008
                  I can't argue with what has been said so far as it goes.

                  I think perhaps that the American experience arises from
                  particular protestant attitudes and for that reason one
                  cannot expect a Catholic country to emulate the US beyond,
                  perhaps, institutional structures.

                  As for Russell Kirk. I would say he is one step removed from the
                  level of inquiry that Voegelin undertook, and while Kirk embraced
                  Voegelin, Voegelin maintained a reserve about Kirk, whom he likely
                  considered a high level conservative journalist rather than a
                  thinker. Voegelin's early view of Kirk, in the 1950's, was quite
                  hostile; later, in the 1970's he was quite considerate after reading
                  one of Kirk's books; but late on he found something Kirk
                  apparently said rather annoying.

                  The foregoing is based on three letters and I will quote from
                  each, because they are both apt and witty:

                  1. Letter to Robert B Heilman dated Dec 19, 1955:

                  Dear Bob:
                  [This first paragraph is irrelevant but I left it in because of the
                  stylistic illiterates who assault us daily.]
                  "Your letter of Dec. 11th came just in time this morning, for I wanted
                  to write you today anyway to thank you for the delightful review of
                  _Critics and Criticism_. It had thrown me into a mood of indecision,
                  because your refined politeness left me in doubt whether I should not
                  read the volume, because literary criticism is after all one of my
                  permanent occupations. But your letter determined me to shelve the
                  ordeal, unless I receive orders from you to the contrary. Especially I
                  was impressed by your quotation from one of the gentlemen—I had
                  thought that sort of circumlocutory heaviness was a German privilege,
                  and now I find to my horror that the Americans (or at least the
                  Chicagonistai [sic]) are even better at it. What are we coming to!

                  "And that brings me to the Conservatives who have my loving attention.
                  As far as I can understand the odd animal that goes under the name of
                  the American political intellectual at all, nothing exciting or
                  serious is happening. There is no philosophical understanding of
                  political problems, for the good reason that the persons engaged in
                  the game have never received any technical training in such matters,
                  or acquired their knowledge auto-didactically. Probably not a single
                  one of them has ever worried about the problem of unanalyzed concepts,
                  or about the methods which must be used in the critical construction
                  of a concept. I am even fairly sure that you would meet a blank stare,
                  if you would challenge them with a question of this kind.

                  "No, I think this is just another 'pas' in the elephantine ballet of
                  semi-conscious rhetoric that accompanies the movement of the great
                  republic through the vicissitudes of history. This kind of
                  intellectualism differs from the European insofar as it is solid
                  American evangelism and revivalism transposed into the secular key. It
                  is related to European sophistry, from the enlightenment and
                  conservatism of the eighteenth century to the Marxism and theologism
                  of our time, through the use of the same ideological symbols, but it
                  does not seriously overstep the conditions on which the American
                  Republic was founded—so that the Marxists become New Dealers and the
                  Karl Barths become Reinhold Niebuhrs.

                  "How long this somnolent concern with serious matters can <survive>
                  under the pressures of the age is another question, but for the time
                  being I see the American style characteristics continu[ing], as for
                  instance in the decadic emergence of intellectual pontiffs: [H. L. ]
                  Mencken of the 20's; Max Lerner of the 30's; Reinhold Niebuhr of the
                  40's; and now probably a Russell Kirk of the 50's. The conservative
                  50's are still of the same genus as the gay 90's. —The personnel of
                  the Conservatives is indeed dubious, as you say; but I wonder whether
                  it is really more dubious than the [Max] Lerners and [Frederick Lewis]
                  Schumans—the extra ounce of disgust is perhaps caused by the
                  inevitable disadvantage under which a conservative ideology labors:
                  that it appears to stifle growth by principle, while the liberals at
                  least in appearance want to go ahead.

                  "At bottom, of course, both have broken with the reality of existence
                  in the present; neither of them can face the facts of life. —But don't
                  take too seriously what I say, for I have no well-founded knowledge of
                  these things. I don't read this type of literature, because the
                  authors are no partners in a discussion; these things are only an
                  object of investigation, and at the moment I have not much time for
                  them. . . ."

                  Robert B. Heilman and Eric Voegelin
                  A Friendship in Letters, 1944-1984,
                  With a Humble Request
                  57. [Baton Rouge, ] December 19, 1955,
                  pp 142-143.
                  Also reprinted in
                  CW 30
                  Selected Correspondence, 1950-1984
                  Letters from the 1950s
                  106. December 19, 1955
                  pp 257-261
                  [Hmm. Thomas Hollweck liked it enough to print it again.
                  This is a very dated, reactionary conservatism being criticised
                  here.]

                  2. Letter to Russell Kirk dated April 27, 1970:

                  April 27, 1970

                  Mr. Russell Kirk

                  Dear Russell:

                  "It is quite a few weeks ago that I have received your _Enemies of
                  the Permanent Things_. I wanted to read it before I answered you,
                  and the reading was delayed by all sorts of lectures I had to give and
                  articles I had to write. But, at last, I have been able to read at
                  least most of it.

                  "Needless to say that I am greatly impressed by the range of your
                  analysis. The organization in the two parts on norms of literature
                  and norms of politics is excellent, because it gives you access to
                  the problems through the study of literature which, indeed, gives us
                  more information on the questions of human existence than do the
                  political writings. Specifically, it gives you the occasion for using
                  T. S. Eliot's 'permanent things' as a title. In the chapter you
                  devoted to my own work I see a heroic attempt to make my intentions
                  more intelligible to a larger audience. The specification between
                  philosophers and philodoxers should, indeed, find wider currency
                  With many thanks for your kindness, I am,

                  Yours sincerely,
                  Eric Voegelin"

                  P. S. Perhaps you will be interested in the enclosed photocopy of a
                  study on Hegel [1], which is supposed to be published towards the end
                  of this year in the STUDIUM GENERALE.

                  1. "On Hegel: A Study in Sorcery" is in CW, 12: 213-25.

                  CW 30
                  Selected Correspondence, 1950-1984
                  Letters from the 1970s
                  343. April 17,1970
                  pp 649-650


                  3. Letter to John East dated July 18, 1977:

                  479. To John East

                  18. July 1977

                  Dear Professor East:

                  I am delighted to learn that your extensive work on the article
                  for Modern Ages is drawing to its end.

                  Regarding your questions:

                  1. The lecture at Hillsdale college is not written out. I am always
                  giving lectures freely from a synopsis.

                  2. The "pre-Reformation Christian" is a joke. I never have written any
                  such thing. These canards arise because I frequently have to
                  ward off people who want to "classify" me. When somebody wants
                  me to be a Catholic or a Protestant, I tell him that I am a "pre-
                  Reformation Christian." If he wants to nail me down as a Thomist
                  or Augustinian, I tell him I am a "pre-Nicene Christian." And if he
                  wants to nail me down earlier, I tell him that even Mary the Virgin
                  was not a member of the Catholic Church. I have quite a number
                  of such stock answers for people who pester me after a lecture;
                  and then they get talked around as authentic information on my
                  "position. " I don't know where Russell Kirk got his information.

                  With all good wishes

                  Yours sincerely,
                  Eric Voegelin

                  CW 30
                  Selected Correspondence, 1950-1984
                  Letters from the 1970s
                  479. July 18,1977
                  p 825

                  These letters tell us more than a little about Voegelin as a person
                  and his attitude toward mediocrity, falsity and stupidity. Pretty
                  entertaining stuff, too! Nice to have at hand a copy of CW 30. I
                  don't think he had anything against Russell Kirk but I don't sense
                  that they could have been equal "partners in a discussion."

                  Cordially,

                  Fritz Wagner


                  On Sat, 3 May 2008 11:24:18 -0300, Ricardo Stuani wrote:
                  > Mr. Wagner:
                  >
                  >> There is no such thing as the American Order. Everything the
                  >> founders loved and implemented was British...
                  >>
                  >
                  > If the adjective "American" in "American Order" is to be understood
                  > as referring to the very origin of that order, your statement
                  > cannot be disputed (neither would Kirk, as I will show below), but
                  > it may also be used to refer to where that order is found, which is
                  > obviously what Kirk had in mind. Quoting from page 6 of his
                  > aforesaid book:
                  >
                  > "Seeking the roots of order, we are led to four cities; Jerusalem,
                  > Athens, Rome and London... [T]he order which Americans experience
                  > is derived from the experience of those four old cities."
                  >
                  > Also, starting on page 5:
                  >
                  > "We examine, successively, the legacy of order received from the
                  > Hebrews; from the classical culture of the Greeks and the Romans,
                  > from the medieval world and the age of the Reformation,
                  > particularly in Britain; fropm the turbulent civilization of the
                  > seventeenth century; and from America's colonial experience."
                  >
                  >
                  > Regardless of the above, I would like to confirm what seems to be
                  > implicit in your reply: did you mean that "order" could not grow
                  > had Christianity, or at least English Christianity, always been
                  > Protestant, as is the case of "mainstream" American Christianity,
                  > due to its rejection of Christian mysticism?
                  >
                  > Best regards,
                  >
                  > Ricardo Stuani
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  >
                • von Heyking, John
                  In the 1955 letter to Heilman, Voegelin writes: so that the Marxists become New Dealers and the Karl Barths become Reinhold Niebuhrs. I don t know enough
                  Message 8 of 11 , May 4, 2008
                    In the 1955 letter to Heilman, Voegelin writes:

                    "so that the Marxists become New Dealers and the
                    Karl Barths become Reinhold Niebuhrs."

                    I don't know enough about Barth to understand this comparison. Can someone explain this to me?

                    JvH

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: evforum@yahoogroups.com on behalf of fjjwagner
                    Sent: Sat 5/3/2008 12:20 PM
                    To: evforum@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: [evforum] Voegelin's own letters on Russell Kirk [Was:Re: VOEGELIN AND THE PHILOSOPHER; ]

                    I can't argue with what has been said so far as it goes.

                    I think perhaps that the American experience arises from
                    particular protestant attitudes and for that reason one
                    cannot expect a Catholic country to emulate the US beyond,
                    perhaps, institutional structures.

                    As for Russell Kirk. I would say he is one step removed from the
                    level of inquiry that Voegelin undertook, and while Kirk embraced
                    Voegelin, Voegelin maintained a reserve about Kirk, whom he likely
                    considered a high level conservative journalist rather than a
                    thinker. Voegelin's early view of Kirk, in the 1950's, was quite
                    hostile; later, in the 1970's he was quite considerate after reading
                    one of Kirk's books; but late on he found something Kirk
                    apparently said rather annoying.

                    The foregoing is based on three letters and I will quote from
                    each, because they are both apt and witty:

                    1. Letter to Robert B Heilman dated Dec 19, 1955:

                    Dear Bob:
                    [This first paragraph is irrelevant but I left it in because of the
                    stylistic illiterates who assault us daily.]
                    "Your letter of Dec. 11th came just in time this morning, for I wanted
                    to write you today anyway to thank you for the delightful review of
                    _Critics and Criticism_. It had thrown me into a mood of indecision,
                    because your refined politeness left me in doubt whether I should not
                    read the volume, because literary criticism is after all one of my
                    permanent occupations. But your letter determined me to shelve the
                    ordeal, unless I receive orders from you to the contrary. Especially I
                    was impressed by your quotation from one of the gentlemen-I had
                    thought that sort of circumlocutory heaviness was a German privilege,
                    and now I find to my horror that the Americans (or at least the
                    Chicagonistai [sic]) are even better at it. What are we coming to!

                    "And that brings me to the Conservatives who have my loving attention.
                    As far as I can understand the odd animal that goes under the name of
                    the American political intellectual at all, nothing exciting or
                    serious is happening. There is no philosophical understanding of
                    political problems, for the good reason that the persons engaged in
                    the game have never received any technical training in such matters,
                    or acquired their knowledge auto-didactically. Probably not a single
                    one of them has ever worried about the problem of unanalyzed concepts,
                    or about the methods which must be used in the critical construction
                    of a concept. I am even fairly sure that you would meet a blank stare,
                    if you would challenge them with a question of this kind.

                    "No, I think this is just another 'pas' in the elephantine ballet of
                    semi-conscious rhetoric that accompanies the movement of the great
                    republic through the vicissitudes of history. This kind of
                    intellectualism differs from the European insofar as it is solid
                    American evangelism and revivalism transposed into the secular key. It
                    is related to European sophistry, from the enlightenment and
                    conservatism of the eighteenth century to the Marxism and theologism
                    of our time, through the use of the same ideological symbols, but it
                    does not seriously overstep the conditions on which the American
                    Republic was founded-so that the Marxists become New Dealers and the
                    Karl Barths become Reinhold Niebuhrs.

                    "How long this somnolent concern with serious matters can <survive>
                    under the pressures of the age is another question, but for the time
                    being I see the American style characteristics continu[ing], as for
                    instance in the decadic emergence of intellectual pontiffs: [H. L. ]
                    Mencken of the 20's; Max Lerner of the 30's; Reinhold Niebuhr of the
                    40's; and now probably a Russell Kirk of the 50's. The conservative
                    50's are still of the same genus as the gay 90's. -The personnel of
                    the Conservatives is indeed dubious, as you say; but I wonder whether
                    it is really more dubious than the [Max] Lerners and [Frederick Lewis]
                    Schumans-the extra ounce of disgust is perhaps caused by the
                    inevitable disadvantage under which a conservative ideology labors:
                    that it appears to stifle growth by principle, while the liberals at
                    least in appearance want to go ahead.

                    "At bottom, of course, both have broken with the reality of existence
                    in the present; neither of them can face the facts of life. -But don't
                    take too seriously what I say, for I have no well-founded knowledge of
                    these things. I don't read this type of literature, because the
                    authors are no partners in a discussion; these things are only an
                    object of investigation, and at the moment I have not much time for
                    them. . . ."

                    Robert B. Heilman and Eric Voegelin
                    A Friendship in Letters, 1944-1984,
                    With a Humble Request
                    57. [Baton Rouge, ] December 19, 1955,
                    pp 142-143.
                    Also reprinted in
                    CW 30
                    Selected Correspondence, 1950-1984
                    Letters from the 1950s
                    106. December 19, 1955
                    pp 257-261
                    [Hmm. Thomas Hollweck liked it enough to print it again.
                    This is a very dated, reactionary conservatism being criticised
                    here.]

                    2. Letter to Russell Kirk dated April 27, 1970:

                    April 27, 1970

                    Mr. Russell Kirk

                    Dear Russell:

                    "It is quite a few weeks ago that I have received your _Enemies of
                    the Permanent Things_. I wanted to read it before I answered you,
                    and the reading was delayed by all sorts of lectures I had to give and
                    articles I had to write. But, at last, I have been able to read at
                    least most of it.

                    "Needless to say that I am greatly impressed by the range of your
                    analysis. The organization in the two parts on norms of literature
                    and norms of politics is excellent, because it gives you access to
                    the problems through the study of literature which, indeed, gives us
                    more information on the questions of human existence than do the
                    political writings. Specifically, it gives you the occasion for using
                    T. S. Eliot's 'permanent things' as a title. In the chapter you
                    devoted to my own work I see a heroic attempt to make my intentions
                    more intelligible to a larger audience. The specification between
                    philosophers and philodoxers should, indeed, find wider currency
                    With many thanks for your kindness, I am,

                    Yours sincerely,
                    Eric Voegelin"

                    P. S. Perhaps you will be interested in the enclosed photocopy of a
                    study on Hegel [1], which is supposed to be published towards the end
                    of this year in the STUDIUM GENERALE.

                    1. "On Hegel: A Study in Sorcery" is in CW, 12: 213-25.

                    CW 30
                    Selected Correspondence, 1950-1984
                    Letters from the 1970s
                    343. April 17,1970
                    pp 649-650


                    3. Letter to John East dated July 18, 1977:

                    479. To John East

                    18. July 1977

                    Dear Professor East:

                    I am delighted to learn that your extensive work on the article
                    for Modern Ages is drawing to its end.

                    Regarding your questions:

                    1. The lecture at Hillsdale college is not written out. I am always
                    giving lectures freely from a synopsis.

                    2. The "pre-Reformation Christian" is a joke. I never have written any
                    such thing. These canards arise because I frequently have to
                    ward off people who want to "classify" me. When somebody wants
                    me to be a Catholic or a Protestant, I tell him that I am a "pre-
                    Reformation Christian." If he wants to nail me down as a Thomist
                    or Augustinian, I tell him I am a "pre-Nicene Christian." And if he
                    wants to nail me down earlier, I tell him that even Mary the Virgin
                    was not a member of the Catholic Church. I have quite a number
                    of such stock answers for people who pester me after a lecture;
                    and then they get talked around as authentic information on my
                    "position. " I don't know where Russell Kirk got his information.

                    With all good wishes

                    Yours sincerely,
                    Eric Voegelin

                    CW 30
                    Selected Correspondence, 1950-1984
                    Letters from the 1970s
                    479. July 18,1977
                    p 825

                    These letters tell us more than a little about Voegelin as a person
                    and his attitude toward mediocrity, falsity and stupidity. Pretty
                    entertaining stuff, too! Nice to have at hand a copy of CW 30. I
                    don't think he had anything against Russell Kirk but I don't sense
                    that they could have been equal "partners in a discussion."

                    Cordially,

                    Fritz Wagner


                    On Sat, 3 May 2008 11:24:18 -0300, Ricardo Stuani wrote:
                    > Mr. Wagner:
                    >
                    >> There is no such thing as the American Order. Everything the
                    >> founders loved and implemented was British...
                    >>
                    >
                    > If the adjective "American" in "American Order" is to be understood
                    > as referring to the very origin of that order, your statement
                    > cannot be disputed (neither would Kirk, as I will show below), but
                    > it may also be used to refer to where that order is found, which is
                    > obviously what Kirk had in mind. Quoting from page 6 of his
                    > aforesaid book:
                    >
                    > "Seeking the roots of order, we are led to four cities; Jerusalem,
                    > Athens, Rome and London... [T]he order which Americans experience
                    > is derived from the experience of those four old cities."
                    >
                    > Also, starting on page 5:
                    >
                    > "We examine, successively, the legacy of order received from the
                    > Hebrews; from the classical culture of the Greeks and the Romans,
                    > from the medieval world and the age of the Reformation,
                    > particularly in Britain; fropm the turbulent civilization of the
                    > seventeenth century; and from America's colonial experience."
                    >
                    >
                    > Regardless of the above, I would like to confirm what seems to be
                    > implicit in your reply: did you mean that "order" could not grow
                    > had Christianity, or at least English Christianity, always been
                    > Protestant, as is the case of "mainstream" American Christianity,
                    > due to its rejection of Christian mysticism?
                    >
                    > Best regards,
                    >
                    > Ricardo Stuani
                    >
                    > ------------------------------------
                    >





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Cheek, Lee
                    Two comments are in order: 1) John s question is most interesting. I think EV was describing a declension in the formulation of theological and political
                    Message 9 of 11 , May 4, 2008
                      Two comments are in order:



                      1) John's question is most interesting. I think EV was describing a declension in the formulation of theological and political thought, from a Barthian mode (and Barth was perhaps the most important theologian of the 20th century) to a more unadorned and less "differentiated" mode as represented by Niebuhr. It might be worthwhile to explore EV's understanding of the diverse life (including long periods of time as parish clergymen) and scholarly contribution of the the Niebuhrs and their epigones.



                      2) Mr. Wagner seriously misrepresents the scholarly contribution of Russell Kirk. To call Kirk a "journalist" is to underestimate Kirk's many scholarly efforts. He was a man of letters and an historian, so any comparison with EV has to include a number of considerations Wagner does not contemplate.



                      Secondly, EV's major concern was (as he wrote to his friend Francis Graham Wilson in the same year of the letter in Wagner's quoted missive) to influence the "professional public" [Voegelin to Wilson, 15 July 1953, Wilson Papers, University of Illinois Archives]. Kirk attempted to write to for many audiences. His _Conservative Mind_ (1953) is a work of great erudition, and this could also be said of other Kirk efforts.



                      Lee Cheek



                      H. Lee Cheek, Jr., Ph.D., Chair
                      Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences;
                      Professor of Political Science and Philosophy
                      Brewton-Parker College, #2009
                      P. O. Box 197/ 201 David-Eliza Fountain Circle
                      Mt. Vernon, GA 30445
                      912.583.3151; Fax: 912.583.4498
                      Email: lcheek@... <mailto:lcheek@...>
                      http://www.drleecheek.com <http://www.drleecheek.com/>
                      http://www.bpc.edu/socscience/index.htm <http://www.bpc.edu/socscience/index.htm>
                      <http://www.francisgrahamwilson.com/>

                      <http://www.bpc.edu/socscience/index.htm>

                      ________________________________

                      From: evforum@yahoogroups.com on behalf of von Heyking, John
                      Sent: Sun 5/4/2008 10:37 AM
                      To: evforum@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: RE: [evforum] Voegelin's own letters on Russell Kirk [Was:Re: VOEGELIN AND THE PHILOSOPHER; ]



                      In the 1955 letter to Heilman, Voegelin writes:

                      "so that the Marxists become New Dealers and the
                      Karl Barths become Reinhold Niebuhrs."

                      I don't know enough about Barth to understand this comparison. Can someone explain this to me?

                      JvH

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: evforum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:evforum%40yahoogroups.com> on behalf of fjjwagner
                      Sent: Sat 5/3/2008 12:20 PM
                      To: evforum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:evforum%40yahoogroups.com>
                      Subject: [evforum] Voegelin's own letters on Russell Kirk [Was:Re: VOEGELIN AND THE PHILOSOPHER; ]

                      I can't argue with what has been said so far as it goes.

                      I think perhaps that the American experience arises from
                      particular protestant attitudes and for that reason one
                      cannot expect a Catholic country to emulate the US beyond,
                      perhaps, institutional structures.

                      As for Russell Kirk. I would say he is one step removed from the
                      level of inquiry that Voegelin undertook, and while Kirk embraced
                      Voegelin, Voegelin maintained a reserve about Kirk, whom he likely
                      considered a high level conservative journalist rather than a
                      thinker. Voegelin's early view of Kirk, in the 1950's, was quite
                      hostile; later, in the 1970's he was quite considerate after reading
                      one of Kirk's books; but late on he found something Kirk
                      apparently said rather annoying.

                      The foregoing is based on three letters and I will quote from
                      each, because they are both apt and witty:

                      1. Letter to Robert B Heilman dated Dec 19, 1955:

                      Dear Bob:
                      [This first paragraph is irrelevant but I left it in because of the
                      stylistic illiterates who assault us daily.]
                      "Your letter of Dec. 11th came just in time this morning, for I wanted
                      to write you today anyway to thank you for the delightful review of
                      _Critics and Criticism_. It had thrown me into a mood of indecision,
                      because your refined politeness left me in doubt whether I should not
                      read the volume, because literary criticism is after all one of my
                      permanent occupations. But your letter determined me to shelve the
                      ordeal, unless I receive orders from you to the contrary. Especially I
                      was impressed by your quotation from one of the gentlemen-I had
                      thought that sort of circumlocutory heaviness was a German privilege,
                      and now I find to my horror that the Americans (or at least the
                      Chicagonistai [sic]) are even better at it. What are we coming to!

                      "And that brings me to the Conservatives who have my loving attention.
                      As far as I can understand the odd animal that goes under the name of
                      the American political intellectual at all, nothing exciting or
                      serious is happening. There is no philosophical understanding of
                      political problems, for the good reason that the persons engaged in
                      the game have never received any technical training in such matters,
                      or acquired their knowledge auto-didactically. Probably not a single
                      one of them has ever worried about the problem of unanalyzed concepts,
                      or about the methods which must be used in the critical construction
                      of a concept. I am even fairly sure that you would meet a blank stare,
                      if you would challenge them with a question of this kind.

                      "No, I think this is just another 'pas' in the elephantine ballet of
                      semi-conscious rhetoric that accompanies the movement of the great
                      republic through the vicissitudes of history. This kind of
                      intellectualism differs from the European insofar as it is solid
                      American evangelism and revivalism transposed into the secular key. It
                      is related to European sophistry, from the enlightenment and
                      conservatism of the eighteenth century to the Marxism and theologism
                      of our time, through the use of the same ideological symbols, but it
                      does not seriously overstep the conditions on which the American
                      Republic was founded-so that the Marxists become New Dealers and the
                      Karl Barths become Reinhold Niebuhrs.

                      "How long this somnolent concern with serious matters can <survive>
                      under the pressures of the age is another question, but for the time
                      being I see the American style characteristics continu[ing], as for
                      instance in the decadic emergence of intellectual pontiffs: [H. L. ]
                      Mencken of the 20's; Max Lerner of the 30's; Reinhold Niebuhr of the
                      40's; and now probably a Russell Kirk of the 50's. The conservative
                      50's are still of the same genus as the gay 90's. -The personnel of
                      the Conservatives is indeed dubious, as you say; but I wonder whether
                      it is really more dubious than the [Max] Lerners and [Frederick Lewis]
                      Schumans-the extra ounce of disgust is perhaps caused by the
                      inevitable disadvantage under which a conservative ideology labors:
                      that it appears to stifle growth by principle, while the liberals at
                      least in appearance want to go ahead.

                      "At bottom, of course, both have broken with the reality of existence
                      in the present; neither of them can face the facts of life. -But don't
                      take too seriously what I say, for I have no well-founded knowledge of
                      these things. I don't read this type of literature, because the
                      authors are no partners in a discussion; these things are only an
                      object of investigation, and at the moment I have not much time for
                      them. . . ."

                      Robert B. Heilman and Eric Voegelin
                      A Friendship in Letters, 1944-1984,
                      With a Humble Request
                      57. [Baton Rouge, ] December 19, 1955,
                      pp 142-143.
                      Also reprinted in
                      CW 30
                      Selected Correspondence, 1950-1984
                      Letters from the 1950s
                      106. December 19, 1955
                      pp 257-261
                      [Hmm. Thomas Hollweck liked it enough to print it again.
                      This is a very dated, reactionary conservatism being criticised
                      here.]

                      2. Letter to Russell Kirk dated April 27, 1970:

                      April 27, 1970

                      Mr. Russell Kirk

                      Dear Russell:

                      "It is quite a few weeks ago that I have received your _Enemies of
                      the Permanent Things_. I wanted to read it before I answered you,
                      and the reading was delayed by all sorts of lectures I had to give and
                      articles I had to write. But, at last, I have been able to read at
                      least most of it.

                      "Needless to say that I am greatly impressed by the range of your
                      analysis. The organization in the two parts on norms of literature
                      and norms of politics is excellent, because it gives you access to
                      the problems through the study of literature which, indeed, gives us
                      more information on the questions of human existence than do the
                      political writings. Specifically, it gives you the occasion for using
                      T. S. Eliot's 'permanent things' as a title. In the chapter you
                      devoted to my own work I see a heroic attempt to make my intentions
                      more intelligible to a larger audience. The specification between
                      philosophers and philodoxers should, indeed, find wider currency
                      With many thanks for your kindness, I am,

                      Yours sincerely,
                      Eric Voegelin"

                      P. S. Perhaps you will be interested in the enclosed photocopy of a
                      study on Hegel [1], which is supposed to be published towards the end
                      of this year in the STUDIUM GENERALE.

                      1. "On Hegel: A Study in Sorcery" is in CW, 12: 213-25.

                      CW 30
                      Selected Correspondence, 1950-1984
                      Letters from the 1970s
                      343. April 17,1970
                      pp 649-650

                      3. Letter to John East dated July 18, 1977:

                      479. To John East

                      18. July 1977

                      Dear Professor East:

                      I am delighted to learn that your extensive work on the article
                      for Modern Ages is drawing to its end.

                      Regarding your questions:

                      1. The lecture at Hillsdale college is not written out. I am always
                      giving lectures freely from a synopsis.

                      2. The "pre-Reformation Christian" is a joke. I never have written any
                      such thing. These canards arise because I frequently have to
                      ward off people who want to "classify" me. When somebody wants
                      me to be a Catholic or a Protestant, I tell him that I am a "pre-
                      Reformation Christian." If he wants to nail me down as a Thomist
                      or Augustinian, I tell him I am a "pre-Nicene Christian." And if he
                      wants to nail me down earlier, I tell him that even Mary the Virgin
                      was not a member of the Catholic Church. I have quite a number
                      of such stock answers for people who pester me after a lecture;
                      and then they get talked around as authentic information on my
                      "position. " I don't know where Russell Kirk got his information.

                      With all good wishes

                      Yours sincerely,
                      Eric Voegelin

                      CW 30
                      Selected Correspondence, 1950-1984
                      Letters from the 1970s
                      479. July 18,1977
                      p 825

                      These letters tell us more than a little about Voegelin as a person
                      and his attitude toward mediocrity, falsity and stupidity. Pretty
                      entertaining stuff, too! Nice to have at hand a copy of CW 30. I
                      don't think he had anything against Russell Kirk but I don't sense
                      that they could have been equal "partners in a discussion."

                      Cordially,

                      Fritz Wagner

                      On Sat, 3 May 2008 11:24:18 -0300, Ricardo Stuani wrote:
                      > Mr. Wagner:
                      >
                      >> There is no such thing as the American Order. Everything the
                      >> founders loved and implemented was British...
                      >>
                      >
                      > If the adjective "American" in "American Order" is to be understood
                      > as referring to the very origin of that order, your statement
                      > cannot be disputed (neither would Kirk, as I will show below), but
                      > it may also be used to refer to where that order is found, which is
                      > obviously what Kirk had in mind. Quoting from page 6 of his
                      > aforesaid book:
                      >
                      > "Seeking the roots of order, we are led to four cities; Jerusalem,
                      > Athens, Rome and London... [T]he order which Americans experience
                      > is derived from the experience of those four old cities."
                      >
                      > Also, starting on page 5:
                      >
                      > "We examine, successively, the legacy of order received from the
                      > Hebrews; from the classical culture of the Greeks and the Romans,
                      > from the medieval world and the age of the Reformation,
                      > particularly in Britain; fropm the turbulent civilization of the
                      > seventeenth century; and from America's colonial experience."
                      >
                      >
                      > Regardless of the above, I would like to confirm what seems to be
                      > implicit in your reply: did you mean that "order" could not grow
                      > had Christianity, or at least English Christianity, always been
                      > Protestant, as is the case of "mainstream" American Christianity,
                      > due to its rejection of Christian mysticism?
                      >
                      > Best regards,
                      >
                      > Ricardo Stuani
                      >
                      > ------------------------------------
                      >

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Larry Chappell
                      Voegelin s few comments on Reinhold Niebuhr are usually negative, but I know of no extended commentary on his work. His comments about H. Richard Niebuhr are
                      Message 10 of 11 , May 4, 2008
                        Voegelin's few comments on Reinhold Niebuhr are usually negative, but
                        I know of no extended commentary on his work. His comments about H.
                        Richard Niebuhr are uniformly positive & Voegelin cites his work "the
                        Meaning of Revelation" as an important influence on his own thinking.

                        The question of Barth's relationship with Voegelin fascinates me, but
                        there is little to go on. He clearly respected Barth and requested a
                        meeting with him while writing OH 1. He was impressed with Barth's
                        willingnes to reach across the Protestant/ Catholic divide by
                        remarking on the need for something like a "Mariology" in Protestant
                        thought. Barth's sense of God as "Wholly Other" surely leaves a void
                        that Voegelin hoped to fill by symbolizing the human/divine encounter
                        as a "partnership in being." Voegelin seemed pleased with the
                        conversation while noting Barth's Calvinism as a barrier to open
                        discussion.

                        When I was reading Mark Lilla's "The Stillborn God" I was struck by
                        the closeness of Lilla's account of Barth's famous reading of "Romans"
                        to much of Voegelin's philosophical theology. The common commitment to
                        negative theology is obvious. I was also struck by the fact recounted
                        by Lilla that Barth later recanted the "Gnostic" elements of the book.
                        (I am re-reading Barth's book now as I find some time.)

                        -- In evforum@yahoogroups.com, "Cheek, Lee" <lcheek@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Two comments are in order:
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > 1) John's question is most interesting. I think EV was describing a
                        declension in the formulation of theological and political thought,
                        from a Barthian mode (and Barth was perhaps the most important
                        theologian of the 20th century) to a more unadorned and less
                        "differentiated" mode as represented by Niebuhr. It might be
                        worthwhile to explore EV's understanding of the diverse life
                        (including long periods of time as parish clergymen) and scholarly
                        contribution of the the Niebuhrs and their epigones.
                      • Frederick Wagner
                        Prof. Cheek possibly misreads my comments which are attached below. I was attempting to report what Voegelin thought, not what I thought. I read Russell Kirk
                        Message 11 of 11 , May 5, 2008
                          Prof. Cheek possibly misreads my comments which are attached below. I was attempting to report what Voegelin thought, not what I thought. I read Russell Kirk in the 1950's when he was virtually the only voice of rationality in an ideologial desert. Kirk was all we had in those days and he opened the path for us to the almost forgotten thinkers who had been submerged by the tide of positivistic thought and public idiocy. I also subscribed to his "Reason" magazine. The Conservative Mind is the first book of its kind that I read. I remember when my best friend insisted I "must" read it. I shall always be grateful to Russell Kirk.

                          Cordially,
                          Fritz Wagner

                          "Cheek, Lee" <lcheek@...> wrote:
                          Two comments are in order:

                          2) Mr. Wagner seriously misrepresents the scholarly contribution of Russell Kirk. To call Kirk a "journalist" is to underestimate Kirk's many scholarly efforts. He was a man of letters and an historian, so any comparison with EV has to include a number of considerations Wagner does not contemplate.



                          Secondly, EV's major concern was (as he wrote to his friend Francis Graham Wilson in the same year of the letter in Wagner's quoted missive) to influence the "professional public" [Voegelin to Wilson, 15 July 1953, Wilson Papers, University of Illinois Archives]. Kirk attempted to write to for many audiences. His _Conservative Mind_ (1953) is a work of great erudition, and this could also be said of other Kirk efforts.



                          Lee Cheek



                          H. Lee Cheek, Jr., Ph.D., Chair
                          http://www.bpc.edu/socscience/index.htm




                          ________________________________





                          .

                          As for Russell Kirk. I would say he is one step removed from the
                          level of inquiry that Voegelin undertook, and while Kirk embraced
                          Voegelin, Voegelin maintained a reserve about Kirk, whom he likely
                          considered a high level conservative journalist rather than a
                          thinker. Voegelin's early view of Kirk, in the 1950's, was quite
                          hostile; later, in the 1970's he was quite considerate after reading
                          one of Kirk's books; but late on he found something Kirk
                          apparently said rather annoying.

                          The foregoing is based on three letters and I will quote from
                          each, because they are both apt and witty:




                          I
                          don't think he had anything against Russell Kirk but I don't sense
                          that they could have been equal "partners in a discussion."

                          Cordially,

                          Fritz Wagner



                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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