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Eric Voegelin


This is Volume II of his monumental work, Order and History Louisiana State Univ. Press, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1937 - 1964, 389 pgs., index, footnotes


Reviewer Comments:
Warning to the reader: This will be 'tough' difficult going. At the surface level, the language is highly philosophical and frequently symbolic. At the next level the content is based on the written word of ancient authors expressing myths as well as history understanding of which requires extensive knowledge of the authors and their writing (both its content and their style).. At the level Dr. Voegelin presumes (I suppose) that the reader will have a-priori knowledge of the facts he advances as examples or proofs. I provide two samples from the chapter on Mankind and History.

In the Preface to Vol I of Order and History, Israel and Revalation Dr. Voegelin states his fundamental thesis. "The order of history emerges from the history of order. Every society is burdened with the task, under its concrete conditions, of creating an order that will endow the fact of its existence with meaning in terms of ends divine and human".


Preface and Introduction: Mankind and History
Dr. Voegelin states the subject: "Order and History is a philosophical inquiry concerning the principal types of order in human existence in society and history as well as the corresponding symbolic forms."

He writes: "We conclude: That problems of multiple and parallel leaps in being cannot be met theoretically with the eighteenth-century resignation and wisdom of Lesing's Nathan. What is valid in the Nathan wisdom, and remains valid when Jaspers and Toynbee treat of wider and more variegated historical scene in its spirit, is the respect for every order, and every truth about order: for every society, on whatever level of compactness or differentiation its experiences and symbols of order move, strives for attainment with the order of being." And also: "The philosophy of order and history is a Western symbolism because Western society has received tis historical form through Christianity.


Part One: Cretans, Achaeans, and Hellenes
Chapter 1 Hellas and History


Chapter 2: The Cretan and Achaean Societies


Chapter 3 - Homer and Mycenae


Part Two: From Myth to Philosophy
Chapter 4 - The Hellenic Polis


Chapter 5 - Hesiod


Chapter 6 - The Break with the Myth


Chapter 7 - The Aretai and the Polis


Chapter 8 - Parmenides


Chapter 9 - Heraclitus


Pat Three
The Athenian Century


Chapter 10 - Tragedy


Chapter 11 - The Sophists


Chapter 12 - Power and History
In this chapter Dr. Voegelin analyses the writings of Herodotus, the 'Old Oligarch', and Thucydides.
1 Herodotus
2 The Old Oligarch
3 Thucydides
This section is relevant to the study of strategy as well as to study of Thucydides' descripion of the 'causes' and course of the Peloponnesian war in which he stressed the role of psychological factors in both leading individuals and in groups.


Return to Xenophon. Return to Ruscity. Return to Rushistory. Return to Ukraine.