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Order and History: World of the Polis v. 2 (Collected Works of Eric Voegelin) [Hardcover]

Eric Voegelin

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Book Description

31 May 2000 0826212832 978-0826212832 New Ed
This second volume of Voegelin's magisterial "Order and History, The World of the Polis, " explores the ancient Greek symbolization of human reality. Taking us from the origins of Greek culture in the Pre-Homeric Cretan civilizations, through the "Iliad" and "Odyssey, " Hesiod, and the rise of philosophy with the Pre-Socratics Parmenides and Heraclitus, this masterful work concludes with the historians of the classical period.In "The World of the Polis, " Voegelin traces the emergence of the forms of the city-state and of philosophy from the ancient symbolism of myth. He maintains that the limits and ultimate goals of human nature are constant and that the central problem of every society is the same--"to create an order that will endow the fact of its existence with meaning in terms of ends divine and human." Thus, Voegelin shows how "the meaning of existence" achieved concrete expression in the typical political, social, and religious institutions of Greece and in the productions of its poets and thinkers. He deals with more than fifty Greek writers in the course of his analysis of the rise of myth and its representation of the divine order of the cosmos as the first great symbolic form of order, one later supplanted by the leap in being reflected in the emergence of philosophy.The book is a tour de force, a virtuoso performance by a scholar and philosopher of great power, learning, and imagination that places its subject matter in a new light. The editor's critical introduction places "The World of the Polis" in the broader context of Voegelin's philosophy of history. Scholars and students of political science, philosophy, and the history of ideas will find this work invaluable.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press; New Ed edition (31 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826212832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826212832
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 16 x 23.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,932,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

About the AuthorEric Voegelin (1901-1985) was one of the most original and influential philosophers of our time. Born in Cologne, Germany, he studied at the University of Vienna, where he became a professor of political science in the Faculty of Law. In 1938, he and his wife, fleeing Hitler, immigrated to the United States. They became American citizens in 1944. Voegelin spent much of his career at Louisiana State University, the University of Munich, and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. During his lifetime he published many books and more than one hundred articles. "The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin" will make available in a uniform edition all of Voegelin's major writings. About the EditorAthanasios Moulakis is Herbst Professor of the Humanities at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Simone Weil and the Politics of Self-Denial, "Beyond Utility: Liberal Education for a Technological Age" (AACAU Ness Award), and Eric Voegelin's History of Political Ideas, Volume I, Hellenism, Rome, and Early Christianity

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE CONTINUATION OF AN INFLUENTIAL (BUT UNFINISHED) PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 14 Oct 2009
By Steven H. Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) is one of the most well-known of modern political philosophers and theorists, but his massive five-volume series "Order and History," as well as the posthumously published eight-volume History of Political Ideas (Volume 8): Crisis and the Apocalypse of Man (Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Volume 26), put forward a coherent and somewhat influential philosophy of history. In the Preface to Volume II, Voegelin says, "Order and History is a philosophical inquiry concerning the principal types of order of human existence in society and history as well as the corresponding symbolic forms."

Volume II is in three parts: "Cretans, Achaeans, and Hellenes"; "From Myth to Philosophy"; and "The Athenian Century." In the Preface to Volume III, Voegelin summarized the second volume thusly: "In the Aegean area emerged, from the stratum of order in cosmological form, the Hellenic polis with the symbolic form of philosophy. The study of Polis and Philosophy matches ... the earlier one on Israel and Revelation. Because of its size this second study had to be divided into the present Volumes II ... and III...."

Here are some representative quotations from the second volume:

"The primary field of order is the single society of human beings, organized for action to maintain itself in existence."
A philosophy of history "must be a critical study of the authoritative structure in the history of mankind."
"Our study of The World of the Polis opened with reflections on the delimitation of Greek history through the memory of the classic period."
"The world of the historian is an open field of experience for the inquirer, a manifold of peoples and civilizations with different Nomoi, and especially with different gods; and in this world a struggle for power is going on, between man and man, ruler and subject, nation and nation, motivated by fear and greed, by passion and hope. Such a world threatens to fall apart into individual and national centers of power, rising and falling without a discernible meaning. We shall see how the historians try to preserve the sense of common drama in a world without gods by expressing it in philosophical categories..."

Read my reviews of the subsequent volumes to see how Voegelin's project changed over the successive volumes.)
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