The Eric Voegelin Society Annual Meeting

Boston— August 29th-September 1st, 2002




Glenn "Chip" Hughes speaks of the importance of orienting (or"ambient") myth for daily living. Sitting to his right is Brendan Purcell who will comment on the presentations.

The window behind the speakers made it difficult to take photos. In desperation, Saturday morning I snuck in early and pulled the drapes shut!

Glenn Hughes

This was the first panelon the Mythic Horizon, Voegelin and Hans Jonas:

McPartland, McMylor and Purcell listen to Hughes.

Thomas McPartland, Peter McMylor (who delivered David Levy's paper) and Brendan Purcell listen to Hughes. ( Frederick Lawrence is off camera to the left.)


Frederick Lawrence delivers his paper on "Narrative and Conversion." He explores Voegelin's affection for Augustine's Ennarrationes in Psalmos 64.2 :

He begins to leave who begins to love.
Many the leaving who know it not,
for the feet of those leaving are affections of the heart:
and yet, they are leaving Babylon.


Frederick Lawrence at the podium.

The second panel delved into how Voegelin, Strauss and Oakeshott used Thomas Hobbes to understand modernity. Unlike Oakeshott, Voegelin thought the inclusion of transcendence indispensible for philosophizing.

Elizebeth Corey, Coats, Fuller and Mhire

Elizabeth Corey, W. John Coats, Timothy Fuller and Jeremy Mhire

Chairman Tim Fuller suggested the panelists neglected Hobbes' attempt to confine the debate to legal issues, thereby avoiding "transcendental" quarrels. Nevertheless it would seem that control through the fear of death and the regulating of the passions remain central to Hobbes' Leviathan.

(As a lawyer myself, I would consider the possibility that Hobbes did not consider any larger issues or the implications of his writing. People adopt Hobbes because their experiences find expression in Hobbes.)
Timothy Fuller

In the third Panel, "Hemeneutics, Interpretation and Science in Politcal Philosphy," Thomas Hollweck gave us a marvelous image: "The cuts that can be made through reality are infinite in number!"

Also a recollected late-at-night conversation: Voegelin asked,"Did Plato know that what he believed was not true?"

Voegelin continued to "out-imagine" himself until death whereas Heidegger stopped imagining and started repeating himself!

Apparently Voegelin admired Derrida's early influential essay "Plato's Pharmacy."

Then to Andreas Kinneging's paper on Gadamer and Voegelin looking at Plato: There are a couple of interesting differences: Voegelin uses texts for larger purposes than their authors intended while Gadamer sticks to the texts for their own sakes. Gadamer tended to confine himself to obscure texts while Voegelin took risks with well-known texts. Both avoided neo-Kantianism by different paths.


Jürgen Gebhardt

Jürgen Gebhardt speaks on Voegelin and Gadamer. Voegelin focussed on the political and Gadamer on the hermeneutic. New to me: Apparently Voegelin's vocabulary was influenced by Dilthey. Plessner also had an influence on Voegelin.

What happenens when a scientist does his work? None was so concerned as EV with this question—not Gadamer and not Heidegger.

In this panel only one photo was salvaged from the harsh back lighting and the smallish digital storage media flash card.




Michael Gillespie speaks on Descartes and modernity in the Panel on 'Liberal Democracy, Secularization, and the"end of metaphysics."' Apparently Descartes was introduced to hermeticism as a student and came into contact with Rosicrucianism in Germany, which brought in alchemy, astrology and magic. Apparently the continuous civil wars in France had aroused in Descartes a "fear of God" defined as terror rather than the theologically traditional filial piety.

Michael Gillespie

Hans-Jörg Sigwart talks on "Liberal Democracy and Political Theology: Voegelin vs. Carl Schmitt." He drew some of his material from The Authoritarian State. He brought out the unsettling but basic truth that political communities exist only in the minds of those who carry them out!

Hans Jörg Sigwart

Tim Fuller in his "The Question of Transcendence in a Secularizing Age" made one comment I particularly found illuminating and persuasive. He characterized Jacques Maritain as both a Thomist and a progressive.

Horst Mewes, in his "Secularization and the foundations of modern liberal democracy" looked at de Toqueville and found he had based the success of democracy on self-interest (expressed as material well-being) and religion.

Horst Mewes

Commenting on the papers, Jürgen Gebhardt suggested that democracy requires a Socinian (Pelagian) interpretation of Christianity, i.e., salvation is through work and self-discipline and decisions to do good—there being no fall, redemption, sin or grace. As Voegelin said, "rolling up their sleeves,spitting on their hands and taking part in the work of salvation."


Thomas D'Evelyn offers his critique of the panel presentations on Eric Voegelin and Literary Criticism.

This photo will also have to serve for his presentation a couple of hours later in the panel on Voegelin and Christianity in which he engagingly related Voegelin's use of the word "flow" as in "flow of presence" to its use by Tom's students and by Japanese story teller Haruki Murakami. With only six minutes to present an eleven page paper, Tom had to condense as he went along. He was so skillful that you could not tell from listening that he had made cuts as he spoke.

As he was sitting down afterward, I whispered to him, "Tom, you are going to hit me, but that really flowed." He thereupon delivered a short right jab to my shoulder so swiftly that no one else saw it; but I felt it! A punster must know that he risks retribution!

Thomas D'Evelyn
[At this time I disappear to review my own presentation in the "Voegelin and Christianity Panel" and there is blessed relief from flashing strobe light, whirring lenses,etc. for several hours, a blessed state duly brought to my attention by both Ellis Sandoz and Paul Caringella! We on the panel all seem to have had a good time: Paul Caringella, Ellis Sandoz, Ted Weber, Chip Hughes, Tom D'Evelyn and myself. Merit I leave to others. An interesting note: Harvard Professor and media guest-expert Cornell West asked questions afterwards and apparently enjoyed the panel.]



Saturday began with Jene Porter chairing the panel "Modernity and Themes in Politcal Theory." Here Czech Republic Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Martin Palouš, gives a compelling account of his devotion to preventing the resurgence of gnosticism in any new form following the demise of the late unlamented communism (which he personally fought as a founder of the Charter 77 movement during the twilight years of Marxism).[Note the drapes are now closed!]

Martin Palouš

Ambassador Palouš is framed by the heads of James Bruton on the left and Dr. David Tresan on the right. David Tresan, like me, served in the cold war away from battlefields. Jim Bruton served in the fire zone. (Chairman Porter sits to the left of the podium.)

John von Heyking, Michael Federici, and Arpad Szakolczai listen to Ambassador Palouš. In the foreground is James Chevedden, S.J.

John von Heyking, Michael Federici and Arpad Szakolczai
Michael Federici Maben Poirier John von Heyking at the Podium

From the left, Michael Federici, Maben Poirier and John von Heyking offer their critiques. Federici's introductory ERIC VOEGELIN has just been published. Maben Poirier must have said something to amuse Jene Porter. Von Heyking and Thomas Heilke are together editing Voegelin's early essays, Volumes 7 and 8 of the Collected Works. I asked him why it took two to edit? A part of the answer: Voegelin tended to be loose in his source references. Both will be out before the end of 2003.

Ellis Sandoz and Maben Poirier

Between sessions, Ellis Sandoz and Maben Poirier enjoy a conversation.

Joseph Feeney and James Galloway enjoy an exchange during an intermission.

Joseph Feeney and James Galloway

Thompson, Trepanier et. al.

The panel on "Conflict, History, and Political Theory" listen to Chairman Ellis Sandoz. From the left: Jennifer K. Thompson, Lee Trepanier, Peter McMylor, Michael Henry, Paul Corey and William Petropulos. Petropulus promised me he and Gilbert Weiss would complete the editing of Volumes 32 and 33, the Miscellaneous Papers, as soon as time permits, Volume 32 being scheduled for next year.

Ellis Sandoz
Peter McMylor

Ellis Sandoz and Peter McMylor offer commentary on the panel presentations.

Frederick and Sue Lawrence Thomas Hollweck

Frederick and Sue Lawrence await for a panel to begin; later in the discussion period, Thomas Hollweck rises to make a comment.

Max Arnott and Richard Avramenko listen to the panelists.

Max Arnott (left) listens to the last EVS panel, "Literary and Psychological Dimensions of Political Philosophy."

Robert ("Robin") Seiler talks with Richard Avramenko.

Robert Seiler and Richard Avramenko

Glenn Hughes and Deborah Hedwall talk with Ambassador Palouš. In the recent Prague flood, the Ambassador's embankment apartment was flooded, so he lost his books, papers and personal effects. He came to EVS with this event fresh in his mind.

Glenn Hughes, Deborah Hedwall and Ambassador Palouš

Barry Cooper and Richard Avramenko

Barry Cooper cuts the Gordian knot for Richard Avramenko.

Michael Franz, Thomas Hollweck and Paul Caringella

Michael Franz, Thomas Hollweck and Paul Caringella listen to the speaker. Paul's face seems to say he was happy with EVS in Boston.

Beverly Jarrett, Director of the University of Missouri Press, gives her report on the publishing progress on the Collected Works of Eric Voegelin. Twenty seven of thirty four Volumes have been published. We now await only volumes 7, 8, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34. Volumes 29 and 30 will contain the selected correspondence.

Beverly Jarrett

Among those whom I do not show here are: Clarence Sills, Polly Detels, Charles Embry, Tim Hoye, Randy LeBlanc, Peter Petrakis, Benjamin Wren, Greg Russell, David Clinton, Shmuel Sandler, Mark Gismondi, Michael Desch, Tim Lomperis, Henrik Syse, Steve Ealy, and John Baltes. A few were unusable images but mostly, I missed the larger part of two panels. Also, Ken Quandt from San Francisco, our Voegelin Centennial host last year, stopped in for just an hour or so after dropping off one of his daughters at school. Unfortunately there were others who couldn't make it, among them being Mark Theodoropoulos, who had his son's wedding to attend, and Richard Geldard, who is caught up in the preparations for the Emerson bicentennial.

For a look at some activities away from the meeting room, you can go to THE LIGHTER SIDE.

Eric Voegelin Main Page