THE PANEL: The Time of the Tale: Being in Flux and Modern Literature.
THE SPEAKER: T. John Jamieson.
THE PANELISTS (Seated from left to right): Glen Hughes, Michael Franz, Michael Henry, Steven Ealy, Timothy Hoye and Polly Detels. Not Shown: Charles Embry and Thomas McPartland.
Charles Embry, editor of the new and engaging,
Robert B. Heilman and Eric Voegelin, A friendship in Letters,
explained to us that literature occupied a special place for Voegelinin both
his personal and professional life.
Polly Detels took J.M. Coetzee's novel,
Waiting for the Barbarians,
and gave a persuasive analysis using Voegelin's concept of
, how the empire has created the time of history.
Steven Ealy looked at three Robert Penn Warren poems, especially Brother to Dragons, , which Warren rewrote and republished after 20 years. Warren gave a uniquely American cast to Voegelin's Time of the Tale . "We create ourselves when we recreate the past."
Timothy Hoye finds similarities between Voegelin and Natsume Soseki's (1867-1916) FIRST TRILOGY in politics, philosophy and myth, including the recognition of nous and the quaternary structure of reality: God and man, world and society.
John Jamieson explores Eric Voegelin's Analysis of Spritual Deformation in Robert Musil's THE MAN WITHOUT QUALITIES.
Glen "Chip" Hughes, one of the "discussants," (surely an APSA malaprop) enjoys someone's remark.
He then offers a luminous commentary on the Heilman-Voegelin correspondence. Astonishing is Voegelin's sketch of Anamnesis in one of the letters to Heilman.
Michael Henry discussed both the Detels and Jamieson papers, emphasizing
the First World War was a
from peace and cited Voegelin's
Hitler and the Germans
Michael Franz commented on the Ealy and Hoye presentations. He noted that
All the King's Men
is the best study of a successful tyranny and asked why Warren chose verse for
his subject of Jefferson's cousins and their murdering in
Brother to Dragons.
THE PANEL: The Modern State and Conceptions of Friendship.
THE SPEAKER: Juergen Gebhardt
THE PANELISTS (seated from left to right): Jeremy Mhire, Travis D. Smith, Joshua Mitchell, Richard Avramenko, Mark T. Mitchell, John Von Heyking (not visible at left: Thomas Heilke).
Chairman Joshua Mitchell seems amused by Juergen Gebhardt's trenchant delivery on "Friendship, Trust, and Political Order."
As Gebhardt demonstrates, while trust is essential and is based on political
friendship, the latter is
not the same as Christian friendship. A civil polity is a universal idea but it
is a product of Western civilization and not too easily exported.
Thomas Heilke spoke about friendship in Calvin and Luther. Neither said much
about friendship, treating it as a utilitarian matter. For Calvin community is
more than those bound together by an assurance of grace. His concern was the
person's juridical status before God.
Travis Smith gave us insights into Hobbes and Locke. The
presents a sustained attack on friendship. In Hobbes' bleak view a friend is
merely someone who will want to do what you want them to do, not under
compulsion of government.
An appreciative audience listens to the presentations on friendship in the modern state.
THE PANEL: Eric Voegelin on Literary and Artistic Symbols.
THE SPEAKER: Paulette Kidder
THE PANELISTS (seated from left to right):
THE PANEL: Roundtable on the State of Political Science and Philosophy at Mid-Century: The Correspondence of Eric Voegelin, Leo Strauss and Willmoore Kendall.
THE SPEAKER: Steven Ealy
THE PANELISTS (seated from left to right): John E. Alvis,
Barry Cooper speaks on a topic he knows so well:
These two men became close without becoming familiar (at least in writing) while maintaining their differences on some key issues, most famously, Voegelin's rejection and Strauss' insistance upon the absolute divide between Jerusalem and Athens, between Faith and Philosophy.
Gordon LLoyd and John A. Murley listen before presenting their fascinating insights into Willmoore Kendall's relationships with both Strauss and Voegelin. Murley, together with John Alvis, has edited the new book: Willmoore Kendall, Maverick of American Conservatives.
The implied question: had it not been for his appetites, how much more might he
have achieved? But then he would not have been the same Willmore Kendall we
remember and loved.
"The Fifth Panel: Questions of Transcendence in Political Philosophy"
THE PANELISTS: Michael Franz, William Petropulos, Hans-Joerg Sigwart,
The panelists chat before the panel convenes.
William Petropulos uses his hands expressively in conversation with Hans-Georg Sigwart. Michael Franz (right rear) talks to Mathias Riedl.
The occasion for this session arises in part from the publication of Voegelin's
Theory of Governance,
which is found in the newest of the Voegelin collected
works, Volume 32,
The Theory of Governance and other Miscellaneous Papers, 1921-1938.
editors are William Petropulos and Gilbert Weiss. This enormous volume of 525
pages employed six translators and required both detective work
Petropulos shows how the young Voegelin sought to understand the foundational
nature of meditation and followed Max Scheler in his attempt to free St.
Augustine from the accretions of time. More helpful was the work of Othmar
Spann and the return to Chapter 1 of DesCartes'
and climactically for Voegelin, historian Frederick Wolter's theory of
of ruler and
ruled (Wolters having been stongly affected by poet Stefan George.).
In the question period, Juergen Gebhardt suggested that
Petropulos exaggerated the importance which Voegelin attached to the formation
of man and society through meditation on the
This produced a good natured erruption from Petropulos which must remain in
memory as a moment of surpassing clarity.
Thomas Hollweck explored Egyptologist Jan Assmann's theory of polytheism and
monotheism as found in his recent
The Search for God in Ancient Egypt
and his earlier
Moses the Egyptian: the Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism.
is that polytheists get along but not monotheists (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Hollweck finds the origins of the term "monotheism" in 18th century
Germany, and not before. The use of the term reached its apogee in
Sigmund Freud's last work,
Moses and Monotheism.
As Gilbert Weiss put it so well in his commentary, Dilthey-esque readings of
Voegelin will not do. And when reading Eric Voegelin we have to face the
or it would be better to find someone else to read!
Mathias Riedl commented that Voegelin's use of the term "non-existent reality"
awkward translation of German. Voegelin meant the reality that has not been
made into objects. So a better term would be "objectless reality." (But I
suspect it is here to stay, Voegelin being one of the few men to have the
stature to coin neologisms that survive.)
Celestino Perez enjoys a remark by Thomas Hollweck. Perez undertook a comparison of John Paul II's Fides et ratio with Eric Voegelin's thought. Is love, the fruit of contemplating the divine, found in militant Islam?
I asked him afterwards if he served up Voegelin to his West Point cadets. The answer was "yes" and they are eager for more.
Gilbert Weiss pointed out in his commentary that John Paul came out of the Krakow school of phenomenology and of course Voegelin was influenced by Husserl.
Chairman Michael Franz confers with Ellis Sandoz.
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THE PANEL: Roundtable on Eric Voegelin as Master Teacher.
The panelists were: Barry Cooper (Chairman), Tilo Schabert, Ellis Sandoz, Paul Caringella, Thomas Hollweck, Brendan Purcell and Fritz Wagner.
There are no pictures from this session, unless someone took one, in which case I would be happy to put it here.
While most of us reminisced from memory or notes, Tilo Schabert took the
occasion of this roundtable to present a splendid paper,
"Eric Voegelin's Workshop,"
which recounts Schabert's years of intimate working with Voegelin, and gives
us an idea of how Voegelin involved everyone around him in the creative
processespecially testing his ideas with the scholars who came his way.
Voegelin said he was guided by his
rather than by a
rested in a well-wrought fortress. He never stopped looking at old material.
For instance, he found late on that St. Augustine's
was not actually autobiographical as he had always thought, but rather a
stylized spiritual guide of a
type known as
Ellis Sandoz studied under Voegelin from his junior year at Louisianna State
University until he completed his doctorate under Voegelin in Munich fifteen
years later. He was a Voegelin student when the breakout Walgreen Lectures were
delivered at the U. of Chicago and which were published as
The New Science of Politics.
Sandoz stressed Voegelin's personal modesty, the self-denigration that
showed as a part of his character.
Thomas Hollweck pointed out that Voegelin was unashamedly a teacher, yet abhored
the "education racket." He also disliked the Socratic method, considering it a
waste of time. Because Hollweck
chose to do his doctoral work in Atlanta with Voegelin's close friend and
Gregor Sebba, he has
a somewhat different perspective on Voegelin and his work while remaining a
Paul Caringella discovered Voegelin when he was studying with Frederick
Wilhelmsen in 1962. Later his second philosophy professor, Father Robert J.
Giguere gave him Remy de Gourmont's,
Natural Philosophy of Love,
in which he found Voegelin. He finally met him in 1969 when Voegelin was
Voegelin often expressed to Paul his own felt inadequacy in the presence of a
great text. During the last six years of Voegelin's life when Paul acted as
his personal assistant, Voegelin assumed Paul knew much more than he in fact
It is, says Paul, in the twenty years since Voegelin's death that he has
into the kind of person Voegelin had assumed he already was.
(Just before Brendan Purcell began to speak, a panelist said in a stage whisper,"Talk slow, Brendan." Needless to say, he didn't ! )
Brendan met Voegelin in Ireland in 1972. Voegelin had come there to
study neolithic ruins, which, according to Brendan, are piled high and wide in
Ireland. Voegelin was
pursuing his interest in the
, which had been sparked by paleontologist Marie Koenig, for the eventual
writing of what Brendan
referred to as "Volume Zero!"
Brendan emphasized that the reason there are no "Voegelinians" as such is that
Voegelin expected his students to do their own work and not repeat his. He
also noted that while Voegelin was self-effacing, he wanted to win his
Fritz Wagner read two personal reminiscences, one about Voegelin reading the
funnies in the Notre Dame cafeteria and the other about recalling to Lissy
Voegelin in 1992 the autograph session with Eric in 1960. He was gratified to
read them to an appreciative audience.
THE BUSINESS MEETING
The University of Missouri Press, in the person of its Director and
Editor-in-Chief, Beverly Jarret, reported on progress in completion of the
works. There are now only four volumes remaining unpublished and one of them,
Volume 33, is expected in
October. [It contains "Conversations with Eric Voegelin" and should do well.
And one can hope that soon the "Conversations" will enter the mainstream as a
stand-alone paperback.] The
Voegelin corpus is proving profitable as compared to most works published in
the academic press. Foriegn translation rights are being sought, even so far
Order and History
At this point, Martin Palou, Ambassador to the United States from the Czech Republic, took the floor and made a most generous offer. He will host the reception for the Eric Voegelin Society at the Czech Embassy when we convene again next September in Washington D.C!
Beth Chandler, Director of publicity for the press then stepped to the front
and unveiled a presentation layout for a new book which had been kept secret
from Ellis Sandoz. The leading Voegelin scholars have come together to offer essays in honor of Ellis Sandoz and his fifty years of scholarship, teaching and the
generous giving of himself to help bring about a
in our time. It is due out from the press in April of next year.
Following the meeting we repaired to the hospitality suite, where refreshments
were served and cocktail hour conversation ensued. The room assigned to us was
listed as the "Stevens" room, but that may have been a misprint, since the room
had likely been designed as an emergency mortuary, that being the
most probable reason for the solid ceiling of clinical flourescent fixtures,
morgue-like in their baleful and shadowless dampening of all desire for
Fortunately many of us went on to dine well, and some of us went on to enjoy a truly memorable meal.
THE PANEL: Eric Voegelin and Post Modern Thought.
THE SPEAKER: Margaret Hrezo
THE PANELISTS (seated from left to right):
Margaret Hrezo responds to a question as Lee Trepanier,
Paul Corey and Horst Mewes listen. Ms. Hrezo gave a Voegelinian analysis of
Toni Morrison and Thomas Pynchon, the latter being one of Voegelin's favorite
novelistic explorers of the structure of reality.
Henrik Syse explains Voegelin's understanding of ethics and natural law in
light of the two essays, "What is Right by Nature?" and "What is Nature?" both
originally published in 1966 in the German edition of
( In the collected works edition of
[Volume 6, released in 2002] "What is Right by Nature?" is renamed "Right by
Joe Feeney is looking pensive. After La Tavernetta, our party of five
went on to visit (or revisit) the Jazz Showcase, where some of us (not Joe)
nodded off in
our chairs. Perhaps Joe is thinking of the beautiful wedding Mass we had
happened upon at the Cathedral Saturday afternoon.
I neglected to allow time in my flight schedule for the whole Sunday
session, so there were papers I did not hear. I welcome
any notes people wish to offer. I would be happy to supply large jpeg
photos to anyone who asks. Please email me with corrections or
I left with many goodbyes unspoken.
Fritz Wagner September 10th, 2004.