The Eric Voegelin Society
Annual Meeting

September 2nd—
September 5th, 2004




The First Panel: The Time of the Tale

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 Voegelin—in 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 historiogenesis , 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

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.

John Jamieson
Glen 'Chip' Hughes

  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 that the First World War was a flight from peace and cited Voegelin's Hitler and the Germans .

Michael Franz commented on the Ealy and Hoye presentations. He noted that Warren's 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.

A further question about Seseki's Meiji Japan: was there a common "nous" being destroyed by 19th century modernization and is the cohesiveness of modern Japan a phenomenon of spiritual community or something more prosaic? Is historiogenesis in Japan noetic at all?

The Second Panel: The Modern State and conceptions of Friendship

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).

Joshua Mitchell listens to Juergen Gebhardt

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 no more than those bound together by an assurance of grace. His concern was the person's juridical status before God.
From earliest time, from the Gilgamesh and from Homer, friendship is always shown as having a public and therefore political aspect.

Travis Smith gave us insights into Hobbes and Locke. The Leviathan 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

An appreciative audience listens to the presentations on friendship in the modern state.

At this point your observer left to fulfill a previous commitment. Anyone is most welcome to offer some notes here on what is missing.


The Third Panel: Eric Voegelin on Literary and Artistic Symbols

THE PANEL: Eric Voegelin on Literary and Artistic Symbols.

THE SPEAKER: Paulette Kidder

THE PANELISTS (seated from left to right):
David Walsh, Thomas McPartland, David Palmieri, and Glen Hughes.

Paulette Kidder

Paulette Kidder explores similarities between Eric Voegelin and writer Martha Nussbaum.

David Walsh

David Walsh offers his commentary on the presentations. En passant he notes he is at work on a book on Schelling.

David Palmieri compares Northrop Frye and Eric Voegelin. Both are capable critics yet only one displays the philosopher's insight. Glen Hughes does his luminous best finding voegelin's metaxy, or "in between" in artistic symbolisms. Thomas McPartland offers his usual incisive commentary.

The Fourth Panel: The Correspondence of Eric Voegelin, Leo Strauss and Willmoore Kendall

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,
Gordon Lloyd, John A. Murley and Barry Cooper.

Chairman Ealy is bemused.

Chairman Ealy seems bemused by something said about Willmoore Kendall.

Barry Cooper

Barry Cooper speaks on a topic he knows so well:
the Strauss-Voegelin Correspondence. He is an editor of the book, newly available in paper, from the U. of Missouri Press: Faith and Political Philosophy, The Correspondence between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin, 1934-1964.

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

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,
Clestino Perez, Jr., Thomas A. Hollweck Gilbert Weiss, and Mathias Riedl.

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.

William Petropulos 1
William Petropulos 2
William Petropulos 3
William Petropulos 4

The occasion for this session arises in part from the publication of Voegelin's unfinished 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.

The editors are William Petropulos and Gilbert Weiss. This enormous volume of 525 pages employed six translators and required both detective work and reconstruction.

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' Meditations and climactically for Voegelin, historian Frederick Wolter's theory of spiritual parity 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 imago Dei. 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. The contention is that polytheists get along but not monotheists (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger disagreeing.)

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 Divine Ground; or it would be better to find someone else to read!

Mathias Riedl commented that Voegelin's use of the term "non-existent reality" is an 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 and Thomas Hollweck

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.

Michael Franz confers with Ellis Sandoz

Chairman Michael Franz confers with Ellis Sandoz.

\|/  Click below for the Berghoff Pictures  \|/




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 process—especially testing his ideas with the scholars who came his way.

Voegelin said he was guided by his material rather than by a method. He never rested in a well-wrought fortress. He never stopped looking at old material. For instance, he found late on that St. Augustine's Confessions was not actually autobiographical as he had always thought, but rather a stylized spiritual guide of a type known as sacrificio confessiones.

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 colleague, Gregor Sebba, he has a somewhat different perspective on Voegelin and his work while remaining a Voegelin scholar.

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 visiting Seattle.

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 did. It is, says Paul, in the twenty years since Voegelin's death that he has perhaps grown 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 neolithicum , 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 arguments!

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.


of the Eric Voegelin Society       

The University of Missouri Press, in the person of its Director and Editor-in-Chief, Beverly Jarret, reported on progress in completion of the collected 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 as translating Order and History into Chinese.

At this point, Martin Palouš, 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 Voegelinian Revolution 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 spontaneous fellowship.

Fortunately many of us went on to dine well, and some of us went on to enjoy a truly memorable meal.



The Seventh Panel: Eric Voegelin and Post Modern Thought

THE PANEL: Eric Voegelin and Post Modern Thought.

THE SPEAKER: Margaret Hrezo

THE PANELISTS (seated from left to right):
Lee Trepanier, Paul Corey, Henrik Syse, John Baltes and Horst Mewes.

Margaret Hrezo responds to a question.

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 delivers his paper

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 Anamnesis ( In the collected works edition of Anamnesis [Volume 6, released in 2002] "What is Right by Nature?" is renamed "Right by Nature.").

Gilbert Weiss

Gilbert Weiss is interested in what he hears from Henrik Syse. Gilbert has now edited three volumes of the collected works of Eric voegelin.

     Juergen Gephardt, Richard Avramenko and Thomas Hollweck observe.

Juergen Gephardt, Richard Avramenko and Thomas Hollweck observe.

Martin Palous

Martin Palouš appears relaxed this morning. The evening before, Martin had dined with Joe Feeney, Mark and Nancy Theodoropoulos and me in a small trattoria, La Tavernetta. Intimate with attentive service from Vito and Lucia, it was perhaps the best Italian cooking some of us had ever had.

Joe Feeney

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 clarifications.

I left with many goodbyes unspoken.

—Fritz Wagner   September 10th, 2004.

Eric Voegelin Main Page