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The New InquisitionsHeretic-Hunting and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Totalitarianism$
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Arthur Versluis

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306378

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306378.001.0001

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Eric Voegelin, Anti-Gnosticism, and the Totalitarian Emphasis on Order

Eric Voegelin, Anti-Gnosticism, and the Totalitarian Emphasis on Order

Chapter:
(p.69) 8 Eric Voegelin, Anti-Gnosticism, and the Totalitarian Emphasis on Order
Source:
The New Inquisitions
Author(s):

Arthur Versluis

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306378.003.0008

This chapter examines the role of German political philosopher Eric Voegelin in popularizing anti-gnosticism and the totalitarian emphasis on social order. Voegelin considered modernity as the venue for a very long-lived ideological threat and gnosticism as a threat to social order that reappears from age to age. This chapter analyzes Voegelin's 1958 essay Science, Politics and Gnosticism and his abuse of the term gnosticism as a rhetorical weapon. The analysis reveals that Voegelin's characterization of gnosis is misleading and confusing.

Keywords:   Eric Voegelin, anti-gnosticism, totalitarianism, social order, modernity, gnosis

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