Published Essays, 1966-1985 includes some of the most trenchant and compelling of Eric Voegelin's work and is an indispensable companion to his Anamnesis and to the fourth and fifth volumes of Order and History, which were prepared for publication during the same period, the last two decades of the author's life. These essays are quintessential Voegelin.
Voegelin was an essayist at heart, and the pieces gathered here bear on almost every aspect of his philosophy. They range in subject matter and tone from a scalding critique of the German intellectual establishment during the Hitler period and a satire upon contemporary vulgarian culture to magisterial analyses of immortality, reason, and consciousness. The essays also embrace Voegelin's elaboration of the theory of equivalent experiences and symbolizations over human history and his meditation upon the lure of extremes in the rebellion of magic against reason in various modernist attacks on culture. The scope of Voegelin's work is magnified by the collection's final essay, a touching and profound deathbed reflection on God.
Running through all the material is Voegelin's conviction that the truly scientific or philosophical life is ordered through an Anselmian fides quaerens intellectum, a faith in search of understanding. Thus, the assertion that "all men by nature desire to know," which opens Aristotle's Metaphysics, is rightly completed by the words the divine Ground of being. It is the search of the Ground by a mystic philosopher-consciously indebted to such great contemplatives as Plato, Anselm, of Canterbury, jean Bodin, and Henri Bergson-that distinguishes Voegelin's own pilgrimage through time in partnership with God. Nowhere does this come more powerfully and luminously clear than in the pages of Published Essays, 1966-1985.