Published Humanitas, Volume XV, No. 1, 2002

Eric Voegelin’s treatment of Christianity is notoriously problematic. David Walsh writes that “a problem within Voegelin’s . . . work . . . is the problem of Voegelin’s understanding of Christianity, and more broadly, of revelation.” He goes on to note the “incompleteness and unsatisfactory quality of Voegelin’s treatment of Christianity.” Three areas of concern emerge in the literature on Voegelin. First, there are those who find him to be inattentive to—or even unconcerned about—the historical person of Christ. Reflecting on Voegelin’s treatment of Christianity in The Ecumenic Age, Gerhart Niemeyer notes that Christianity

was born from amazement about a particular person Jesus, his deeds, teachings, and such claims as that men in order to gain their lives must lose them for his sake, that it will be he whom men will face in the ultimate judgment, that there will be a new covenant with God in his blood, that he would die to free humanity from sin, that he alone had full knowledge of the Father. Christian theology . . . stems . . . from the question which Jesus himself put: ‘Who do you say I am?’

But Voegelin, Niemeyer goes on to say, does not consider the historicity of Christ a relevant question. In fact…

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