Published Humanitas, Volume XVI, No.1, 2003

Eric Voegelin: The Restoration of Order, by Michael P. Federici. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2002. xxxvi+249 pp. $24.95 cloth, $14.95 paper.

The discipline of political theory has witnessed some dramatic changes over the past half century. Perhaps the most compelling of these is the ever-growing scholarly dissatisfaction with behaviorism and positivism, and the attendant resurgence of interest in classical and Christian traditional philosophical approaches. The horrors of modern totalitarianism have shattered our illusions about the possibility of a “value-neutral” or strictly “empirical” social science, and have led to a renewed appreciation for the ethical and spiritual roots of Western civilization. As a consequence, one finds a rich body of contemporary literature that not only resurrects the wisdom of Greek, Roman, and Christian political thought, but also calls into question many widely held assumptions about the origins, meaning, and significance of modernity, from political, spiritual, and cultural perspectives. In Eric Voegelin: The Restoration of Order Michael Federici presents a valuable introduction to the thought of perhaps the most reputable post-War political theorist to explore these dynamics with full philosophic and theologic rigor.

While there are at least two outstanding introductory texts already available (Eugene Webb’s Eric Voegelin: Philosopher of History and Ellis Sandoz’s The Voegelinian Revolution, both published in 1981), Federici’s work is distinctive in two ways. First, it seeks to “disseminate Voegelin’s political theory to a broader audience…

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