On Eric Voegelin’s (1901–1985) Totalitarianism and Gnosticism: Gnosticism As the Nature of Modernity


This paper is part of the a master’s thesis in progress. The chosen theme arises from the need to understand the relation that the political philosopher makes between totalitarianism and ideologies, Gnosticism and modernity. For this research, two basic concepts proposed by his philosophical-political theory will be used as fundamental theoretical base: political religions and Gnosticism. Voegelin used the concept of political religions as one of the initial elements of his analysis of twentieth-century political movements - notably National Socialism in Germany and Stalinist socialism. With extensive work and career as a scholar, he took on the task of investigating the deep origins of the political ideologies of his time. His project was being outlined through criticism of the ideologies of his time and research for spiritual causes of it. He investigated the symbolism in history in order to recover the formative experiences that gave rise to them, introducing the idea of Gnosticism as the foundation of the nature of modernity. The author's claim that modern ideological movements reflect a tendency to immanentizing Christian eschatology instigates a broader understanding of the phenomenon. This topic is extremely current, possibly opening perspectives to start to understand totalitarianism and its repercussion in the contemporary world.

Author Information
Adelaide Pimenta, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, Brazil

Paper Information
Conference: ECERP2017
Stream: Religion - Theism and Atheism

This paper is part of the ECERP2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon