By closely examining the sources, movements and persons of the Renaissance and Reformation, Eric Voegelin reveals the roots of today's political ideologies in this fourth volume of his ""History of Political Ideas"". This study lays the groundwork for his critique of the modern period and is essential to an understanding of his later analysis. Voegelin identifies not one but two distinct beginnings of the movement toward modern political consciousness: the Renaissance and the Reformation. This volume considers both periods and their presence in modern thought. Represented by the works of Niccolo Machiavelli, Desiderius Erasmus and Thomas More, the Renaissance is characterized by Voegelin as a struggle for balance. Exploring the transition from Renaissance to Reformation is a chapter entitled, ""The People of God"", which examines the sectarian movement. These pages contain the historical background that led to Voegelin's later conclusions about Gnosticism and its modern influences. Voegelin is unenthusiastic about the political philosophy of the Reformation, saying, ""We cannot connect it with the name of a single great political thinker"". Yet he illuminates the strengths and inadequacies of its key figures, Martin Luther and John Calvin. By analyzing the political ideas that first emerged during the Renaissance and Reformation, this volume provides a foundation for understanding the events of following centuries.
About the AuthorEric Voegelin (1901-1985) was one of the most original and influential philosophers of our time. Born in Cologne, Germany, he studied at the University of Vienna, where he became a professor of political science in the Faculty of Law. In 1938, he and his wife, fleeing Hitler, emigrated to the United States. They became American citizens in 1944. Voegelin spent much of his career at Louisiana State University, the University of Munich, and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. During his lifetime he published many books and more than one hundred articles. The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin will make available in a uniform edition all of Voegelin's major writings. About the EditorsDavid L. Morse is Senior Pastor of Monroeville United Methodist Church in Pennsylvania. He is also Adjunct Professor in the Theology Department at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He has written his doctoral dissertation on Eric Voegelin.William M. Thompson is Professor of Systematic Theology at Duquesne University. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Voegelin and the Theologian: Ten Essays in Interpretation.