"The Concept of Gnosticism and the Analysis of Spiritual Disorder" By Michael Franz
This article attempts to establish a rather simple point: Although Eric Voegelin’s analysis of spiritual disorder or “Gnosticism” stands as one of the greatest accomplishments of 20th century political science, the concept of Gnosticism itself has lost its theoretical viability. The undermining of the concept is, I shall argue, partly due to advancements in our understanding of the historical Gnostics, and partly due to late advancements in Voegelin’s own analytical approach.
"Nikolai Berdiaev and Spiritual Freedom" By Maria Nemcova Banerjee
Born in an aristocratic family in Kiev, Nikolai Berdiaev (1874–1948) lived through the cataclysmic events of the first half of a century whose aftershocks still haunt us. . . . Four times arrested on political suspicion, first by the Imperial and then by the Bolshevik police, he died an exile after years of intense intellectual activity, at a philosophical distance from actuality. He was never more than a curious but unwelcome guest in history. He fearlessly engaged it on the level of ideas while remaining alien to its means and ends, gifted with an incurable longing for transcendence.
"Josef Pieper’s Contemplative Assent to the World" By Thomas Austenfeld
American readers encountering the life and work of Josef Pieper are required to perform the labor of cultural translation. As a German, a Catholic philosopher, a conservative sociologist, a writer of crisp and deliberate prose, a man whose lifetime measured the entire breadth of the twentieth century (1904–1997), Pieper may be no less remote from our world than Ralph Waldo Emerson with whom he shares the gift of clear and distinct expression though none of his other attributes. If all of Pieper’s attributes are potential obstacles to our appreciation of his work, they can at the same time become pathways for us to travel towards him.
"Decentralism and Meritorious Government: Reflections on Jeff Taylor’s Politics on a Human Scale," By Timothy J. Barnett
As Jeff Taylor shows, history amply demonstrates how concentrated power fosters serious ills, especially when the administration of the power is largely unfettered. While decentralism shorn of civic virtue is no cure to governmental malpractice, civic virtue alone in a centralized republic lacks instrumental means or “teeth.” If checks and balances are to matter, they must arise from government stations with hybrid “inside/outside status.”
"Welfare and Amenity in the Work of Bertrand de Jouvenel" By Dennis Hale
Jouvenel . . . acknowledges that the economics profession has replaced political science as the chief advisors of the world’s statesmen.5 The “close relationship between live politics and academic work” that characterizes the economics profession (in the early 1950s, at any rate) guarantees that economists will always get a hearing, and he acknowledges that economists have replaced political scientists as the chief advisors of the world’s statesmen. This does not mean, Jouvenel hastens to add, that the problems faced by modern statesmen are exclusively economic in nature; far from it. But they are increasingly discussed in economic language. How should this powerful language and the assumptions underlying it be appraised?