Republicanism, Religion, and the Soul of America
Publication Year: 2006
As debates rage over the place of faith in our national life, Tocqueville’s nineteenth-century crediting of religion for shaping America is largely overlooked today. Now, in Republicanism, Religion, and the Soul of America, Ellis Sandoz reveals the major role that Protestant Christianity played in the formation and early period of the American republic. Sandoz traces the rise of republican government from key sources in Protestant civilization, paying particular attention to the influence of the Bible on the Founders and the blossoming of the American mind in the eighteenth century.
Sandoz analyzes the religious debt of the emergent American community and its elevation of the individual person as unique in the eyes of the Creator. He shows that the true distinction of American republicanism lies in its grounding of human dignity in spiritual individualism and an understanding of man’s capacity for self-government under providential guidance. Along the way, he addresses such topics as the neglected question of the education of the Founders for their unique endeavor, common law constitutionalism, the place of Latin and Greek classics in the Founders’ thought, and the texture of religious experience from the Great Awakening to the Declaration of Independence
To establish a unifying theoretical perspective for his study, Sandoz considers the philosophical underpinnings of religion and the contribution that Eric Voegelin made to our understanding of religious experience. He contributes fresh studies of the character of Voegelin’s thought: its relationship to Christianity; his debate with Leo Strauss over reason, revelation, and the meaning of philosophy; and the theory of Gnosticism as basic to radical modernity. He also provides a powerful account of the spirit of Voegelin’s later writings, contrasting the political scientist with the meditative spiritualist and offering new insight into volume 5 of Order and History.
Republicanism, Religion, and the Soul of America concludes with timely reflections on the epoch now unfolding in the shadow of Islamic jihadism. Bringing a wide range of materials into a single volume, it confronts current academic concerns with religion while offering new insight into the construction of the American polity—and the heart of Americanism as we know it today.
Published by: University of Missouri Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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This book traces the rise of republican government, and the republicanspirit of consent and individual dignity, from key sources in WesternChristian Protestant civilization—with particular attention to the Bibleand to the emergence of the American mind in the eighteenth centuryculminating in 1776 and the constitutional founding of free govern-...
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Several of the chapters appeared previously in published form and arefound here revised and enlarged. Chapter one began as the “JohnWitherspoon Lecture” (Washington, DC, April 2004) and was publishedin Italian translation in Culture costituzionali a confronto. Europa e StatiUniti dall’età delle rivoluzioni all’età contem Cuporanea, ed. Fernanda...
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1. Republicanism and Religion: Some Contextual Considerations
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Despite the Enlightenment’s concerted project of doing away with theBible as the basis of political and social order in favor of “Reason,”1 reli-gion today continues to condition politics as an undergirding belieffoundation: Men always have God or idols, as Luther long ago said.The present war against terrorism with its religious dimensions evident...
2. Foundations of American Liberty and Rule of Law
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The argument I wish to offer regarding the foundations of Americanliberty and rule of law (or constitutionalism, a word invented by Ameri-cans at the time) stresses the debt of the founders to their civilizationalpast.1 Whether, or to what degree, the Anglo-American constitutionaland philosophical past was and is unique is largely a matter for another...
3. Education and the American Founding
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While virtually everyone has agreed that the American founding andsignificance and formative importance in modern history, what besidesblind good luck and raw talent in able men somehow disposed to col-laborate and to act at a propitious moment lay behind the achievement?Thus, in looking for at least a few explanatory clues, I propose to ap-...
4. Americanism: The Question of Community in Politics
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I write here in a synoptic way, summarizing themes addressed morefully in the previous three chapters for the purpose of concisely clarify-ing the meaning of Americanism. Let me open with the words on thesubject from a representative expert, Theodore Roosevelt, who said theThere is one quality which we must bring to the solution of every...
5. Carrying Coals to Newcastle: Voegelin and Christianity
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The question is about Eric Voegelin’s relationship to Christianity. WasVoegelin a Christian? Is his philosophy a Christian philosophy? The per-sonal and scholarly issues must be divided and subdivided for my fewFrom the time I first heard him lecture, when I was a young under-graduate student in 1949, I never doubted that Voegelin was profoundly...
6. Medieval Rationalism or Mystic Philosophy? : The Strauss-Voegelin Debate
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The fascinating correspondence between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelinraises more questions than it answers, if merely taken by itself.1 Thereare, to be sure, a number of extremely valuable debates that arise be-tween the two writers, especially in the letters of 1949 through 1951.Often, however, the exchange gives only straws in the wind and a sense...
7. Gnosticism and Modernity
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Since its first appearance in German in 1959, Voegelin’s Science, Poli-tics, and Gnosticism. has become a classic of modern political theory.1It demonstrates the power of Voegelin’s thought, its lucidity of expres-sion, and provides an analysis of the demonic in modern existence ofunique insight and cogency. It also displays the grounds of the new...
8. The Spirit of Voegelin’s Late Work
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The principal work by Voegelin written in the final years of his life andpublished posthumously includes the final volume of Order and History,entitled In Search of Order, his deathbed meditation dictated to PaulCaringella, “Quod Deus Dicitur,” and the unfinished Aquinas Lecturetitled “The Beginning and the Beyond: A Meditation on Truth.”1 While...
9. Truth and the Experience of Epoch in History
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It is uneasily suspected that we may be living through some sort ofgrand transition or even epoch in the history of mankind. Since anepoch, like Nessy, is much rumored, seldom seen, difficult to discern inthe impenetrable fog of futurity, and—if this really is one—will bethe first one directly experienced by the living generations of mankind,...
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Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2006
Series Title: ERIC VOEGELIN INST SERIES
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth