Terms and Topics from Voegelin’s New Science of Politics, chapter one

(with approximate page references to Modernity Without Restraint and Chicago editions)

These terms will overlap with the outline of the chapter that is presented in both the University of Chicago paperback edition and the University of Missouri collected works edition (vol. 5), Modernity Without Restraint

“Representation and Existence”

human society—cosmion, symbols illuminated from within, externality (109/27)

critical clarification—relation of “real”/political/social symbols to theoretical symbols  (110/28)

“ideology” // Platonic doxa (111/30)

 defining reality (/30)

elemental representation—commonly understood “representative institutions” (112-113/31-34)

existential representation—political societies as historical power units, “in form for action” (116/36-37)

articulation of a society (117ff/37ff)

·         relation of ruler to society—body politic (117/37-39)

·         “people” out of realm, subjects, estates (119/43-44)

·         force binding society—corpus mysticum, intencio populi, idee directrice (122/43, 44, 48) [Niemeyer: ligatio communis, conatus imperii;

·         foundation/articulation myths (123/45-47)

summary—political societies come into existence when they articulate themselves and produce a representative>”authority


This chapter sets up the three types of political-social representation—elemental, existential, and transcendent—that constitute the main theme of the lectures. The section that discusses social articulation tends heavily into the discussion of transcendent representation that constitutes the next lecture. Voegelin also teaches about the method of political science. This reflects back on the introduction to the lectures.

Additional related readings:

·         Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History—multivolume study of the rise, life, and fall of civilizations

·         Carroll Quigley, Evolution of Civilizations—study comparable to Toynbee’s basic argument

·         Gerhart Niemeyer, “On Authority and Alienation,” in Within and Above Ourselves, 389, 395-6; Ibn Khaldun—analysis of authority that leads to the question of the force binding society