Excursis: Eric Voegelin’s voncept of ‘gnosis’
After 1939, Eric Voegelin moved beyond the sphere of the political religions
to offer a new concept by which to interpret modernity: the concept of
‘gnosis’.1 Although Voegelin continues here with the ideas of Die politischen
Religionen – above all, with the notion that the modern spirit has become
detached from its religious roots – he erects a different conceptual structure.
The grounds for the change are presented in a study entitled The People of
God, which he drafted soon after emigrating to the United States in 1938.
Voegelin’s approach to modern gnosis might be said to consist in three steps, then: from Die politischen Religionen through The People of God to
The New Science of Politics.