Race and State (CW2) (The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin #2) (Hardcover)

Race and State (CW2) (The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin #2) By Eric Voegelin, Klaus Vondung (Editor), Klaus Vondung (Introduction by), Ruth Hein (Translated by) Cover Image

Race and State (CW2) (The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin #2) (Hardcover)

By Eric Voegelin, Klaus Vondung (Editor), Klaus Vondung (Introduction by), Ruth Hein (Translated by)

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Other Books in Series

This is book number 2 in the The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin series.

Race and State is the second of five books that Eric Voegehn wrote before his emigration to the United States from Austria in 1938. First published in Germany in 1933, the year Hitler came to power, the study was prompted in part by the rise of national socialism during the preceding year. Yet Voegelin neither descended to the level of contemporary debates on race nor dismissed these debates by way of value judgments. Although still young when he wrote this book, Voegelin already demonstrates his singular analytical capacity as well as his ability to put political phenomena into a new perspective.

In Part I Voegelin analyzes contemporary race theories by placing the question of race in the context of the more comprehensive philoiophical problem of the interrelationships of body, mind, and soul. He demonstrates the intellectual shortcomings and theoretical fallacies of current theories; more important, he contributes to the development of a modern philosophical anthropology that aims, as Helmuth Plessner put it in a review of Race and State, "at a concept of the human being that does justice to its multilayered existence as a physical, vital, psychic, and intellectual being, without making one of these layers the measure and explanatory basis for the others."

In Part II Voegelin deals with race ideas, which he distinguishes from race theories. Race ideas, like other political ideas, form a part of political reality itself, contributing to the formation of social groups and societies. Voegelin shows that the modern race idea is just one "body ideal" among others, such as the tribal state and the Kingdom of Christ, each offering a different symbolic image of community. He traces the rise of the modem race idea, analyzes its function to structure community, and offers an answer to the question of why race ideas became successful in Germany.

Voegelin's meticulous sifting of all the Nazi race literature finally arrives at this blunt statement regarding its overall validity: "In order to preclude even the slightest possibility of a misunderstanding, let us again point out emphatically that the contrasting descriptions of the Semitic and the Aryan, the Jewish and the German character . . . contain little that is true about the nature of Jewishness."

About the Author

Eric 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 Editor

Klaus Vondung is professor of German literature at the University of Siegen.

Product Details ISBN: 9780807118429
ISBN-10: 0807118427
Publisher: University of Missouri
Publication Date: November 1st, 1997
Pages: 256
Language: English
Series: The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin

"The best historical account of race-thinking in the pattern of a `history of ideas."'--Hannah Arendt from Origins of Totalitarianism