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Israel and Revelation

Israel and RevelationIsrael and Revelation by Eric Voegelin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Voegelin is the rarest of writer's and philosophers: the sort who will take you on a thousand-year journey that will, by it's nature, completely and utterly break all of your preconceptions about the ways of the world. "Israel and Revelation" does so by contrasting the way and order of being of ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians to that of a peculiar people who suddenly emerged in their midst - the ancient Hebrew tribes, viz. the people who would be known as Israel. In the process of unfolding the stories of these parallel orders, Voegelin shows just how alien ancient, cosmological civilizations are to our actual, post-cosmological experience. He also subtly reveals just how much of the Western understanding of time (i.e. as "history"), of the representative function of rulers (i.e. as simply the existential representatives of a people in pursuit of pragmatic, worldly goals), secularization, and of an understanding of a transcendent calling to personal morality even in spite of or in opposition to society and the world, is a consequence of the breakthroughs in the thousand-year struggle of Israel, it's Patriarchs, Judges, Priests, and Prophets.

"Order and History" is a necessary read for anyone wishing to break free of the mental straight-jacket of modern Western ideological thinking. He will leave you with no historical materialism, no historical idealism, no romanticism, no -ism's whatsoever. What he'll leave you is an understanding of what people actually experienced, what they wrestled mightily with, and their struggles to communicate it.

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