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Abstract

1944 Eric Voegelin wrote to Leo Strauss that the world of medieval Jewish interpretation of the Bible was a foreign world for him. In 1956, in his Israel and Revelation, he still does not mention any Jewish interpretation of what he calls the Old Testament. My points: 1. What does relying on Old Testament science, a science that does not include rabbinic literature when reading the Scriptures, mean? Eric Voegelin argues that the development of this Testament belongs to the Prophets and to the Gospel as though a post biblical Jewish tradition was illegitimate. He argues that his view is “objective” yet it is also a very traditional Christian one: the potentialities of the compact Jewish symbols were discovered by Christian people not by the Jews. 2. The liberation from the bondage in Egypt under the guidance of Moses: Voegelin describes him as a man who prefigured the Son of God. But he is not yet a real person as Jesus will be. He describes this story as a drama of the soul and as a liberation from Sheol. Yet it was a failure because Israel wanted to reach the Promised Land although the Kingdom of God is not of this world. All along these pages Voegelin describes the Jewish People in a very negative way: the Jews and Moses were prisoners of a collective symbol and had not discovered the individual personality. He who argues otherwise distorts the “real meaning” of the text. 3. From the point of view of world history the Old Testament is both an epochal event (Revelation) and a failure in spite of the Prophets. Therefore Israel had to disappear as such, it had to undergo an Exodus from itself. Now what does “foreign” mean in the quotation I mentioned above? It refers to what is foreign to the reality of true Redemption. Conclusion: Christian universality versus human universality.

In: Israel and the Cosmological Empires of the Ancient Orient
Eric Voegelin-Studies: Supplements flankiert als wissenschaftliche Buchreihe das 2022 startende Eric-Voegelin-Jahrbuch und bietet ein ideales Forum, spezifische Aspekte der dort erscheinenden Beiträge weiter auszuführen. So entstehen Spielräume für kleinere oder größere Monografien sowie Publikationen mehrerer Autor:innen. Wie das Yearbook sind die Supplements als internationales und interdisziplinäres Projekt konzipiert. Sie sollen den wissenschaftlichen Austausch und die internationale Zusammenarbeit über Voegelins Werk erweitern.