Eric Voegelin (born Erich Hermann Wilhelm Vögelin; 1901–1985) was a German-American philosopher, variously described as a political philosopher, Christian philosopher, and/or perennial philosopher.
He was born in Cologne, but his parents moved to Vienna in 1910, and he eventually became a teacher at the University of Vienna.
It remains controversial how sympathetic Voegelin was towards the Austrian authoritarian leader Engelbert Dollfuss. Voegelin's supporter insist that The Authoritarian State (1936) was only a study of the Austrian constitution. Regardless, other writings were disliked by the National Socialists, and, after the Anschluss, he was dismissed. Voegelin supposedly narrowly escaped the Gestapo and moved to the United States.
Voegelin opposed what he believed to be unsound Gnostic influences in politics. Because Voegelin applied the concept of gnosis to a wide array of ideologies and movements such as Communism, National Socialism, progressivism, liberalism, and humanism, critics have proposed that Voegelin's concept of Gnosis lacks theoretical precision and is more of an invective.