Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Reader 1

Professor Hans Rindisbacher

Reader 2

Professor Friederike von Schwerin-High

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2023 Cody R Babcock


The Holocaust shook the core assumptions many held regarding human progress and human nature. This paper seeks to track how the ideas of modernist philosophers may have laid the fundamental political and moral assumptions that allowed the Holocaust to occur. I will offer an analysis of 20th century German-American political scientist and philosopher Eric Voegelin’s theory of Political Religions to assess whether philosophy emerging from the Modern era led Germany to eschew Christianity, a world-transcendent religion as the source of the West’s “first principles,” and adopt the world-imminent religion of Nazism in its place. If this proves to be the case, with Nazism showing the problem of rights derived from the State, then Voegelin’s work can help us understand the shortcomings of modern thought through a novel philosophical and anthropological lens.