Rudolf Steiner


Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner
Full name Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner
Born 25(27?) February 1861
Murakirály, Austria-Hungary (now Donji Kraljevec, Croatia)
Died 30 March 1925 (aged 64)
Dornach, Switzerland
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Phenomenology, Holism, Monism
Main interests Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophy of science, Esotericism, Christianity, Spiritual Science, Freemasonry
Notable ideas Anthroposophy, Anthroposophical Medicine, Biodynamic Agriculture, Eurythmy, Spiritual Science, Waldorf Education

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner[1] (25 or 27 February 1861[2] in Murakirály, Kingdom of Hungary, Austrian Empire, now Donji Kraljevec, Croatia – 30 March 1925 in Dornach, Switzerland) was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist.[3][4] He gained initial recognition as a literary critic and cultural philosopher. At the beginning of the 20th century, he founded a spiritual movement, Anthroposophy, as an esoteric philosophy growing out of European transcendentalism and with links to Theosophy.

Steiner led this movement through several phases. In the first, more philosophically oriented phase, Steiner attempted to find a synthesis between science and mysticism;[5] his philosophical work of these years, which he termed spiritual science, sought to provide a connection between the cognitive path of Western philosophy and the inner and spiritual needs of the human being.[6]:291 In a second phase, beginning around 1907, he began working collaboratively in a variety of artistic media, including drama, the movement arts (developing a new artistic form, eurythmy) and architecture, culminating in the building of a cultural centre to house all the arts, the Goetheanum. After the First World War, Steiner worked with educators, farmers, doctors, and other professionals to develop Waldorf education, biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophical medicine as well as new directions in numerous other practical areas.[7]

Steiner advocated a form of ethical individualism, to which he later brought a more explicitly spiritual component. He based his epistemology on Johann Wolfgang Goethe's world view, in which “Thinking … is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear. Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas.”[8] A consistent thread that runs from his earliest philosophical phase through his later spiritual orientation is the goal of demonstrating that there are no essential limits to human knowledge.[9]

Contents

Biography

Childhood and education

Steiner's father, Johann(es) Steiner (June 23, 1829, Geras or Trabenreith, Irnfritz-Messern and lived Geras Abbey, Waldviertel – 1910, Horn), left a position as a gamekeeper[10] in the service of Count Hoyos in Geras, northeast Lower Austria to marry one of the Hoyos family's housemaids, Franziska Blie (May 8, 1834, Horn, Waldviertel – 1918, Horn), a marriage for which the Count had refused his permission. Johann became a telegraph operator on the Southern Austrian Railway, and at the time of Rudolf's birth was stationed in Kraljevec in the Muraköz region, then part of the Austrian Empire (present-day Donji Kraljevec, Međimurje region, northernmost Croatia). In the first two years of Rudolf's life, the family moved twice, first to Mödling, near Vienna, and then, through the promotion of his father to stationmaster, to Pottschach, located in the foothills of the eastern Austrian Alps in Lower Austria.[7]

Steiner entered the village school; following a disagreement between his father and the schoolmaster, he was briefly educated at home. At about nine years Steiner experienced seeing the spirit of an aunt who had died in a far-off town asking him to help her; neither he nor his family knew of the woman's death at this time.[11] In 1869 the family moved to the village of Neudörfl (near Wiener Neustadt), and in 1879 to Inzersdorf.

The latter move was to enable Steiner to attend the Vienna Institute of Technology, where he studied mathematics, physics, and philosophy on an academic scholarship from 1879 to 1883.[12]:446 In 1882, one of Steiner's teachers, Karl Julius Schröer, suggested Steiner's name to Joseph Kürschner, editor of a new Deutschen Nationalliteratur edition ('German National Literature') of Goethe's works.[13] Steiner was then asked to become the edition's natural science editor.[14]

The house where Rudolf Steiner was born, in modern Croatia

In his autobiography, Steiner related that at 21, on the train between his home village and Vienna, he met a simple herb gatherer, Felix Kogutzki, who spoke about the spiritual world "as one who had his own experience therein...".[15]:39-40 Kogutzki conveyed to Steiner a knowledge of nature that was non-academic and spiritual; soon thereafter Steiner began to read Goethe's works on natural science. He also introduced Steiner to a person that Steiner only identified as a “Master”, and who had a great influence on Steiner's subsequent development, in particular directing him to study Fichte's philosophy.[16] Over the course of his life Steiner purportedly met with two spiritual masters, the other being Christian Rosenkreutz.[17]

In 1891, Steiner earned a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Rostock in Germany with a thesis based upon Fichte's concept of the ego,[6] later published in expanded form as Truth and Knowledge.[18]

Writer and philosopher

Rudolf Steiner 1900

In 1888, as a result of his work for the Kürschner edition of Goethe's works, Steiner was invited to work as an editor at the Goethe archives in Weimar. Steiner remained with the archive until 1896. As well as the introductions for and commentaries to four volumes of Goethe's scientific writings, Steiner wrote two books about Goethe's philosophy: The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World-Conception (1886)[19] and Goethe's Conception of the World (1897).[20] During this time he also collaborated in complete editions of the works of Arthur Schopenhauer and the writer Jean Paul and wrote numerous articles for various journals.

During his time at the archives, Steiner wrote what he considered from that time forward to be his most important philosophical work, Die Philosophie der Freiheit (The Philosophy of Freedom or The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity—Steiner's preferred English title) (1894), an exploration of epistemology and ethics that suggested a path upon which humans can become spiritually free beings (see below).

In 1896, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche asked Steiner to help organize the Nietzsche archive in Naumburg. Her brother by that time was non compos mentis. Förster-Nietzsche introduced Steiner into the presence of the catatonic philosopher; Steiner, deeply moved, subsequently wrote the book Friedrich Nietzsche, Fighter for Freedom. Of Nietzsche, Steiner says in his autobiography, "Nietzsche's ideas of the 'eternal recurrence' and of 'Übermensch' remained long in my mind. For in these was reflected that which a personality must feel concerning the evolution and essential being of humanity when this personality is kept back from grasping the spiritual world by the restricted thought in the philosophy of nature characterizing the end of the 19th century."[15] "What attracted me particularly was that one could read Nietzsche without coming upon anything which strove to make the reader a 'dependent' of Nietzsche's."[15]

In 1897, Steiner left the Weimar archives and moved to Berlin. He became part owner, chief editor, and active contributor to the literary journal Magazin für Literatur, where he hoped to find a readership sympathetic to his philosophy. His work in the magazine was not well received by its readership. Many subscribers were alienated by Steiner's unpopular support of Émile Zola in the Dreyfus Affair[21] and the journal lost more subscribers when Steiner published extracts from his correspondence with anarchist writer John Henry Mackay.[21] Dissatisfaction with his editorial style eventually led to his departure from the magazine.

In 1899, Steiner married Anna Eunicke; the couple separated several years later. Anna died in 1911.

Steiner and the Theosophical Society

Marie Steiner 1903

In 1899, Steiner published an article in his Magazin für Literatur, titled “Goethe's Secret Revelation”, on the esoteric nature of Goethe's fairy tale, The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily. This article led to an invitation by the Count and Countess Brockdorff to speak to a gathering of Theosophists on the subject of Nietzsche. Steiner continued speaking regularly to the members of the Theosophical Society, becoming the head of its newly constituted German section in 1902 without ever formally joining the society.[6][22] It was within this society that Steiner met and worked with Marie von Sivers, who became his second wife in 1914. By 1904, Steiner was appointed by Annie Besant to be leader of the Theosophical Esoteric Society for Germany and Austria.

The German Section of the Theosophical Society grew rapidly under Steiner's leadership as he lectured throughout much of Europe on his spiritual science. During this period, Steiner maintained an original approach, replacing Madame Blavatsky's terminology with his own, and basing his spiritual research and teachings upon the Western esoteric and philosophical tradition. This and other differences, in particular Steiner's vocal rejection of Leadbeater and Besant's claim that Jiddu Krishnamurti was the vehicle of a new Maitreya, or world teacher,[23] led to a formal split in 1912/13,[6] when Steiner and the majority of members of the German section of the Theosophical Society broke off to form a new group, the Anthroposophical Society.

The Anthroposophical Society and its cultural activities

English sculptor Edith Maryon belonged to the innermost circle of founders of anthroposophy and headed the Section of Fine Arts at the Goetheanum

The Anthroposophical Society grew rapidly. Fueled by a need to find a home for their yearly conferences, which included performances of plays written by Eduard Schuré as well as Steiner himself, the decision was made to build a theater and organizational center. In 1913, construction began on the first Goetheanum building, in Dornach, Switzerland. The building, designed by Steiner, was built to a significant part by volunteers who offered craftsmanship or simply a will to learn new skills. Once World War I started in 1914, the Goetheanum volunteers could hear the sound of cannon fire beyond the Swiss border, but despite the war, people from all over Europe worked peaceably side by side on the building's construction.

Beginning in 1919, Steiner was called upon to assist with numerous practical activities (see below), including the first Waldorf school, founded that year in Stuttgart, Germany. His lecture activity expanded enormously. At the same time, the Goetheanum developed as a wide-ranging cultural centre. On New Year's Eve, 1922/1923, the building burned to the ground; contemporary police reports indicate arson as the probable cause.[7]:752[24]:796 Steiner immediately began work designing a second Goetheanum building –this time made of concrete instead of wood – which was completed in 1928, three years after his death.

In 1923, Steiner founded a School of Spiritual Science, intended as an "organ of initiative" for research and study and as "the soul of the Anthroposophical Society".[25] This included a general course of study based on meditative exercises (intended to guide a meditant from «the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the universe.»)[26] and specific departments, including education, medicine, agriculture, art, natural science, social science, and literature. Steiner spoke of laying the Foundation Stone of the new society in the hearts of his listeners.

Social reform

Steiner became a well-known and controversial public figure during and after World War I. In response to the catastrophic situation in post-war Germany, he proposed extensive social reforms through the establishment of a Threefold Social Order in which the cultural, political and economic realms would be largely independent. Steiner argued that a fusion of the three realms had created the inflexibility that had led to catastrophes such as World War I. In connection with this, he promoted a radical solution in the disputed area of Upper Silesia, claimed by both Poland and Germany; his suggestion that this area be granted at least provisional independence led to his being publicly accused of being a traitor to Germany.[27]

In 1919, Steiner's chief work on social reform (English title: Toward Social Renewal) was released simultaneously in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and sold some 80,000 copies in the first year.

Attacks, illness, and death

Right wing groups had been rapidly gaining strength in Germany. In 1919, the political theorist of the National Socialist movement in Germany, Dietrich Eckart, attacked Steiner and suggested that he was a Jew.[28] In 1921, Adolf Hitler attacked Steiner in an article in the right-wing Völkischer Beobachter newspaper that included accusations that Steiner was a tool of the Jews,[29] and other nationalist extremists in Germany called up a "war against Steiner". In 1922 a lecture in Munich was disrupted when stink bombs were let off and the lights switched out.[30][31] Unable to guarantee his safety, Steiner's agents cancelled a next lecture tour.[21]:193[32] The 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Munich led Steiner to give up his residence in Berlin, saying that if those responsible for the attempted coup [Hitler and others] came to power in Germany, it would no longer be possible for him to enter the country;[33] he also warned against the disastrous effects it would have for Central Europe if the National Socialists came to power.[28]:8

The loss of the Goetheanum affected Steiner's health seriously. From 1923 on, he showed signs of increasing frailness and illness. He continued to lecture widely, and even to travel; especially towards the end of this time, he was often giving two, three or even four lectures daily for courses taking place concurrently. Many of these were for practical areas of life; simultaneously, however, Steiner began an extensive series of lectures presenting his research on the successive incarnations of various individualities, and on the technique of karma research generally.[34]

Increasingly ill, his last lecture was held in September, 1924. He continued to write on his autobiography during the last months of his life; he died on 30 March 1925.

Spiritual research

From 1899 until his death in 1925, Steiner articulated an ongoing stream of experiences that he claimed were of the spiritual world — experiences he said had touched him from an early age on.[21] Steiner aimed to apply his training in mathematics, science, and philosophy to produce rigorous, verifiable presentations of those experiences.[35]

Steiner believed that through freely chosen ethical disciplines and meditative training, anyone could develop the ability to experience the spiritual world, including the higher nature of oneself and others.[21] Steiner believed that such discipline and training would help a person to become a more moral, creative and free individual - free in the sense of being capable of actions motivated solely by love.[36]

Steiner's ideas about the inner life were influenced by Franz Brentano,[21] with whom he had studied, and Wilhelm Dilthey, both founders of the phenomenological movement in European philosophy, as well as the transcendentalist philosophers Fichte, Hegel, and Schelling. Steiner was also strongly influenced by Goethe's phenomenological approach to science.[21][37][38]

Steiner led the following esoteric schools:

  • His independent Esoteric School of the Theosophical Society, founded in 1904. This school continued after the break with Theosophy but was disbanded at the start of World War I.
  • A lodge called Mystica Aeterna within the Masonic Order of Memphis and Mizraim, which Steiner led from 1906 until around 1914. Steiner added to the Masonic rite a number of Rosicrucian references.[39] The figure of Christian Rosenkreutz also plays an important role in several of his later lectures.
  • The School of Spiritual Science of the Anthroposophical Society, founded in 1923 as a further development of his earlier Esoteric School. The School of Spiritual Science was intended to have three “classes”, but only the first of these was developed in Steiner's lifetime. All the texts relating to the “School of Spiritual Science” have been published in the full edition of Steiner's works.

Breadth of activity

After the First World War, Steiner became active in a wide variety of cultural contexts. He founded a number of schools, the first of which was known as the Waldorf school,[40] and which later evolved into a worldwide school network. He also founded a system of organic agriculture, now known as Biodynamic agriculture, which was one of the very first forms of, and has contributed significantly to the development of, modern organic farming.[41] His work in medicine led to the development of a broad range of complementary medications and supportive artistic and biographic therapies.[42] Homes for children and adults with developmental disabilities based on his work (including those of the Camphill movement) are widespread.[43] His paintings and drawings influenced Joseph Beuys and other modern artists. His two Goetheanum buildings are generally accepted to be masterpieces of modern architecture,[44][45] and other anthroposophical architects have contributed thousands of buildings to the modern scene. One of the first institutions to practice ethical banking was an anthroposophical bank working out of Steiner's ideas.

Steiner's literary estate is correspondingly broad. Steiner's writings, published in about forty volumes, include books, essays, four plays ('mystery dramas'), mantric verse, and an autobiography. His collected lectures, making up another approximately 300 volumes, discuss an extremely wide range of themes. Steiner's drawings, chiefly illustrations done on blackboards during his lectures, are collected in a separate series of 28 volumes. Many publications have covered his architectural legacy and sculptural work.

Education

The Waldorf school in Verrières-le-Buisson (France)

As a young man, Steiner already supported the independence of educational institutions from governmental control. In 1907, he wrote an essay on "Education in the Light of Spiritual Science", in which he described the major phases of child development that were later to form the foundation of his approach to education.

In 1919, Emil Molt invited him to lecture to the workers at Molt's factory in Stuttgart. Out of these lectures came a new school, the Waldorf school. In 1922, Steiner brought these ideas to Oxford at the invitation of Professor Millicent Mackenzie and the Oxford Conference led to the founding of Waldorf schools in Britain.[46] During Steiner's lifetime, schools based on his educational principles were also founded in Hamburg, Essen, The Hague and London; there are now more than 1000 Waldorf schools worldwide.

Social activism

For a period after World War I, Steiner was extremely active as a lecturer on social reform. A petition expressing his basic social ideas (signed by Herman Hesse, among others) was very widely circulated.

His chief book on social reform, Toward Social Renewal, sold tens of thousands of copies in his lifetime. In this, Steiner suggested that the cultural, political and economic spheres of society needs to work together as consciously cooperating yet independent entities. Each of these three realms has a particular task: political institutions should establish political equality and protect human rights; cultural institutions should cultivate the free and unhindered development of such realms as science, art, education and religion; and economic institutions should encourage producers, distributors and consumers to cooperate to provide for society's needs.[47] He saw the establishment of what he called Threefold Social Order as a vital response to what he saw as an already visible trend toward the mutual independence of these three realms: governments; cultural life; and economic institutions. Steiner saw theocracy, conventional shareholder capitalism, and state socialism as attempts by one of the three realms to dominate the others. In the present day, he suggested, such attempts by any one of these spheres to manipulate another would be contrary to society's interests; such negative mutual influences would include e.g. corporate pressure on governments, state attempts to interfere with science, education, or religion, or religious influences on governmental entities.

To achieve greater relative independence:

  • The cultural realm (science, art, religion, education, and the press) requires freedom (rather than domination by economic or governmental interests;
  • The political realm demands equality (rather than political control by special interests, whether of an economic or ideological nature);
  • The economic realm requires uncoerced, self-organizing cooperation and solidarity (rather than state control).

Steiner also gave many suggestions for many specific social reforms.

Architecture and visual arts

First Goetheanum.

Steiner designed 17 buildings, including the First and Second Goetheanums. These two buildings, built in Dornach, Switzerland, were intended to house significant theater spaces as well as a School for Spiritual Science. Three of Steiner's buildings, including both Goetheanum buildings, have been listed amongst the most significant works of modern architecture.[48]

The Representative of Humanity (detail).

His primary sculptural work is The Representative of Humanity (1922), a nine-meter high wood sculpture executed as a joint project with the sculptor Edith Maryon and now on permanent display at the Goetheanum.

Steiner's blackboard drawings were unique at the time and almost certainly not originally intended as art works. Josef Beuys' work, itself heavily influenced by Steiner, has led to the modern understanding of Steiner's drawings as artistic objects.[49]

Performing arts

Together with Marie Steiner-von Sivers, Rudolf Steiner developed the art of eurythmy, sometimes referred to as "visible speech and visible song". According to the principles of eurythmy, there are archetypal movements or gestures that correspond to every aspect of speech - the sounds (or phonemes), the rhythms, and the grammatical function - to every "soul quality" - joy, despair, tenderness, etc. - and to every aspect of music - tones, intervals, rhythms, and harmonies.

As a playwright, Steiner wrote four "Mystery Dramas" between 1909 and 1913, including The Portal of Initiation and The Soul's Awakening. They are still performed today by Anthroposophical groups.

Steiner also founded a new approach to artistic speech, or "speech formation", and drama. Michael Chekhov took up and extended Steiner's approach in what is now known as the Chekhov method of acting.[50]

Anthroposophical medicine

From the late 1910s, Steiner was working with doctors to create a new approach to medicine. In 1921, pharmacists and physicians gathered under Steiner's guidance to create a pharmaceutical company called Weleda which now distributes natural medical products worldwide. At around the same time, Dr. Ita Wegman founded a first anthroposophic medical clinic in Arlesheim, Switzerland (now called the Wegman Clinic).

Biodynamic farming and gardening

In 1924, a group of farmers concerned about the future of agriculture requested Steiner's help. Steiner responded with a lecture series on an ecological and sustainable approach to agriculture that increased soil fertility without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.[51] Biodynamic agriculture is now practiced widely in Europe, North America, and Australasia.[52][53][54]

A central aspect of biodynamics is that the farm as a whole is seen as an organism, and therefore should be a largely self-sustaining system, producing its own manure and animal feed. Plant or animal disease is seen a symptom of problems in the whole organism. Steiner also suggested timing agricultural activities such as sowing, weeding, and harvesting to utilize the influences on plant growth of the moon and planets; and the application of natural materials prepared in specific ways to the soil, compost, and crops, with the intention of engaging non-physical beings and elemental forces. He encouraged his listeners to verify his suggestions empirically, as he had not yet done.

Philosophical development

Goethean science

In his commentaries on Goethe's scientific works, written between 1884 and 1897, Steiner presented Goethe's approach to science as essentially phenomenological in nature, rather than theory- or model-based. He developed this conception further in several books, The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World-Conception (1886) and Goethe's Conception of the World (1897), particularly emphasizing the transformation in Goethe's approach from the physical sciences, where experiment played the primary role, to plant biology, where imagination was required to find the biological archetypes (Urpflanze), and postulated that Goethe had sought but been unable to fully find the further transformation in scientific thinking necessary to properly interpret and understand the animal kingdom.[55]

Steiner defended Goethe's qualitative description of color as arising synthetically from the polarity of light and darkness, in contrast to Newton's particle-based and analytic conception. He emphasized the role of evolutionary thinking in Goethe's discovery of the intermaxillary bone in human beings; Goethe expected human anatomy to be an evolutionary transformation of animal anatomy.[55]

Knowledge and freedom

Steiner approached the philosophical questions of knowledge and freedom in two stages. The first was his dissertation, published in expanded form in 1892 as Truth and Knowledge. Here Steiner suggests that there is an inconsistency between Kant's philosophy, which postulated that the essential verity of the world was inaccessible to human consciousness, and modern science, which assumes that all influences can be found in what Steiner termed the “sinnlichen und geistlichen” (sensory and mental/spiritual) world to which we have access. Steiner terms Kant's “Jenseits-Philosophie” (philosophy of an inaccessible beyond) a stumbling block in achieving a satisfying philosophical viewpoint.[56]

Steiner postulates that the world is essentially an indivisible unity, but that our consciousness divides it into the sense-perceptible appearance, on the one hand, and the formal nature accessible to our thinking, on the other. He sees in thinking itself an element that can be strengthened and deepened sufficiently to penetrate all that our senses do not reveal to us. Steiner thus explicitly denies all justification to a division between faith and knowledge; otherwise expressed, between the spiritual and natural worlds. Their apparent duality is conditioned by the structure of our consciousness, which separates perception and thinking, but these two faculties give us two complementary views of the same world; neither has primacy and the two together are necessary and sufficient to arrive at a complete understanding of the world. In thinking about perception (the path of natural science) and perceiving the process of thinking (the path of spiritual training), it is possible to discover a hidden inner unity between the two poles of our experience.[36]:Chapter 4

Truth, for Steiner, is paradoxically both an objective discovery and yet "a free creation of the human spirit, that never would exist at all if we did not generate it ourselves. The task of understanding is not to replicate in conceptual form something that already exists, but rather to create a wholly new realm, that together with the world given to our senses constitutes the fullness of reality."[57]

A new stage of Steiner's philosophical development is expressed in his Philosophy of Freedom. Here, he further explores potentials within thinking: freedom, he suggests, can only be approached asymptotically and with the aid of the "creative activity" of thinking. Thinking can be a free deed; in addition, it can liberate our will from its subservience to our instincts and drives. Free deeds, he suggests, are those for which we are fully conscious of the motive for our action; freedom is the spiritual activity of penetrating with consciousness our own nature and that of the world,[58] and the real activity of acting in full consciousness.[36]:133-4 This includes overcoming influences of both heredity and environment: "To be free is to be capable of thinking one's own thoughts - not the thoughts merely of the body, or of society, but thoughts generated by one's deepest, most original, most essential and spiritual self, one's individuality."[6]

Steiner affirms Darwin's and Haeckel's evolutionary perspectives but extends this beyond its materialistic consequences; he sees human consciousness, indeed, all human culture, as a product of natural evolution that transcends itself. For Steiner, nature becomes self-conscious in the human being. Steiner's description of the nature of human consciousness thus closely parallels that of Solovyov:[59]

In human beings, the absolute subject-object appears as such, i.e. as pure spiritual activity, containing all of its own objectivity, the whole process of its natural manifestation, but containing it totally ideally - in consciousness....The subject knows here only its own activity as an objective activity (sub specie object). Thus, the original identity of subject and object is restored in philosophical knowledge.[60]

Spiritual science

In his earliest works, Steiner already spoke of the "natural and spiritual worlds" as a unity.[21] From 1900 on, he began lecturing about concrete details of the spiritual world(s), culminating in the publication in 1904 of the first of several systematic presentations, his Theosophy: An Introduction to the Spiritual Processes in Human Life and in the Cosmos, followed by How to Know Higher Worlds (1904/5), Cosmic Memory (a collection of articles written between 1904 and 1908), and An Outline of Esoteric Science (1910). Important themes include:

  • the human being as body, soul and spirit;
  • the path of spiritual development;
  • spiritual influences on world-evolution and history; and
  • reincarnation and karma.

Steiner emphasized that there is an objective natural and spiritual world that can be known, and that perceptions of the spiritual world and incorporeal beings are, under conditions of training comparable to that required for the natural sciences, including self-discipline, replicable by multiple observers. It is on this basis that spiritual science is possible, with radically different epistemological foundations than those of natural science.

For Steiner, the cosmos is permeated and continually transformed by the creative activity of non-physical processes and spiritual beings. For the human being to become conscious of the objective reality of these processes and beings, it is necessary to creatively enact and reenact, within, their creative activity. Thus objective spiritual knowledge always entails creative inner activity.[21] Steiner articulated three stages of any creative deed:[36]:Pt II, Chapter 1

  • Moral intuition: the ability to discover or, preferably, develop valid ethical principles;
  • Moral imagination: the imaginative transformation of such principles into a concrete intention applicable to the particular situation (situational ethics); and
  • Moral technique: the realization of the intended transformation, depending on a mastery of practical skills.

Steiner termed his work from this period on Anthroposophy. He emphasized that the spiritual path he articulated builds upon and supports individual freedom and independent judgment; for the results of spiritual research to be appropriately presented in a modern context they must be in a form accessible to logical understanding, so that those who do not have access to the spiritual experiences underlying anthroposophical research can make independent evaluations of the latter's results.[36] Spiritual training is to support what Steiner considered the overall purpose of human evolution, the development of the mutually interdependent qualities of love and freedom.[6]

Steiner and Christianity

In 1899 Steiner experienced what he described as a life-transforming inner encounter with the being of Christ; previously he had little or no relation to Christianity in any form. Then and thereafter, his relationship to Christianity remained entirely founded upon personal experience, and thus both non-denominational and strikingly different from conventional religious forms.[6] Steiner was then 38, and the experience of meeting the Christ occurred after a tremendous inner struggle. To use Steiner's own words the "experience culminated in my standing in the spiritual presence of the Mystery of Golgotha in a most profound and solemn festival of knowledge.” [61]

Christ and human evolution

Steiner describes Christ's being and mission on earth as having a central place in human evolution:[62] To comprehend the central role of the Christ in Steiner's spiritual philosophy it is necessary to understand the esoteric cosmology that he espoused. In Steiner's theory of cosmic evolution, the incremental spiritual development of the human form is interwoven and inseparable from the cosmological development of the universe. This evolution and gradual descent into matter occurs over vast cosmic periods, or yugas. The Christ being brings the impulse which enables humanity's conscious ascent back into the spiritual worlds. [63]

The being of Christ is central to all religions, though called by different names by each.
Every religion is valid and true for the time and cultural context in which it was born.
Historical forms of Christianity need to be transformed considerably in our times in order to meet the on-going evolution of humanity.

It is the being that unifies all religions — and not a particular religious faith — that Steiner saw as the central force in human evolution. He understood Christ's incarnation as a historical reality, and a pivotal point in human history, however. The "Christ Being" is for Steiner not only the Redeemer of the Fall from Paradise, but also the unique pivot and meaning of earth's "evolutionary" processes and of all human history.[62] The essence of being "Christian" is, for Steiner, a search for balance between polarizing extremes[62]:102-3 and the ability to manifest love in freedom.[6]

Divergence from conventional Christian thought

Steiner's views of Christianity diverge from conventional Christian thought in key places, and include gnostic elements.[55] One of the central points of divergence is found in Steiner's views on reincarnation and karma.

Steiner also posited two different Jesus children involved in the Incarnation of the Christ: one child descended from Solomon, as described in the Gospel of Matthew; the other child from Nathan, as described in the Gospel of Luke.[47] He references in this regard the fact that the genealogies given in these two gospels diverge some thirty generations before Jesus' birth.

Steiner's view of the second coming of Christ is also unusual. He suggested that this would not be a physical reappearance, but rather, meant that the Christ being would become manifest in non-physical form, in the "etheric realm" — i.e. visible to spiritual vision and apparent in community life — for increasing numbers of people, beginning around the year 1933. He emphasized that the future would require humanity to recognize this Spirit of Love in all its genuine forms, regardless of how this is named. He also warned that the traditional name, "Christ", might be used, yet the true essence of this Being of Love ignored.[55]

The Christian Community

In the 1920s, Steiner was approached by Friedrich Rittelmeyer, a Lutheran pastor with a congregation in Berlin. Rittelmeyer asked if it was possible to create a more modern form of Christianity. Soon others joined Rittelmeyer — mostly Protestant pastors and theology students, but including several Roman Catholic priests. Steiner offered counsel on renewing the sacraments of their various services, combining Catholicism's emphasis on the rites of a sacred tradition with the emphasis on freedom of thought and a personal relationship to religious life characteristic of modern, Johannine Christianity.[47]

Steiner made it clear, however, that the resulting movement for the renewal of Christianity, which became known as "The Christian Community", was a personal gesture of help to a movement founded by Rittelmeyer and others independently of the Anthroposophical Society.[47] The distinction was important to Steiner because he sought with Anthroposophy to create a scientific, not faith-based, spirituality.[62] For those who wished to find more traditional forms, however, a renewal of the traditional religions was also a vital need of the times.

Reception and controversy

Steiner's work has influenced a broad range of noted personalities. These include the philosophers Albert Schweitzer, Owen Barfield and Richard Tarnas;[citation needed] the writers Saul Bellow,[64] Michael Ende,[65] Selma Lagerlöf,[66] Andrej Belyj,[67][68] David Spangler,[citation needed] William Irwin Thompson,[citation needed] and esotericist Édouard Schuré;[citation needed] the artists Josef Beuys,[69] Wassily Kandinsky,[70][71] and Murray Griffin;[72] actor and acting teacher Michael Chekhov;[73] cinema director Andrei Tarkovsky;[74] and conductor Bruno Walter.[75] Olav Hammer, though sharply critical of esoteric movements generally, terms Steiner "arguably the most historically and philosophically sophisticated spokesperson of the Esoteric Tradition."[76]

Albert Schweitzer wrote that he and Steiner had in common that they had "taken on the life mission of working for the emergence of a true culture enlivened by the ideal of humanity and to encourage people to become truly thinking beings".[77]

American writer and academic Robert Todd Carroll has said of Steiner that "Some of his ideas on education – such as educating the handicapped in the mainstream – are worth considering, although his overall plan for developing the spirit and the soul rather than the intellect cannot be admired".[78]

Scientism

Olav Hammer critiques as scientism Steiner's claim to use a scientific methodology to investigate spiritual phenomena based upon his claims of clairvoyant experience.[76] Steiner regarded the "observations" of spiritual research as more dependable (and above all, consistent) than observations of physical reality yet considered spiritual research as fallible[12] and, perhaps surprisingly, held the view that anyone capable of thinking logically was in a position to correct errors by spiritual researchers.[79]

Race and ethnicity

Steiner's work includes both universalist, humanist elements and historically influenced racial assumptions.[80] Due to the contrast and even contradictions between these elements, "whether a given reader interprets Anthroposophy as racist or not depends upon that reader's concerns."[81] Steiner considered that every people, by dint of a shared language and culture, has a unique essence, which he called its soul or spirit,[76] saw race as a physical manifestation of humanity's spiritual evolution and at times seemed to place races into a complex hierarchy largely derived from contemporary theosophical views, yet he consistently and explicitly subordinated the role of hereditary factors, including race and ethnicity, to individual factors in development.[81] The human individuality, for Steiner, is centered in a person's unique spiritual biography (i.e., the vast sum of an individuality's experiences and development not bound by waking hours or a single lifetime), not the body's accidental qualities.[22] More specifically:

Steiner characterized specific races, nations, and ethnicities in ways that have been termed racist by critics[82] including characterizations of various races and ethnic groups as flowering, others as backward or destined to disappear;[81] and hierarchical views of the spiritual evolution of different races,[83] including—at times, and inconsistently—portraying the white race, European culture, or the Germanic culture as representing the high point of human evolution as of the early 20th century, though describing these as destined to be superseded by future cultures.[81] Nevertheless, his views about German culture were not ethnically based; he saw this culture, in particular Goethe and the German transcendentalists, as the source of spiritual ideals that were of central importance both for the immediate region and for the world.[84]

Throughout his life, Steiner consistently emphasized the core spiritual unity of all the world's peoples and sharply criticized racial prejudice. He articulated beliefs that the individual nature of any person stands higher than any racial, ethnic, national or religious affiliation;[7][47] that race and ethnicity are transient and superficial, not essential aspects of the individual;[81] that each individual incarnates among / as part of many different peoples and races over successive lives, thus bearing within him- or herself a range of races and peoples;[81][85] and that race is rapidly losing any remaining significance for humanity.[81]

Above all, Steiner considered "race, folk, ethnicity and gender" to be general, describable categories into which individuals may choose to fit, but from which free human beings can and will liberate themselves.[22]

Judaism

During the years when Steiner was best known as a literary critic, he published a series of articles attacking various manifestations of antisemitism[86] and criticizing some of the most prominent anti-Semites of the time as "barbaric" and "enemies of culture".[87] Towards the end of his life and after his death, massive defamatory press attacks against Steiner were undertaken by early National Socialist leaders (including Adolf Hitler) and other right-wing nationalists. These criticized Steiner's thought, and Anthroposophy, as being incompatible with National Socialist racist ideology and charged both that Steiner was influenced by his close connections with Jews and that he was himself Jewish.[28][87] On a number of occasions, Steiner promoted full assimilation of the Jewish people into the nations in which they lived, a stance that has come under criticism in recent years.[81] He was also a critic of his contemporary Theodor Herzl's goal of a Zionist state, as well as of any other ethnically determined nation, as he considered ethnicity to be an outmoded basis for social life in today's world.

Bibliography

Writings (selection)

Steiner's collected works, making up about 400 volumes, include his writings (about forty volumes), over 6000 of his lectures, and his artistic work.

Works about Steiner

  • Kries, Mateo and Vegesack, Alexander von, Rudolf Steiner: Alchemy of the Everyday, Weil am Rhein: Vitra Design Museum, 2010. ISBN 3931936864

See also

References

  1. ^ Rudolf Steiner Autobiography: Chapters in the Course of My Life: 1861-1907, xvi Lantern Books, 2006 ISBN 0-88010-600-X [1]
  2. ^ Steiner's autobiography gives his date of birth as 27 February 1861. However, there is an undated autobiographical fragment written by Steiner, referred to in a footnote in his autobiography in German (GA 28), that says, "My birth fell on the 25th of February 1861. Two days later I was baptized." See Christoph Lindenberg, Rudolf Steiner, Rowohlt 1992, ISBN 3-499-50500-2, p. 8. In 2009 new documentation appeared supporting a date of 27 Feb.: see Günter Aschoff, "Rudolf Steiners Geburtstag am 27. Februar 1861 - Neue Dokumente", Das Goetheanum 2009/9, pp. 3ff
  3. ^ Some of the literature regarding Steiner's work in these various fields: Goulet, P: “Les Temps Modernes?”, L'Architecture D'Aujourd'hui, December 1982, pp. 8-17; Architect Rudolf Steiner at GreatBuildings.com; Rudolf Steiner International Architecture Database; Brennan, M.: Rudolf Steiner ArtNet Magazine, 18 March 1998; Blunt, R.: Waldorf Education: Theory and Practice — A Background to the Educational Thought of Rudolf Steiner. Master Thesis, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, 1995; Ogletree, E.J.: Rudolf Steiner: Unknown Educator, Elementary School Journal, 74(6): 344-352, March 1974; Nilsen, A.:A Comparison of Waldorf & Montessori Education, University of Michigan; Rinder, L: Rudolf Steiner's Blackboard Drawings: An Aesthetic Perspective and exhibition of Rudolf Steiner's Blackboard Drawings, at Berkeley Art Museum, 11 October 1997 – 4 January 1998; Aurélie Choné, “Rudolf Steiner's Mystery Plays: Literary Transcripts of an Esoteric Gnosis and/or Esoteric Attempt at Reconciliation between Art and Science?”, Aries, Volume 6, Number 1, 2006, pp. 27-58(32), Brill publishing; Christopher Schaefer, “Rudolf Steiner as a Social Thinker”, Re-vision Vol 15, 1992; and Antoine Faivre, Jacob Needleman, Karen Voss; Modern Esoteric Spirituality, Crossroad Publishing, 1992.
  4. ^ “Who was Rudolf Steiner and what were his revolutionary teaching ideas?” Richard Garner, Education Editor, The Independent
  5. ^ R. Bruce Elder, Harmony and dissent: film and avant-garde art movements in the early twentieth century, isbn 978-1-55458-028-6, p. 32
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Robert A. McDermott, "Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy", in Faivre and Needleman, Modern Esoteric Spirituality, ISBN 0-8245-1444-0, p. 288ff
  7. ^ a b c d Christoph Lindenberg, Rudolf Steiner, Rowohlt 1992, ISBN 3-499-50500-2, pp. 123-6
  8. ^ Rudolf Steiner, “Goethean Science”, GA1, 1883
  9. ^ Helmut Zander, Schweizer Fernsehen, Sternstunden Philosophie: Die Anthroposophie Rudolf Steiners, program aired Feb. 15, 2009
  10. ^ Gary Lachman, Rudolf Steiner Publ. Penguin 2007
  11. ^ The Collected Works of Rudolf Steiner. Esoteric Lessons 1904-1909. SteinerBooks, 2007.
  12. ^ a b Helmut Zander, Anthroposophie in Deutschland, Göttingen, 2007, ISBN 3-525-55452-4.
  13. ^ Geoffrey Ahern, Sun at Midnight, Publ. Cambridge, Clarke 2010 Rev Ed. p.30.
  14. ^ Alfred Heidenreich, Rudolf Steiner - A Biographical Sketch
  15. ^ a b c Steiner, The Story of My Life, chapter 18
  16. ^ Steiner, Rudolf, The Course of My Life, Chapter III and GA 262, pp. 7-21. Fichte is mentioned by Alfred Heidenreich; see this article, but his reference to Steiner's autobiography as the source for this seems to be erroneous.
  17. ^ Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism, edited by Wouter J. Hanegraaff in collaboration with Antoine Faivre, Roelof van den Broek, and Jean-Pierre Brach, Brill, 2006
  18. ^ Truth and Knowledge (full text)
  19. ^ | Rudolf Steiner | Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception | 1886
  20. ^ Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science Mercury Press, 1988 ISBN 0-936132-92-2, ISBN 978-0-936132-92-1 | Rudolf Steiner | Goethean Science | 1883
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gary Lachman, Rudolf Steiner, Tarcher/Penguin 2007.
  22. ^ a b c Lorenzo Ravagli, Zanders Erzählungen, Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag 2009, ISBN 978-3-8305-1613-2, pp. 184f
  23. ^ See Lutyens, Mary (2005). J. Krishnamurti: A Life. New Delhi: Penguin Books India. ISBN 0-14-400006-7
  24. ^ Rudolf Steiner (1991), Das Schicksalsjahr 1923 in der Geschichte der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft: vom Goethanumbrand zur Weihnachtstagung: Ansprachen, Versammlungen, Dokumente, Januar bis Dezember 1923, Rudolf Steiner Verlag, pp. 750–790 (esp. 787), ISBN 978-3727425905 
  25. ^ Johannes Kiersch, A History of the School of Spiritual Science. Publ. Temple Lodge 2006. p.xiii.
  26. ^ The School of Spiritual Science website at The Goetheanum: http://www.goetheanum.org/300.html?L=1
  27. ^ Frankfurter Zeitung, 4 March 1921
  28. ^ a b c Uwe Werner, Anthroposophen in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus, Munich (1999), p. 7.
  29. ^ Völkischer Beobachter, 15 March 1921
  30. ^ Rudolf Steiner, The Esoteric Aspect of the Social Question: The Individual and Society, Steinerbooks, p xiv and see also Lindenberg, Rudolf Steiner: Eine Biographie, pp. 769-70
  31. ^ "Riot at Munich Lecture", New York Times, 17 May 1922.
  32. ^ Marie Steiner, Introduction, in Rudolf Steiner, Turning Points in Spiritual History, Dornach, September, 1926.
  33. ^ Wiesberger, Die Krise der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft 1923
  34. ^ Lindenberg, Christoph, Rudolf Steiner: Eine Biographie Vol. II, Chapter 52. ISBN 3-7725-1551-7
  35. ^ Lindenberg, "Schritte auf dem Weg zur Erweiterung der Erkenntnis", pp. 77ff
  36. ^ a b c d e Peter Schneider, Einführung in die Waldorfpädagogik, ISBN 3-608-93006-X
  37. ^ Bockemühl, J., Toward a Phenomenology of the Etheric World ISBN 0-88010-115-6
  38. ^ Edelglass, S. et al., The Marriage of Sense and Thought, ISBN 0-940262-82-7
  39. ^ Ellic Howe: The Magicians of the Golden Dawn London 1985, Routledge, pp 262 ff
  40. ^ IN CONTEXT #6, Summer 1984
  41. ^ ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
  42. ^ Evans, M. and Rodger, I. Anthroposophical Medicine: Treating Body, Soul and Spirit
  43. ^ Camphill list of communities
  44. ^ Both Goetheanum buildings are listed as among the most significant 100 buildings of modern architecture by Goulet, Patrice, Les Temps Modernes?, L'Architecture D'Aujourd'hui, December 1982
  45. ^ Great Buildings Online
  46. ^ Paull, John (2011) Rudolf Steiner and the Oxford Conference: The Birth of Waldorf Education in Britain. European Journal of Educational Studies, 3 (1): 53-66.
  47. ^ a b c d e Robert McDermott, The Essential Steiner, Harper San Francisco 1984 ISBN 0-06-065345-0
  48. ^ Goulet, P: "Les Temps Modernes?", L'Architecture D'Aujourd'hui, Dec. 1982, pp. 8-17.
  49. ^ Lawrence Rinder, Rudolf Steiner: An Aesthetic Perspective
  50. ^ Byckling, L: Michael Chekhov as Actor, Teacher and Director in the West. Toronto Slavic Quarterly No 1 - Summer 2002. University of Toronto, Academic Electronic Journal in Slavic Studies.
  51. ^ Paull, John (2011) "Attending the First Organic Agriculture Course: Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Course at Koberwitz, 1924", European Journal of Social Sciences, 21(1):64-70.
  52. ^ Paull, John (2011) "Biodynamic Agriculture: The Journey from Koberwitz to the World, 1924-1938", Journal of Organic Systems, 2011, 6(1):27-41.
  53. ^ Groups in N. America, List of Demeter certifying organizations, Other biodynamic certifying organization,Some farms in the world
  54. ^ How to Save the World: One Man, One Cow, One Planet; Thomas Burstyn
  55. ^ a b c d Johannes Hemleben, Rudolf Steiner: A documentary biography, Henry Goulden Ltd, 1975, ISBN 0-904822-02-8, pp. 37-49 and pp. 96-100 (German edition: Rowohlt Verlag, 1990, ISBN 3-499-50079-5)
  56. ^ Anthony Storr, Feet of Clay, Free Press-Simon and Schuster, 1996. Storr quotes Steiner p72, "If, however, we regard the sum of all percepts as the one part and contrast with this a second part, namely the things-in-themselves, then we are philosophising into the blue. We are merely playing with concepts."
  57. ^ Steiner, Rudolf, Truth and Science, Preface.
  58. ^ "To be conscious of the laws underlying one's actions is to be conscious of one's freedom. The process of knowing [Erkenntnis] is the process of development towards freedom." Steiner, GA3, pp. 91f, quoted in Rist and Schneider, p. 134
  59. ^ Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind, ISBN 0-7126-7332-6
  60. ^ Solovyov, Vladimir, The Crisis of Western Philosophy, Lindisfarne 1996 pp. 42-3
  61. ^ Autobiography, Chapters In The Course Of My Life: 18611907, Rudolf Steiner, SteinerBooks, 2006
  62. ^ a b c d Carlo Willmann, Waldorfpädagogik: Theologische und religionspädagogische Befunde, Kölner Veröffentlichungen zur Religionsgeschichte, Volume 27, ISBN 3-412-16700-2, especially Chapters 1.3, 1.4
  63. ^ An Outline of Esoteric Science, Anthroposophic, SteinerBooks, 1997
  64. ^ Robert Fulford, "Bellow: the novelist as homespun philosopher", The National Post, 23 October 2000
  65. ^ Michael Ende biographical notes, "Michael Ende und die magischen Weltbilder"
  66. ^ Selma Lagerlöf - Biography
  67. ^ Andrey Bely
  68. ^ J.D. Elsworth, Andrej Bely:A Critical Study of the Novels, Cambridge:1983, cf. [2]
  69. ^ John F. Moffitt, "Occultism in Avant-Garde Art: The Case of Joseph Beuys", Art Journal, Vol. 50, No. 1, (Spring, 1991), pp. 96-98
  70. ^ Peg Weiss, "Kandinsky and Old Russia: The Artist as Ethnographer and Shaman", The Slavic and East European Journal, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Summer, 1997), pp. 371-373
  71. ^ Kandinsky: The Path to Abstraction 1908 - 1922
  72. ^ Alana O'Brien, In Search of the Spiritual: Murray Griffin's View of the Supersensible World, La Trobe University Museum of Art, 2009
  73. ^ Daboo, Jerri (September 2007). "Michael Chekhov and the embodied imagination: Higher self and non-self". Studies in Theatre & Performance 27 (3): 261–273. doi:10.1386/stap.27.3.261_1. 
  74. ^ [Nostalghia.com|The Topics:: Layla Alexander Garrett on Tarkovsky ]
  75. ^ Bruno Walter, "Mein Weg zur Anthroposophie". In: Das Goetheanum 52 (1961), 418–2
  76. ^ a b c Olav Hammer, Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age, Brill 2004, pp. 329; 64f; 225-8; 176. See also p. 98, where Hammer states that - unusually for founders of esoteric movements - Steiner's self-descriptions of the origins of his thought and work correspond to the view of external historians.
  77. ^ Albert Schweitzer: Friendship with Rudolf Steiner
  78. ^ Robert Todd Carroll (12 September 2004). "The Skeptic's Dictionary: Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)". The Skeptic's Dictionary. http://www.skepdic.com/steiner.html. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  79. ^ Steiner: "It may even happen that a researcher who has the power of perception in supersensible realms may fall into error in his logical presentation, and that someone who has no supersensible perception, but who has the capacity for sound thinking, may correct him."Occult Science, Chapter IV
  80. ^ Staudenmaier, Peter (February 2008). "Race and Redemption". Nova Religio (University of California Press): 4ff. 
  81. ^ a b c d e f g h "Es hängt dabei von den Interessen der Leser ab, ob die Anthroposophie rassistisch interpretiert wird oder nicht." Helmut Zander, "Sozialdarwinistische Rassentheorien aus dem okkulten Untergrund des Kaiserreichs", in Puschner et al., Handbuch zur "Völkischen Bewegung" 1871-1918: 1996.
  82. ^ Arno Frank, "Einschüchterung auf Waldorf-Art", Die Tageszeitung Aug 4, 2000.
  83. ^ Corinna Treitel, A Science for the Soul: Occultism and the Genesis of the German Modern, Johns Hopkins Press, ISBN 0-8018-7812-8, p. 103
  84. ^ Perry Myers, "Colonial consciousness: Rudolf Steiner's Orientalism and German Cultural Identity", Journal of European Studies 36(4): 387-417
  85. ^ Eugen Blume, "Joseph Beuys". In Kugler and Baur, Rudolf Steiner in Kunst und Architektur, ISBN 3-8321-9012-0, p. 186
  86. ^ Mitteilungen aus dem Verein zur Abwehr des Antisemitismus, 11(37):307-8, September 11, 1901. Article. Mitteilungen, 11(38):316, 18 September 1901. Article. Cf. GA31 for a complete list and text of articles.
  87. ^ a b "Hammer und Hakenkreuz – Anthroposophie im Visier der völkischen Bewegung", Südwestrundfunk, 26 Nov. 2004

Further reading

  • Almon, Joan (ed.) Meeting Rudolf Steiner, firsthand experiences compiled from the Journal for Anthroposophy since 1960, ISBN 0-9674562-8-2
  • Childs, Gilbert, Rudolf Steiner: His Life and Work, ISBN 0-88010-391-4
  • Davy, Adams and Merry, A Man Before Others: Rudolf Steiner Remembered. Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993.
  • Easton, Stewart, Rudolf Steiner: Herald of a New Epoch, ISBN 0-910142-93-9
  • Hemleben, Johannes and Twyman,Leo, Rudolf Steiner: An Illustrated Biography. Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001.
  • Lachman, Gary, Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction to His Life and Work, 2007, ISBN 1-58542-543-5
  • Lindenberg, Christoph, Rudolf Steiner: Eine Biographie (2 vols.). Stuttgart, 1997, ISBN 3-7725-1551-7
  • Lissau, Rudi, Rudolf Steiner: Life, Work, Inner Path and Social Initiatives. Hawthorne Press, 2000.
  • McDermott, Robert, The Essential Steiner. Harper Press, 1984
  • Seddon, Richard, Rudolf Steiner. North Atlantic Books, 2004.
  • Shepherd, A.P., Rudolf Steiner: Scientist of the Invisible. Inner Traditions, 1990.
  • Schiller, Paul, Rudolf Steiner and Initiation. Steiner Books, 1990.
  • Tummer, Lia and Lato, Horacio, Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy for Beginners. Writers & Readers Publishing, 2001.
  • Turgeniev, Assya, Reminiscences of Rudolf Steiner and Work on the First Goetheanum, ISBN 1-902636-40-6
  • Welburn, Andrew, Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy and the Crisis of Contemporary Thought, ISBN 0-86315-436-0
  • Wilkinson, Roy, Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction to his Spiritual World-View, ISBN 1-902636-28-7

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