Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha: Human Life in a Cosmic Context
17 lectures, Berlin, February 6 – May 8, 1917 (CW 175)
“If one is unable to conceive of the Christ mystery as a true reality, one also cannot develop any ideas and concepts relating to the rest of world existence that are imbued with reality, which really penetrate to the truth.” —Rudolf Steiner
In these lectures, Rudolf Steiner shines fresh light on the historical background and esoteric meaning of what he calls “the central event of human and earthly history”—the Christ mystery, or the Mystery of Golgotha. Basing his commentaries on personal spiritual research, he emphasizes the key nature of the Mystery of Golgotha, through which “something was accomplished that has to do not with the moral order alone, but also with the whole world order in its entirety.” This relates to a transformation of the spiritual environment of the Earth and a potentially radical change in human consciousness.
Building on the core themes of this course, Steiner presents a variety of fascinating topics, including original sin and the idea of resurrection; faith and knowledge; the nature of sleep and the mystery of fatigue; violation of the mysteries by Roman Emperors; teachings of Mani and Augustine; our relationship to the so-called dead through spiritualistic séances; and the correspondence among the Platonic year, a day in one’s life, and a human lifetime.
Delivered to audiences a century ago, these lectures have not lost their resonance—indeed, their essential message may be more relevant than ever. They are published here in a new translation and for the first time in a complete English edition.
“So let us endeavor to make Spiritual Science our own, not merely as a teaching but as a language, and then wait until we find the questions in this language that we may address to Christ. He will answer—yes, he will answer!”
This volume is a translation from German of Bausteine zu einer Erkenntnis des Mysteriums von Golgotha. Kosmische und menschliche Metamorphose (GA 175).
About the Author
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.
Marie Steiner-von Sivers (1867–1948) was born in Wlotzlawek, in Russian Poland and grew up in St. Petersburg. She trained as an actor, but left the stage when she met Theosophy through Edouard Schuré, whose works she translated. In 1900, she met Rudolf Steiner, whom she later married and worked alongside in the development of Anthroposophy. She died in Beatenberg, Switzerland.
Simon Blaxland de Lange has for many years worked as an educator for people with special needs. He is also a prolific writer and translator and an amateur musician and gardener. Blaxland de Lange helped establish Pericles Translations and Research, Pericles Training and Work (for adults with special needs), and the Pericles Theatre Company. Together with Dr Vivian Law, he cofounded the Humanities Research Group in 1997 and the British group of the Humanities Section of the School of Spiritual Science in 1998. He met Owen Barfield in 1979, and has been a student of his work for the past thirty years.