The Esoteric Background of Waldorf Education

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The Esoteric Background of Waldorf Education: The Cosmic Christ Impulse

The Being of Christ and the Mystery of Golgotha are the vast subjects that Rudolf Steiner deals with in varied ways in books and lectures from 1900 until his death in 1925. Before proceeding with the central theme of this book, it is important for us to ask what Rudolf Steiner means when he speaks of these profound, far reaching topics. In the brief review which follows we begin to understand Steiner’s Christology in an esoteric, historical context, and we become aware of Steiner’s evolving development of these themes in his writings. Moreover, there emerges the awareness that, even when Steiner does not mention the Christ, he speaks and works directly out of the Christ Impulse in our time. From this remarkable concept we realize that our understanding of the Christ will gain new depths when we work appropriately within any aspect of the wide diversity which Steiner has brought to mankind.

The general theme of this book was inspired by passages from lecture 5 in Rudolf Steiner’s lecture course, Education as a Force for Social Change, which took place shortly before the opening of the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart:

“We should not look at modern cultural developments superficially, nor should we doubt that modern people who want to work toward healthier development should attempt to achieve a true comprehension of the Christ Impulse…. Teachers need to develop a consciousness of that…. Teachers need to educate children with an awareness that what they are really doing is saving the children, and that they need to bring the children a way of finding Christ as an Impulse in the course of their lives, that is, of finding their own rebirth. Such things cannot develop in teaching when, for example, you have only a simple, theoretical comprehension of them; they develop in teaching only when your soul is strongly affected by them…. Now, you must, of course, be aware that you will not find Christ as Impulse in the dogmatism of some religious group…. I would ask that you give particular attention to what a spiritual scientific foundation reveals, namely, that human intelligence, left to itself, will drift toward the Ahrimanic path and that we can direct it toward the good only by accepting Christ as the true Impulse.”

About the Author

René M. Querido, LLD, was a seminal figure in Waldorf education for a half century. He was educated in Holland, Belgium, France, and England and studied mathematics and physics at London University. Mr. Querido lectured throughout the world on historical and educational topics and was director of Rudolf Steiner College (Fair Oaks, California). He was also Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America.

Additional information

Weight 16 oz
Dimensions 5.5 × 0.4 × 8.5 in






June 1995




Rudolf Steiner College Press


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