From the History and Contents of the First Section of the Esoteric School: Letters, Documents, and Lectures: 1904–1914
This is an important text for anyone interested in the development of Rudolf Steiner’s teaching and for those wishing to explore the advice and admonitions Steiner provided for his early esoteric students. This collection of letters, circulars, and lectures offer a glimpse of the birth of the anthroposophic movement from the German section of the Theosophical Society of the late nineteenth century. One gains a clear picture of why Steiner could no longer work within the theosophic framework, as well as the events that led to the split between the Theosophical Society under the leadership of Annie Besant and the Esoteric School under Steiner’s guidance and leadership.
Primarily in the form of letters are the specific exercises and advice that Steiner gave to pupils who wished to further their spiritual capacities. Also included are his early lectures and teachings concerning the “Masters” and their relationship to human evolution.
From the History and Contents of the First Section of the Esoteric School 1904–1914 includes introductory and concluding remarks by the book’s original editor, Hella Wiesberger.
German source: Zur Geschichte und aus den Inhalten der ersten Abteilung der Esoterischen Schule, 1904–1914 (GA 264).
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.
Hella Wiesberger, an early and longtime editor of The Collected Works of Rudolf Steiner (Gesamtausgabe, or GA) and a leading figure of the Steiner archive in at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, passed away in Hombrechtikon, Switzerland, in December 2014 at the age of ninety-five. She retained her full mental capacity and continued a full work schedule until the very end. After 1948, when Marie Steiner died, she devoted all her efforts to administrating the Rudolf Steiner estate.
Christopher Bamford is Editor in Chief for SteinerBooks and its imprints. A Fellow of the Lindisfarne Association, he has lectured, taught, and written widely on Western spiritual and esoteric traditions. He is the author of The Voice of the Eagle: The Heart of Celtic Christianity (1990) and An Endless Trace: The Passionate Pursuit of Wisdom in the West (2003). He has also translated and edited numerous books, including Celtic Christianity: Ecology and Holiness (1982); Homage to Pythagoras: Rediscovering Sacred Science; and The Noble Traveller: The Life and Writings of O. V. de L. Milosz (all published by Lindisfarne Books). HarperSanFrancisco included an essay by Mr. Bamford in its anthology Best Spiritual Writing 2000.