Illness and Therapy (CW 313)

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Illness and Therapy: Spiritual-Scientific Aspects of Healing

9 lectures, Dornach, April 11–18, 1921 (CW 313)

In a series of nine lectures to doctors, pharmacists and students, Steiner presents a wealth of medical ideas with numerous therapeutic and diagnostic insights. As with his first series of lectures on medicine a year earlier (Introducing Anthroposophical Medicine), the range, depth and scope of Steiner’s subject matter is breathtaking.

Steiner begins by describing the interplay of physical and metaphysical aspects of the human being, presenting a paradigm in which the four bodies—physical, etheric, astral, and “I”—interrelate in contrasting ways with the threefold human organism of head, thorax and metabolism and with our capacities for thinking, feeling, and volition. These challenging but enlightening concepts unlock a wonderful diagnostic tool for appraising and understanding patients. He considers the medicinal actions of various substances, including silica, phosphorus, sulfur, arsenic, antimony, and mercury.

Also discussed are the methodology of medical examination; the treatment of developmental irregularities; the four types of ether; raw-food diets; the “I” and the assimilation of food; metal therapy and the actions of lead, magnesium, tin, iron, copper, gold, mercury and silver; the medicinal use of root and herbaceous parts and flowers; the rhythmic balancing process between the action of salutogenic and pathological forces; and death.

This volume also features Steiner’s answers to questions, an introductory lecture to eurythmy therapy, a comprehensive introduction, notes and index, 9 color plates of Steiner’s blackboard drawings, and facsimiles and translations of his notes for the lectures.

This volume is a translation from German of Geisteswissenschaftliche Gesichtspunkte zur Therapie (GA 313). A previous translation of this book was titled Anthroposophical Spiritual Science and Medical Therapy.

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. 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.

Additional information

Weight 18 oz
Dimensions 6 × 1 × 9 in


Matthew Barton


Andrew Maendl




December 2013






CW 313


Rudolf Steiner Press


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