Reimagining Academic Studies: Science · Philosophy · Theology · Education · Social Science · Theory of Language
10 lectures, Berlin, March 6-11, 1922;
A report on the College Course, Dornach, March 18, 1922 (CW 81)
“Each day Dr. Steiner opened the session dedicated to a particular branch of science with an introductory lecture…. These were amazing sketches—with an illuminating clarity and a sure brush stroke. Dr. Steiner painted a picture of each scientific field exactly as it was supposed to be in the future, seen from the anthroposophic perspective. With regard to the future tasks…these introductory lectures were like scientific sketches of an artist, in which the whole painting could be revealed to the viewer” (an audience member).
During the last five years of his life, Rudolf Steiner dedicated his efforts to two fronts, seeking both to reanimate the esoteric foundations of Anthroposophy and to bring Anthroposophy into the cultural mainstream. This involved a new language, aided powerfully by an influx of young people (the so-called Youth Movement) dedicated to bringing spirituality into all areas of life. Many were college students who wanted practical ways to bring Anthroposophy into their areas of study. Steiner saw in their enthusiasm a new future for Anthroposophy and understood that, if Anthroposophy could begin to reshape higher education, as it had the lower grades through the Waldorf movement, culture could truly begin to be transformed. Thus, in 1921, an “Association for Anthroposophical College Studies” was founded; and courses and conferences began to be given in Dornach and different cities.
This Berlin Course drew more than a thousand participants. The goal was to “give an impression of the possible incentives Anthroposophy could offer various scientific fields.” Among the areas represented were natural science (including medicine), philosophy, education, social science, theology, and language. Each day began with a lecture by Rudolf Steiner, followed by presentations from other lecturers, artistic events, panel discussions, and more.
Introduction by Christopher Bamford
1. Anthroposophy and Natural Science
2. On the Organizations of Humans and of Animals
3. Anthroposophy and Philosophy
4. Anthroposophy and Education
5. Anthroposophy and Social Science
6. Anthroposophy and Theology
7. Anthroposophy and Theory of Language
This volume is a translation from German of «Erneurungs-Impulse für Kultur und Wissenschaft – Berliner Hochschulkurs» (GA 81).
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.
Christopher Bamford is Editor in Chief Emeritus 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, 2000) 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 (2001, 2020); and The Noble Traveller: The Life and Writings of O. V. de L. Milosz (1985).