Rudolf Steiner, Life and Work – 1900-1914: Spiritual Science and Spiritual Community
“Without new impulses humanity will be overwhelmed and paralyzed—in ways we cannot even imagine today—by the domination of mere outer technology. Humanity will perish because all religious, scientific, philosophical, artistic, and—in a higher sense—ethical interests would be torn from the human soul. Without new spiritual impulses we will become living machines.” —Rudolf Steiner (CW 158)
The third volume of Peter Selg’s comprehensive presentation of Rudolf Steiner’s life and work begins with Steiner’s invitation to lecture in the Theosophical Society during the summer of 1900. From the outset of his theosophical involvement, Steiner was resolved to serve and develop the Western path to the spirit, traversed in full, conscious clarity of thought. He was therefore critical of the tendency to avoid the modern standards of a sound knowledge process in matters of spirituality and esotericism, and instead emphasized the importance of idealist philosophy as groundwork for understanding spiritual cognition.
Although his approach did not always harmonize with theosophical pursuits, Rudolf Steiner recognized the sincere striving at the basis of this movement and agreed to take on increasingly greater responsibility for the German Section. Marie von Sivers, who would later become his wife, was his most supportive colleague during this time. At a decisive juncture, Steiner broke from the Theosophical Society to found the Anthroposophical Society, through which he would continue the development of modern spiritual science more freely in accord with his original intentions.
This volume covers the period during which Steiner wrote some of his foundational works: Christianity as Mystical Fact (1902); Theosophy (1904); How to Know Higher Worlds (1904); and An Outline of Esoteric Science (1909). Peter Selg also describes the building of the first Goetheanum in Dornach as an artistic embodiment of esoteric wisdom, giving rise to an international working community, as well as the performance of the mystery dramas and Rudolf Steiner’s profound Christological lectures known as the Fifth Gospel.
“One of the most essential conditions of a book that has grown out of spiritual science is that one assimilates more than its content—that is the very least of it. In addition, in assimilating the book, one in a certain way alters how one thinks and feels and senses things; one progresses in relation to the standards and criteria otherwise used in the ordinary world. The difficulty confronting the understanding of spiritual-scientific works even today is that people read them like other writings and believe they can absorb the content in the same way as in other writings; whereas in fact something in themselves must be transformed if they have understood a true esoteric book really thoroughly. Hence it is understandable that most people in our time reject real esoteric books.” — Rudolf Steiner (Oct. 3, 1914)
C O N T E N T S:
7. Spiritual Community-Building (1900–1914)
About the Author
Peter Selg was born in 1963 in Stuttgart and studied medicine in Witten-Herdecke, Zurich, and Berlin. Until 2000, he worked as the head physician of the juvenile psychiatry department of Herdecke hospital in Germany. Dr. Selg is now director of the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Research into Anthroposophy (Arlesheim, Switzerland) and professor of medicine at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences (Germany). He lectures extensively and is the author of numerous books, many of which have been published in English.
Margot M. Saar studied at the Universität des Saarlandes, at Open University, UK, and at Institut für Waldorfpädagogik Witten Annen, Germany. She is an experienced translator and interpreter in specialty fields (education, medicine, philosophy, anthroposophy, homeopathy, anthroposophic medicine, general science). She has been a foreign language teacher at Michael House School Derbyshire, UK, a teacher of foreign languages and philosophy, exam officer, and upper school mentor at Michael Hall School, East Sussex, and translator of technical manuals and legal contracts, international correspondence, office management at Hüls Troisdorf AG Witten Germany. Margot has translated numerous books for SteinerBooks, including Peter Selg’s 7-volume biography of Rudolf Steiner.
Rudolf Steiner, Life and Work, Seven Volumes
Vol. 1. (1861–1890): Childhood, Youth, and Study Years
Vol. 2. (1890–1900): Weimar and Berlin
Vol. 3. (1900–1914): Spiritual Science and Spiritual Community
Vol. 4. (1914–1918): The Years of World War I
Vol. 5. (1919–1922): Social Threefolding and the Waldorf School
Vol. 6. (1923): The Burning of the Goetheanum
Vol. 7. (1924–1925): The Anthroposophical Society and the School for Spiritual Science