“When, in the case of a flower, the colored blossom appears, this does not come as a correction of a faulty green leaf. It is, on the contrary, a further metamorphosis of the plant, which, without the existence of the green leaf, would not have been able to arise. Rudolf Steiner was always comparing the arising of his spiritual science with the evolution of a living organism.” —Pietro Archiati
Can there be such a thing as Spiritual Science today? Should faith and spirit remain strictly private or as preserves of the Church? When Rudolf Steiner began Anthroposophy in the early twentieth century, his intention was to create a scientific approach to spirit. His foundational works detail methods for developing spiritual awareness, allowing individuals to replicate the results of his research. This key aspect distinguishes Anthroposophy from the wealth of spiritual teachings, sects, cults, and religions within the modern cultural milieu. However, did Steiner fail in his endeavor to build a scientific path to spiritual knowledge? Is Anthroposophy just another theory based on intellectual thought, to be analyzed or dismissed?
Until now, academia has largely ignored Steiner’s work. In 2013, however, the first volume of a new series—a critical edition of Rudolf Steiner’s writings edited by a professor of the largest religious university in the United State—was published by a respected German academic press. Taking this concrete case as an illustration, Pietro Archiati asserts that academia, with its inherent bias toward atheistic assumptions of materialistic science, will almost inevitably misrepresent Steiner’s work. Anthroposophy is a spiritual science, whose transforming nature requires a deep understanding of its essence for real comprehension.
Presenting a broad exploration of the critical questions outlined here, Archiati’s exposition works not only as a critique of a specific new edition of Steiner’s works, but also as an introduction to key tenets of anthroposophic methodology and thought.