The Spiritual-Scientific Basis of Goethe's Work

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The Spiritual-Scientific Basis of Goethe’s Work

This address was given on July 10, 1906 in London, England at the Second Annual Congress of the Federation of European Sections of the Theosophical Society. It has been edited for this printing by the publisher.

Anthroposophy will only be able to fulfill its great and universal mission in modern civilization when it is able to grasp the special problems which have arisen in every land by reason of the intellectual possessions of the people. In Germany, these special problems are in part determined by the inheritance bequeathed to her intellectual life by the men of genius living at the close of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. Any one who approaches those great minds, Lessing, Herder, Schiller, Goethe, Novalis, Jean Paul and many others, from the point of view of Anthroposophical thought and its attitude toward life, will have two important experiences. The first being that, as a result of this profoundly spiritual attitude, a new light is thrown upon the working and works of these men of genius; the second, that through them Anthroposophy receives new life-blood, which must, in some way as yet not clear, produce a fructifying and strengthening effect in the future. It may be said without exaggeration that the German will understand Anthroposophy if only he brings his mind to bear upon the highest conceptions for which the leading spirits of his land have striven, and which they have embodied in their works. – First Paragraph

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 12 oz
Dimensions 5.5 × 0.2 × 8.5 in




December 1982






CW 35


St. George Publications


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