12 lectures, Bern, Dornach, The Hague, London, Vienna, March 21 – June 11, 1922 (CW 211)
“We must understand that if we relate only to dead matter, we ourselves become dead and ahrimanic, but if we have sufficient courage and love for all the beings around us to relate to them directly (not to our dead ideas about them), we discover the Christ in everything and victorious spirit everywhere. When this happens, we may need to speak in ways that seem paradoxical to our contemporaries. We may need to speak about the individual spiritual beings that live in the solid and fluid elements and so forth. As long as we avoid talking about these beings, we are talking about a dead science that is not imbued with the Christ. To speak about them is to speak in a truly Christian sense. We must imbue all of our scientific activity with the Christ. More than that, we must also bring the Christ into all of our social efforts, all of our knowledge—in short, into all aspects of our life. The Mystery of Golgotha will truly bear fruit only through human strength, human efforts, and human love for each other. In this sense, Anthroposophy in all its details strives to imbue the world with the Christ.” —Rudolf Steiner
These lectures were given midway between World War I and Steiner’s death in 1925. They will be of particular interest to anyone wanting to comprehend Rudolf Steiner’s mature understanding of his mission: “enchristing” the world. The first two lectures constitute a call to arms or return to basics. Steiner speaks existentially and phenomenologically, building upon recognizable descriptions of actual experiences. His theme is the three states of consciousness (waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleep), and he shows how these ordinary human functions have initiatory possibilities.
The next four lectures deal with the evolution of consciousness in relation to the universal significance of the Christ event. Through the resurrection, Christ’s being entered earthly evolution. As a result, we see the world differently. Where ancient humanity experienced, “Not I but the divine spirit around me,” we can experience, “Not I, but the Christ in me.” With this insight, we reach the heart of this volume—esoteric Christianity.
For Steiner, our most important task as human beings is to learn to overcome death by uniting with the Christ, who overcame death. Humanity’s survival depends upon the “enchristing” of the world. It is the purpose of Anthroposophy to bring this reality into world evolution, to enable all religions and all human beings to experience the new reality.
- The Life of the Human Soul in Sleeping, Waking, and Dreaming
- The Three States of Night Consciousness
- The Transformation of Worldviews
- Historical Changes in the Experience of Breathing
- The Human Being as Portrayed in Greek Art
- Investigating and Formulating the Cosmic Word in Inhalation and Exhalation
- Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity
- The Teachings of the Risen Christ
- Spiritual Insight and Initiation
- Perceiving the Christ through Anthroposophy
- The Threefold Sun and the Risen Christ
- Anthroposophy as an Attempt to Enchristen the World
Cover image Burial by Ninetta Sombart.
This is the first complete English translation of Das Sonnenmysterium und das Mysterium von Tod und Auferstehung. Exoterisches und esoterisches Christentum (GA 211). Eight lectures were published in an earlier English translation as part of Festivals and their Meaning II: Easter (1956).
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 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) 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; and The Noble Traveller: The Life and Writings of O. V. de L. Milosz (all published by Lindisfarne Books). HarperSanFrancisco included an essay by Mr. Bamford in its anthology Best Spiritual Writing 2000.