True Knowledge of the Christ: Theosophy and Rosicrucianism – The Gospel of John
14 lectures, Kassel, June 16 – 29, 1907
8 lectures, Basel, November 16 – 25, 1907 (CW 100)
“All existence is spirit. Just as ice is water, so matter is also spirit. Mineral, vegetable, animal, or human—all are a condensed form of spirit.” —Rudolf Steiner
In the two lecture courses featured in this volume, Rudolf Steiner presents a radical new paradigm. Tackling the central dilemma of modern civilization—the polarization of science and spirituality—he seeks to broaden natural science through a comprehensive spiritual science. Rather than harking back to old spiritual forms or religions, Steiner’s approach is based on a conscious and systematic intensification of thinking and perception.
Steiner approaches this spiritual-scientific task from two perspectives. First, he deepens insight into Theosophy and Rosicrucianism, showing their relationship to science and religion. Although presented as an “introduction,” Steiner was never interested in simply providing information—not even in the form of new revelations—and his insights are from fresh angles and with new illustrative examples. These lectures deepen and develop key elements found in his fundamental works An Outline of Esoteric Science and Theosophy. Also featured are the fascinating question-and-answer sessions from the Kassel lectures.
Rudolf Steiner also discusses the most esoteric account of Christ’s life: the Gospel of John. Whereas the focus is on the Gospel, basic tenets of Spiritual Science, human existence, and world evolution are also considered, as are the concept of karma and the true nature of Christianity. In these two sets of lectures, Steiner dwells on the Prologue to the Gospel of John (given in his own words), which offers a meditative approach to gaining insight into the Gospel and Christianity as a whole.
Rather than distancing us from life, each of the lectures in this volume brings us closer to reality. As Steiner states, “Rosicrucian theosophy…does not make us into eccentrics or outsiders, but into friends of existence, for it doesn’t look down on everyday life, alienating us from our mission on earth; it brings us closer.”
This volume is a translation from German of Menschheitsentwickelung und Christus-Erkenntnis (GA 100).
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.
Urs Dietler, PhD, was born in 1950 in Basel. He studied philosophy and mathematics in Friborg, Switzerland and was senior teacher for 11 years at the Rudolf Steiner School Avrona Mountain School in Tarasp. He served for 7 years as head of a curative education school home in Bern, and from 1997 was senior teacher for mathematics, physics, philosophy, and computer science at the Rudolf Steiner School Bern and Ittigen. Urs Dietler was also a lecturer at the University of Teacher Education in Zurich and involved part-time as a specialist training for anthroposophic pedagogy in Bern (BeFAP). Since October 2004 he has edited Rudolf Steiner’s writings at the Rudolf Steiner Archive in Dornach. During his time as a philosophy teacher in Bern, Urs Dietler cultivated an open way of working with the students to enable them to access this subject independently.