Unifying Humanity Spiritually Through the Christ Impulse
13 lectures, various cities, Dec. 1915 – Jan. 1916 (CW 165)
“Fundamentally, all of spiritual science ultimately aims to understand human beings in their essence, in their tasks and endeavors—in their necessary endeavors in the course of development.” —Rudolf Steiner
In the midst of the division and destruction of World War I, Rudolf Steiner speaks of the spiritual unification of all human beings. Rather than preaching a traditional morality, however, he states esoteric facts as he perceives them, based on spiritual-scientific research. These observations relate to the powerful universal impulse of Christ—a healing spiritual force that works through the various nations and races, irrespective of creed or color—as a source of potential unity. Rudolf Steiner describes this impulse as the central core of human evolution. It allows for a conscious and newly acquired connection between all human beings, in the context of the continuing diversification and fragmentation of the human race.
The central motif in these lectures relates to the appearance of Christ on Earth—knowledge of his historical incarnation, as well as Christ’s manifestation in the present and future periods of human development. Rudolf Steiner creates an arc from the pre-Christian mysteries through Gnosticism and the older studies of the early Church Fathers, to Scholasticism and Neo-Scholasticism. After ancient faculties of clairvoyance had begun to fade, he explains, people could no longer see beyond the world of outer appearances, and direct perceptions of Christ were therefore no longer possible. Therefore, the question arose as to how limitations on human knowledge could be overcome—a question that remains pertinent today. Steiner asserts that only a transformation of thinking, enabling a living and conscious inner conceptual life, can allow a true understanding of the relationship between the earthly Jesus and the cosmic Christ. Such living thinking leads in turn to direct experience.
Other topics in this volume include the birth date of the “two Jesus children”; the wisdom of Gnostic teachings; the provenance of the Cross; the mysteries of the Christmas festival; insights into ancient Christmas plays, and reflections on individual consciousness of karma in the future.
This volume is a translation from German of Die geistige Vereinigung der Menschheit durch den Christus-Impuls (GA 165).
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.
Christian von Arnim is the founder and Editor in Chief of News Network Anthroposophy (NNA), “a news agency which covers news and events of interest to anyone wishing to develop a spiritually objective view of the world.” He is an experienced radio and print journalist who has worked with news such organizations as the BBC (World Service) and The Scotsman (Foreign Leader Writer). Christian is the founding Editor of NNA. He has translated and contributed to several books, including Eclipses 2005-2017 and Moon Rhythms in Nature. – Christian von Arnim is the founder and Editor in Chief of News Network Anthroposophy (NNA), “a news agency which covers news and events of interest to anyone wishing to develop a spiritually objective view of the world.” He is an experienced radio and print journalist who has worked with news such organizations as the BBC (World Service) and The Scotsman (Foreign Leader Writer). Christian is the founding Editor of NNA. He has translated and contributed to several books, including Eclipses 2005-2017 and Moon Rhythms in Nature. –
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.