|Born||Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner
25/27 February 1861
Murakirály, Austria-Hungary (now Donji Kraljevec, Croatia)
|Died||30 March 1925 (aged 64)
|Main interests||Metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, esotericism, Christianity|
|Notable ideas||Anthroposophy, Anthroposophical Medicine, Biodynamic Agriculture, Eurythmy, Spiritual Science, Waldorf Education, holism, Holism in science|
|Part of a series on|
|Anthroposophy · Rudolf Steiner
Anthroposophical Society · Goetheanum
|Anthroposophically inspired work|
|Camphill Movement · Eurythmy|
|The Philosophy of Freedom · Social threefolding|
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner:xvi (25/27 February 1861 – 30 March 1925) was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published philosophical works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he founded a spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy; other influences include Goethean science and Rosicrucianism.
In the first, more philosophically oriented phase of this movement, Steiner attempted to find a synthesis between science and spirituality; his philosophical work of these years, which he termed spiritual science, sought to apply the clarity of thinking characteristic of Western philosophy to spiritual questions,:291 differentiating this approach from what he considered to be vaguer approaches to mysticism. In a second phase, beginning around 1907, he began working collaboratively in a variety of artistic media, including drama, the movement arts (developing a new artistic form, eurythmy) and architecture, culminating in the building of the Goetheanum, a cultural centre to house all the arts. In the third phase of his work, beginning after World War I, Steiner worked to establish various practical endeavors, including Waldorf education, biodynamic agriculture, and anthroposophical medicine.
Steiner advocated a form of ethical individualism, to which he later brought a more explicitly spiritual approach. He based his epistemology on Johann Wolfgang Goethe's world view, in which “Thinking … is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear. Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas." A consistent thread that runs from his earliest philosophical phase through his later spiritual orientation is the goal of demonstrating that there are no essential limits to human knowledge.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Breadth of activity
- 3 Development of his thought
- 4 Reception
- 5 Bibliography
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Childhood and education
Steiner's father, Johann(es) Steiner (23 June 1829, Geras or Trabenreith, Irnfritz-Messern and lived Geras Abbey, Waldviertel – 1910, Horn), left a position as a gamekeeper in the service of Count Hoyos in Geras, northeast Lower Austria to marry one of the Hoyos family's housemaids, Franziska Blie (8 May 1834, Horn, Waldviertel – 1918, Horn), a marriage for which the Count had refused his permission. Johann became a telegraph operator on the Southern Austrian Railway, and at the time of Rudolf's birth was stationed in Kraljevec in the Muraköz region, then part of the Austrian Empire (present-day Donji Kraljevec, Međimurje region, northernmost Croatia). In the first two years of Rudolf's life, the family moved twice, first to Mödling, near Vienna, and then, through the promotion of his father to stationmaster, to Pottschach, located in the foothills of the eastern Austrian Alps in Lower Austria.
Steiner entered the village school; following a disagreement between his father and the schoolmaster, he was briefly educated at home. In 1869, when Steiner was eight years old, the family moved to the village of Neudörfl and in October 1872 Steiner proceeded from the village school there to the realschule in Wiener Neustadt.:Chap. 2 Steiner believed that during this time, at the age of fifteen, he had gained a complete understanding of the concept of time, which he considered was the precondition of spiritual clairvoyance.
The family's next move, in 1879, to Inzersdorf was to enable Steiner to attend the Vienna Institute of Technology, where he studied mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, biology, literature, and philosophy on an academic scholarship from 1879 to 1883, at the end of which time he withdrew from the institute.:446:29 In 1882, one of Steiner's teachers, Karl Julius Schröer,:Chap. 3 suggested Steiner's name to Joseph Kürschner, chief editor of a new edition of Goethe's works, who asked Steiner to become the edition's natural science editor, a truly astonishing opportunity for a young student without any form of academic credentials or previous publications.:43
Early spiritual experiences
When he was nine years old, Steiner believed he saw the spirit of an aunt who had died in a far-off town asking him to help her; at the time of the vision neither he nor his family supposedly knew of the woman's death. At 21, on the train between his home village and Vienna, Steiner met an herb gatherer, Felix Kogutzki, who spoke about the spiritual world "as one who had his own experience therein...".:39–40 Kogutzki conveyed to Steiner a knowledge of nature that was non-academic and spiritual.
Writer and philosopher
In 1888, as a result of his work for the Kürschner edition of Goethe's works, Steiner was invited to work as an editor at the Goethe archives in Weimar. Steiner remained with the archive until 1896. As well as the introductions for and commentaries to four volumes of Goethe's scientific writings, Steiner wrote two books about Goethe's philosophy: The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World-Conception (1886), which Steiner later regarded as the epistemological foundation and justification for his later work, and Goethe's Conception of the World (1897). During this time he also collaborated in complete editions of the works of Arthur Schopenhauer and the writer Jean Paul and wrote numerous articles for various journals.
In 1891, Steiner received a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Rostock, for his dissertation discussing Fichte's concept of the ego, submitted to Heinrich von Stein, whose Seven Books of Platonism Steiner esteemed.:Chap. 14 Steiner's dissertation was later published in expanded form as Truth and Knowledge: Prelude to a Philosophy of Freedom. Two years later, he published Die Philosophie der Freiheit (The Philosophy of Freedom or The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity—Steiner's preferred English title) (1894), an exploration of epistemology and ethics that suggested a way for humans to become spiritually free beings. Steiner later spoke of this book as containing implicitly, in philosophical form, the entire content of what he later developed explicitly as anthroposophy.
In 1896, Steiner declined an offer from Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche to help organize the Nietzsche archive in Naumburg. Her brother by that time was non compos mentis. Förster-Nietzsche introduced Steiner into the presence of the catatonic philosopher; Steiner, deeply moved, subsequently wrote the book Friedrich Nietzsche, Fighter for Freedom. Steiner later related that:
- "My first acquaintance with Nietzsche's writings belongs to the year 1889. Previous to that I had never read a line of his. Upon the substance of my ideas as these find expression in The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, Nietzsche's thought had not the least influence....Nietzsche's ideas of the 'eternal recurrence' and of 'Übermensch' remained long in my mind. For in these was reflected that which a personality must feel concerning the evolution and essential being of humanity when this personality is kept back from grasping the spiritual world by the restricted thought in the philosophy of nature characterizing the end of the 19th century....What attracted me particularly was that one could read Nietzsche without coming upon anything which strove to make the reader a 'dependent' of Nietzsche's.":Chap. 18
In 1897, Steiner left the Weimar archives and moved to Berlin. He became part owner of, chief editor of, and an active contributor to the literary journal Magazin für Literatur, where he hoped to find a readership sympathetic to his philosophy. Many subscribers were alienated by Steiner's unpopular support of Émile Zola in the Dreyfus Affair and the journal lost more subscribers when Steiner published extracts from his correspondence with anarchist John Henry Mackay. Dissatisfaction with his editorial style eventually led to his departure from the magazine.
In 1899, Steiner married Anna Eunicke; the couple separated several years later. Anna died in 1911.
The Theosophical Society
In 1899, Steiner published an article, “Goethe's Secret Revelation”, discussing the esoteric nature of Goethe's fairy tale The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily. This article led to an invitation by the Count and Countess Brockdorff to speak to a gathering of Theosophists on the subject of Nietzsche. Steiner continued speaking regularly to the members of the Theosophical Society, becoming the head of its newly constituted German section in 1902 without ever formally joining the society. It was also in connection with this society that Steiner met and worked with Marie von Sivers, who became his second wife in 1914. By 1904, Steiner was appointed by Annie Besant to be leader of the Theosophical Esoteric Society for Germany and Austria.
In contrast to mainstream Theosophy, Steiner sought to build a Western approach to spirituality based on the philosophical and mystical traditions of European culture. The German Section of the Theosophical Society grew rapidly under Steiner's leadership as he lectured throughout much of Europe on his spiritual science. During this period, Steiner maintained an original approach, replacing Madame Blavatsky's terminology with his own, and basing his spiritual research and teachings upon the Western esoteric and philosophical tradition. This and other differences, in particular Steiner's vocal rejection of Leadbeater and Besant's claim that Jiddu Krishnamurti was the vehicle of a new Maitreya, or world teacher, led to a formal split in 1912/13, when Steiner and the majority of members of the German section of the Theosophical Society broke off to form a new group, the Anthroposophical Society. (Steiner took the name "Anthroposophy" from the title of a work of the Austrian philosopher Robert von Zimmermann, published in Vienna in 1856.)
The Anthroposophical Society and its cultural activities
The Anthroposophical Society grew rapidly. Fueled by a need to find an artistic home for their yearly conferences, which included performances of plays written by Edouard Schuré and Steiner, the decision was made to build a theater and organizational center. In 1913, construction began on the first Goetheanum building, in Dornach, Switzerland. The building, designed by Steiner, was built to a significant part by volunteers who offered craftsmanship or simply a will to learn new skills. Once World War I started in 1914, the Goetheanum volunteers could hear the sound of cannon fire beyond the Swiss border, but despite the war, people from all over Europe worked peaceably side by side on the building's construction.
Steiner's lecture activity expanded enormously with the end of the war. Most importantly, from 1919 on Steiner began to work with other members of the society to found numerous practical institutions and activities, including the first Waldorf school, founded that year in Stuttgart, Germany. At the same time, the Goetheanum developed as a wide-ranging cultural centre. On New Year's Eve, 1922/1923, the building burned to the ground; contemporary police reports indicate arson as the probable cause.:752:796 Steiner immediately began work designing a second Goetheanum building - this time made of concrete instead of wood - which was completed in 1928, three years after his death.
At a "Foundation Meeting" for members held at the Dornach center during Christmas, 1923, Steiner spoke of laying a new Foundation Stone for the society in the hearts of his listeners. At the meeting, a new "General Anthroposophical Society" was established with a new executive board. At this meeting, Steiner also founded a School of Spiritual Science, intended as an "organ of initiative" for research and study and as "the 'soul' of the Anthroposophical Society". This School, which was led by Steiner, initially had sections for general anthroposophy, education, medicine, performing arts (eurythmy, speech, drama and music), the literary arts and humanities, mathematics, astronomy, science, and visual arts. Later sections were added for the social sciences, youth and agriculture. The School of Spiritual Science included meditative exercises given by Steiner.
Steiner became a well-known and controversial public figure during and after World War I. In response to the catastrophic situation in post-war Germany, he proposed extensive social reforms through the establishment of a Threefold Social Order in which the cultural, political and economic realms would be largely independent. Steiner argued that a fusion of the three realms had created the inflexibility that had led to catastrophes such as World War I. In connection with this, he promoted a radical solution in the disputed area of Upper Silesia, claimed by both Poland and Germany; his suggestion that this area be granted at least provisional independence led to his being publicly accused of being a traitor to Germany.
Steiner opposed Wilson's proposal to create new European nations based around ethnic groups, which he saw as opening the door to rampant nationalism. Steiner proposed as an alternative "'social territories' with democratic institutions that were accessible to all inhabitants of a territory whatever their origin while the needs of the various ethnicities would be met by independent cultural institutions."
Attacks, illness, and death
Far right-wing groups gained strength in Germany after the First World War. In 1919, the political theorist of the National Socialist movement in Germany, Dietrich Eckart, attacked Steiner and suggested that he was a Jew. In 1921, Adolf Hitler attacked Steiner on many fronts, including accusations that he was a tool of the Jews, while other nationalist extremists in Germany called for a "war against Steiner". That same year, Steiner warned against the disastrous effects it would have for Central Europe if the National Socialists came to power.:8 In 1922 a lecture Steiner was giving in Munich was disrupted when stink bombs were let off and the lights switched out, while people rushed the stage apparently attempting to attack Steiner, who exited safely through a back door. Unable to guarantee his safety, Steiner's agents cancelled his next lecture tour.:193 The 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Munich led Steiner to give up his residence in Berlin, saying that if those responsible for the attempted coup [Hitler and others] came to power in Germany, it would no longer be possible for him to enter the country.
From 1923 on, Steiner showed signs of increasing frailness and illness. He nonetheless continued to lecture widely, and even to travel; especially towards the end of this time, he was often giving two, three or even four lectures daily for courses taking place concurrently. Many of these lectures focused on practical areas of life such as education.
Increasingly ill, he held his last lecture in late September, 1924. He continued work on his autobiography during the last months of his life; he died on 30 March 1925.
According to his later descriptions, Steiner had begun having spiritual experiences as a child, but only felt prepared to speak about them as a mature adult. He first began speaking publicly about spiritual experiences and phenomena in his 1899 lectures to the Theosophical Society. By 1901 he had begun to write about spiritual topics, initially in the form of discussions of historical figures such as the mystics of the Middle Ages. By 1904 he was expressing his own understanding of these themes in his essays and books, while continuing to refer to a wide variety of historical sources.
Steiner aimed to apply his training in mathematics, science, and philosophy to produce rigorous, verifiable presentations of those experiences. He believed that through freely chosen ethical disciplines and meditative training, anyone could develop the ability to experience the spiritual world, including the higher nature of oneself and others. Steiner believed that such discipline and training would help a person to become a more moral, creative and free individual – free in the sense of being capable of actions motivated solely by love. His philosophical ideas were affected by Franz Brentano, with whom he had studied, as well as by Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, and Goethe's phenomenological approach to science.
Steiner followed Wilhelm Dilthey in using the term Geisteswissenschaft, usually translated as "spiritual science". Steiner used the term spiritual science to describe a discipline treating the spirit as something actual and real, starting from the premise that it is possible for human beings to penetrate behind what is sense-perceptible. He proposed that psychology, history, and the humanities generally were based on the direct grasp of an ideal reality, and required close attention to the particular period and culture which provided the distinctive character of religious qualities in the course of the evolution of consciousness. In contrast to William James' pragmatic approach to religious and psychic experience, which emphasized its idiosyncratic character, Steiner focused on ways such experience can be rendered more intelligible and integrated into human life.
Steiner proposed that an understanding of the laws of reincarnation and karma were necessary to understand psychology and that the form of external nature would be more comprehensible as a result of insight into the course of karma in the evolution of humanity. Beginning in 1910, he described aspects of karma relating to health, natural phenomena and free will. In an extensive series of lectures from February to September 1924, Steiner presented further research on successive reincarnations of various individualities and described the techniques he used for karma research.
Steiner was founder and leader of the following:
- His independent Esoteric School of the Theosophical Society, founded in 1904. This school continued after the break with Theosophy but was disbanded at the start of World War I.
- A lodge called Mystica Aeterna within the Masonic Order of Memphis and Mizraim, which Steiner led from 1906 until around 1914. Steiner added to the Masonic rite a number of Rosicrucian references.
- The School of Spiritual Science of the Anthroposophical Society, founded in 1923 as a further development of his earlier Esoteric School. This was originally constituted with a general section and seven specialized sections for education, literature, performing arts, natural sciences, medicine, visual arts, and astronomy. Steiner gave members of the School the first Lesson for guidance into the esoteric work in February 1924. Though Steiner intended to develop three “classes” of this school, only the first of these was developed in his lifetime (and continues today). An authentic text of the written records on which the teaching of the First Class was based was published in 1992.
Breadth of activity
After the First World War, Steiner became active in a wide variety of cultural contexts. He founded a number of schools, the first of which was known as the Waldorf school, which later evolved into a worldwide school network. He also founded a system of organic agriculture, now known as biodynamic agriculture, which was one of the very first forms of, and has contributed significantly to the development of, modern organic farming. His work in medicine led to the development of a broad range of complementary medications and supportive artistic and biographic therapies. Homes for children and adults with developmental disabilities based on his work (including those of the Camphill movement) are widespread. His paintings and drawings influenced Joseph Beuys and other modern artists. His two Goetheanum buildings are generally accepted to be masterpieces of modern architecture, and other anthroposophical architects have contributed thousands of buildings to the modern scene. One of the first institutions to practice ethical banking was an anthroposophical bank working out of Steiner's ideas; other anthroposophical social finance institutions have since been founded.
Steiner's literary estate is correspondingly broad. Steiner's writings, published in about forty volumes, include books, essays, four plays ('mystery dramas'), mantric verse, and an autobiography. His collected lectures, making up another approximately 300 volumes, discuss an extremely wide range of themes. Steiner's drawings, chiefly illustrations done on blackboards during his lectures, are collected in a separate series of 28 volumes. Many publications have covered his architectural legacy and sculptural work.
In 1907, Steiner wrote an essay on "Education in the Light of Spiritual Science," in which he described the major phases of child development which formed the foundation of his approach to education. At this time, Steiner already supported the independence of educational institutions from governmental control.
In 1919, Emil Molt invited him to lecture to his workers at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart. Out of these lectures came a new school, the Waldorf school. In 1922, Steiner presented these ideas at a conference called for this purpose in Oxford by Professor Millicent Mackenzie. This conference led to the founding of the first Waldorf schools in Britain. During Steiner's lifetime, schools based on his educational principles were also founded in Hamburg, Essen, The Hague and London; there are now more than 1000 Waldorf schools worldwide.
In 1924, a group of farmers concerned about the future of agriculture requested Steiner's help. Steiner responded with a lecture series on an ecological and sustainable approach to agriculture that increased soil fertility without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Steiner's agricultural ideas promptly spread and were put to the test internationally and biodynamic agriculture is now practiced in Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia.
A central aspect of biodynamics is that the farm as a whole is seen as an organism, and therefore should be a largely self-sustaining system, producing its own manure and animal feed. Plant or animal disease is seen as a symptom of problems in the whole organism. Steiner also suggested timing such agricultural activities as sowing, weeding, and harvesting to utilize the influences on plant growth of the moon and planets; and the application of natural materials prepared in specific ways to the soil, compost, and crops, with the intention of engaging non-physical beings and elemental forces. He encouraged his listeners to verify his suggestions empirically, as he had not yet done.
From the late 1910s, Steiner was working with doctors to create a new approach to medicine. In 1921, pharmacists and physicians gathered under Steiner's guidance to create a pharmaceutical company called Weleda which now distributes natural medical products worldwide. At around the same time, Dr. Ita Wegman founded a first anthroposophic medical clinic (now the Ita Wegman Clinic) in Arlesheim.
For a period after World War I, Steiner was active as a lecturer on social reform. A petition expressing his basic social ideas was widely circulated and signed by many cultural figures of the day, including Hermann Hesse.
In Steiner's chief book on social reform, Toward Social Renewal, he suggested that the cultural, political and economic spheres of society need to work together as consciously cooperating yet independent entities, each with a particular task: political institutions should establish political equality and protect human rights; cultural institutions should nurture the free and unhindered development of science, art, education and religion; and economic institutions should enable producers, distributors and consumers to cooperate to provide efficiently for society's needs. He saw such a division of responsibility, which he called the Threefold Social Order, as a vital task which would take up consciously the historical trend toward the mutual independence of these three realms. Steiner saw theocracy; corporate influence on government; and state socialism or governmental interference with science, education, or religion as attempts by, respectively, cultural, economic, and political institutions to dominate or manipulate the other spheres in a way contrary to society's best interests. Steiner also gave suggestions for many specific social reforms.
Steiner proposed what he termed a "fundamental law" of social life:
The well-being of a community of people working together will be the greater, the less the individual claims for himself the proceeds of his work, i.e. the more of these proceeds he makes over to his fellow-workers, the more his own needs are satisfied, not out of his own work but out of the work done by others.—Steiner, The Fundamental Social Law
He sometimes expressed this in the form of the following motto:
The healthy social life is found
When in the mirror of each human soul
The whole community is shaped,
And when in the community
Lives the strength of each human soul.
Architecture and visual arts
Steiner designed 17 buildings, including the First and Second Goetheanums. These two buildings, built in Dornach, Switzerland, were intended to house significant theater spaces as well as a "school for spiritual science". Three of Steiner's buildings have been listed amongst the most significant works of modern architecture.
His primary sculptural work is The Representative of Humanity (1922), a nine-meter high wood sculpture executed as a joint project with the sculptor Edith Maryon. This was intended to be placed in the first Goetheanum. It shows a central, free-standing Christ holding a balance between the beings of Lucifer and Ahriman, representing opposing tendencies of expansion and contraction. It was intended to show, in conscious contrast to Michelangelo's Last Judgment, Christ as mute and impersonal such that the beings that approach him must judge themselves. The sculpture is now on permanent display at the Goetheanum.
Steiner's blackboard drawings were unique at the time and almost certainly not originally intended as art works. Josef Beuys' work, itself heavily influenced by Steiner, has led to the modern understanding of Steiner's drawings as artistic objects.
Steiner wrote four mystery plays between 1909 and 1913: The Portal of Initiation, The Souls' Probation, The Guardian of the Threshold and The Soul's Awakening, modeled on the esoteric dramas of Edouard Schuré, Maurice Maeterlinck, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Steiner's plays continue to be performed by anthroposophical groups in various countries, most notably (in the original German) in Dornach, Switzerland and (in English translation) in Spring Valley, New York and in Stroud and Stourbridge in the U.K.
In collaboration with Marie von Sivers, Steiner also founded a new approach to acting, storytelling, and the recitation of poetry. His last public lecture course, given in 1924, was on speech and drama. Anthroposophic speech trainings generally last four years and offer an accredited diploma. Topics include: differentiating the styles of epic, lyric, dramatic poetry, the language of gesture, and speech; variously known as creative speech or speech formation (Sprachgestaltung). Graduates receive the Goetheanum diploma which allows them the option to pursue a training in Anthroposophical Therapeutic Speech.
Together with Marie von Sivers, Rudolf Steiner also developed the art of eurythmy, sometimes referred to as "visible speech and song". According to the principles of eurythmy, there are archetypal movements or gestures that correspond to every aspect of speech – the sounds (or phonemes), the rhythms, and the grammatical function – to every "soul quality" – joy, despair, tenderness, etc. – and to every aspect of music – tones, intervals, rhythms, and harmonies.
Development of his thought
In his commentaries on Goethe's scientific works, written between 1884 and 1897, Steiner presented Goethe's approach to science as essentially phenomenological in nature, rather than theory- or model-based. He developed this conception further in several books, The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World-Conception (1886) and Goethe's Conception of the World (1897), particularly emphasizing the transformation in Goethe's approach from the physical sciences, where experiment played the primary role, to plant biology, where both accurate perception and imagination was required to find the biological archetypes (Urpflanze), and postulated that Goethe had sought but been unable to fully find the further transformation in scientific thinking necessary to properly interpret and understand the animal kingdom. Steiner emphasized the role of evolutionary thinking in Goethe's discovery of the intermaxillary bone in human beings; Goethe expected human anatomy to be an evolutionary transformation of animal anatomy.
Knowledge and freedom
Steiner approached the philosophical questions of knowledge and freedom in two stages. In his dissertation, published in expanded form in 1892 as Truth and Knowledge, Steiner suggests that there is an inconsistency between Kant's philosophy, which posits that all knowledge is a representation of an essential verity inaccessible to human consciousness, and modern science, which assumes that all influences can be found in the sensory and mental world to which we have access. Steiner considered Kant's philosophy of an inaccessible beyond ("Jenseits-Philosophy") a stumbling block in achieving a satisfying philosophical viewpoint.
Steiner postulates that the world is essentially an indivisible unity, but that our consciousness divides it into the sense-perceptible appearance, on the one hand, and the formal nature accessible to our thinking, on the other. He sees in thinking itself an element that can be strengthened and deepened sufficiently to penetrate all that our senses do not reveal to us. Steiner thus considered what appears to human experience as a division between the spiritual and natural worlds to be a conditioned result of the structure of our consciousness, which separates perception and thinking. These two faculties give us not two worlds, but two complementary views of the same world; neither has primacy and the two together are necessary and sufficient to arrive at a complete understanding of the world. In thinking about perception (the path of natural science) and perceiving the process of thinking (the path of spiritual training), it is possible to discover a hidden inner unity between the two poles of our experience.:Chapter 4 Truth, for Steiner, is paradoxically both an objective discovery and yet "a free creation of the human spirit, that never would exist at all if we did not generate it ourselves. The task of understanding is not to replicate in conceptual form something that already exists, but rather to create a wholly new realm, that together with the world given to our senses constitutes the fullness of reality."
In the Philosophy of Freedom, Steiner further explores potentials within thinking: freedom, he suggests, can only be approached gradually with the aid of the creative activity of thinking. Thinking can be a free deed; in addition, it can liberate our will from its subservience to our instincts and drives. Free deeds, he suggests, are those for which we are fully conscious of the motive for our action; freedom is the spiritual activity of penetrating with consciousness our own nature and that of the world, and the real activity of acting in full consciousness.:133–4 This includes overcoming influences of both heredity and environment: "To be free is to be capable of thinking one's own thoughts – not the thoughts merely of the body, or of society, but thoughts generated by one's deepest, most original, most essential and spiritual self, one's individuality."
Steiner affirms Darwin's and Haeckel's evolutionary perspectives but extended this beyond its materialistic consequences; he sees human consciousness, indeed, all human culture, as a product of natural evolution that transcends itself. For Steiner, nature becomes self-conscious in the human being. Steiner's description of the nature of human consciousness thus closely parallels that of Solovyov:
In his earliest works, Steiner already spoke of the "natural and spiritual worlds" as a unity. From 1900 on, he began lecturing about concrete details of the spiritual world(s), culminating in the publication in 1904 of the first of several systematic presentations, his Theosophy: An Introduction to the Spiritual Processes in Human Life and in the Cosmos. As a starting point for the book Steiner took a quotation from Goethe, describing the method of natural scientific observation, while in the Preface he made clear that the line of thought taken in this book led to the same goal as that in his earlier work, The Philosophy of Freedom.
In the years 1903–1908 Steiner maintained the magazine “Lucifer-Gnosis” and published in it essays on topics such as initiation, reincarnation and karma, and knowledge of the supernatural world. Some of these were later collected and published as books, such as How to Know Higher Worlds (1904/5) and Cosmic Memory. The book An Outline of Esoteric Science was published in 1910. Important themes include:
- the human being as body, soul and spirit;
- the path of spiritual development;
- spiritual influences on world-evolution and history; and
- reincarnation and karma.
Steiner emphasized that there is an objective natural and spiritual world that can be known, and that perceptions of the spiritual world and incorporeal beings are, under conditions of training comparable to that required for the natural sciences, including self-discipline, replicable by multiple observers. It is on this basis that spiritual science is possible, with radically different epistemological foundations than those of natural science. He believed that natural science was correct in its methods but one-sided for exclusively focusing on sensory phenomena, while mysticism was vague in its methods, though seeking to explore the inner and spiritual life. Anthroposophy was meant to apply the systematic methods of the former to the content of the latter
For Steiner, the cosmos is permeated and continually transformed by the creative activity of non-physical processes and spiritual beings. For the human being to become conscious of the objective reality of these processes and beings, it is necessary to creatively enact and reenact, within, their creative activity. Thus objective spiritual knowledge always entails creative inner activity. Steiner articulated three stages of any creative deed::Pt II, Chapter 1
- Moral intuition: the ability to discover or, preferably, develop valid ethical principles;
- Moral imagination: the imaginative transformation of such principles into a concrete intention applicable to the particular situation (situational ethics); and
- Moral technique: the realization of the intended transformation, depending on a mastery of practical skills.
Steiner termed his work from this period onwards Anthroposophy. He emphasized that the spiritual path he articulated builds upon and supports individual freedom and independent judgment; for the results of spiritual research to be appropriately presented in a modern context they must be in a form accessible to logical understanding, so that those who do not have access to the spiritual experiences underlying anthroposophical research can make independent evaluations of the latter's results. Spiritual training is to support what Steiner considered the overall purpose of human evolution, the development of the mutually interdependent qualities of love and freedom.
Steiner and Christianity
In 1899 Steiner experienced what he described as a life-transforming inner encounter with the being of Christ; previously he had little or no relation to Christianity in any form. Then and thereafter, his relationship to Christianity remained entirely founded upon personal experience, and thus both non-denominational and strikingly different from conventional religious forms. Steiner was then 38, and the experience of meeting the Christ occurred after a tremendous inner struggle. To use Steiner's own words, the "experience culminated in my standing in the spiritual presence of the Mystery of Golgotha in a most profound and solemn festival of knowledge."
Christ and human evolution
Steiner describes Christ as the unique pivot and meaning of earth's evolutionary processes and human history, redeeming the Fall from Paradise. He understood the Christ as a being that unifies and inspires all religions, not belonging to a particular religious faith. To be "Christian" is, for Steiner, a search for balance between polarizing extremes:102–3 and the ability to manifest love in freedom.
Central principles of his understanding include:
- The being of Christ is central to all religions, though called by different names by each.
- Every religion is valid and true for the time and cultural context in which it was born.
- Historical forms of Christianity need to be transformed in our times in order to meet the on-going evolution of humanity.
In Steiner's esoteric cosmology, the spiritual development of humanity is interwoven in and inseparable from the cosmological development of the universe. Continuing the evolution that led to humanity being born out of the natural world, the Christ being brings an impulse enabling human consciousness of the forces that act creatively, but unconsciously, in nature.
Divergence from conventional Christian thought
Steiner's views of Christianity diverge from conventional Christian thought in key places, and include gnostic elements. However, unlike many gnostics, Steiner affirms the unique and actual physical Incarnation of God in Jesus at the beginning of the Christian era.
One of the central points of divergence with conventional Christian though is found in Steiner's views on reincarnation and karma.
Steiner also posited two different Jesus children involved in the Incarnation of the Christ: one child descended from Solomon, as described in the Gospel of Matthew; the other child from Nathan, as described in the Gospel of Luke. He references in this regard the fact that the genealogies in these two gospels list twenty-six (Luke) to forty-one (Matthew) completely different ancestors for the generations from David to Jesus. See Genealogy of Jesus for alternative explanations of this radical divergence.
Steiner's view of the second coming of Christ is also unusual. He suggested that this would not be a physical reappearance, but rather, meant that the Christ being would become manifest in non-physical form, in the "etheric realm" – i.e. visible to spiritual vision and apparent in community life – for increasing numbers of people, beginning around the year 1933. He emphasized that the future would require humanity to recognize this Spirit of Love in all its genuine forms, regardless of how this is named. He also warned that the traditional name, "Christ", might be used, yet the true essence of this Being of Love ignored.
The Christian Community
In the 1920s, Steiner was approached by Friedrich Rittelmeyer, a Lutheran pastor with a congregation in Berlin, who asked if it was possible to create a more modern form of Christianity. Soon others joined Rittelmeyer – mostly Protestant pastors and theology students, but including several Roman Catholic priests. Steiner offered counsel on renewing the spiritual potency of the sacraments while emphasizing freedom of thought and a personal relationship to religious life. He envisioned a new synthesis of Catholic and Protestant approaches to religious life, terming this "modern, Johannine Christianity".
The resulting movement for religious renewal became known as "The Christian Community". Its work is based on a free relationship to the Christ, without dogma or policies. Its priesthood, which is open to both men and women, is free to preach out of their own spiritual insights and creativity.
Steiner emphasized that the resulting movement for the renewal of Christianity was a personal gesture of help to a movement founded by Rittelmeyer and others independently of his anthroposophical work. The distinction was important to Steiner because he sought with Anthroposophy to create a scientific, not faith-based, spirituality. He recognized that for those who wished to find more traditional forms, however, a renewal of the traditional religions was also a vital need of the times.
Steiner's work has influenced a broad range of noted personalities. These include philosophers Albert Schweitzer, Owen Barfield and Richard Tarnas; writers Saul Bellow, Andrej Belyj, Michael Ende, Selma Lagerlöf, Edouard Schuré, David Spangler, and William Irwin Thompson; artists Josef Beuys, Wassily Kandinsky, and Murray Griffin; esotericist and educationalist George Trevelyan; actor and acting teacher Michael Chekhov; cinema director Andrei Tarkovsky; composers Jonathan Harvey and Viktor Ullmann; and conductor Bruno Walter. Olav Hammer, though sharply critical of esoteric movements generally, terms Steiner "arguably the most historically and philosophically sophisticated spokesperson of the Esoteric Tradition."
Albert Schweitzer wrote that he and Steiner had in common that they had "taken on the life mission of working for the emergence of a true culture enlivened by the ideal of humanity and to encourage people to become truly thinking beings".
Robert Todd Carroll has said of Steiner that "Some of his ideas on education – such as educating the handicapped in the mainstream – are worth considering, although his overall plan for developing the spirit and the soul rather than the intellect cannot be admired".
Olav Hammer has criticized as scientism Steiner's claim to use a scientific methodology to investigate spiritual phenomena based upon his claims of clairvoyant experience. Steiner regarded the observations of spiritual research as more dependable (and above all, consistent) than observations of physical reality yet considered spiritual research as fallible and, perhaps surprisingly, held the view that anyone capable of thinking logically was in a position to correct errors by spiritual researchers.
Race and ethnicity
Steiner's work includes both universalist, humanist elements and historically influenced racial assumptions. Due to the contrast and even contradictions between these elements, "whether a given reader interprets Anthroposophy as racist or not depends upon that reader's concerns." Steiner considered that every people, by dint of a shared language and culture, has a unique essence, which he called its soul or spirit. He saw race as a physical manifestation of humanity's spiritual evolution and at times discussed race in terms of complex hierarchies largely derived from nineteenth century biology, anthropology, philosophy, and Theosophy. However he consistently and explicitly subordinated race, ethnicity, gender—indeed, all hereditary factors—to individual factors in development. For Steiner, human individuality is centered in a person's unique biography, an individuality's experiences and development not bound by a single lifetime, not the qualities of the physical body. More specifically:
- Steiner occasionally characterized specific races, nations, and ethnicities in ways that have been termed racist by critics including descriptions of certain races and ethnic groups as flowering, others as backward, destined to disappear, or even degenerate; and presented explicitly hierarchical views of the spiritual evolution of different races, including—at times, and inconsistently—portraying the white race, European culture, or Germanic culture as representing the high point of human evolution as of the early 20th century, though describing these as destined to be superseded by future cultures.
- Throughout his life Steiner consistently emphasized the core spiritual unity of all the world's peoples and sharply criticized racial prejudice. He articulated beliefs that the individual nature of any person stands higher than any racial, ethnic, national or religious affiliation. His belief that race and ethnicity are transient and superficial, not essential aspects of the individual was partly rooted in his conviction that each individual incarnates in a variety of different peoples and races over successive lives, and that each of us thus bears within him- or herself the heritage of many races and peoples. Toward the end of his life, Steiner predicted that race will rapidly lose any remaining significance for future generations. In Steiner's view, culture is universal, and explicitly not ethnically based; he saw Goethe and idealist philosophy, in particular, as the source of ideas that could be drawn upon by any culture, and vehemently criticized imperialism.
In the context of his ethical individualism, Steiner considered "race, folk, ethnicity and gender" to be general, describable categories into which individuals may choose to fit, but from which free human beings can and will liberate themselves.
During the years when Steiner was best known as a literary critic, he published a series of articles attacking various manifestations of antisemitism and criticizing some of the most prominent anti-Semites of the time as "barbaric" and "enemies of culture". On a number of occasions, however, Steiner suggested that Jewish cultural and social life had lost all contemporary relevance and promoted full assimilation of the Jewish people into the nations in which they lived. This stance has come under severe criticism in recent years.
Steiner was a critic of his contemporary Theodor Herzl's goal of a Zionist state, as well as of any other ethnically determined state, as he considered ethnicity to be an outmoded basis for social life and civic identity.
Towards the end of his life and after his death, massive defamatory press attacks against Steiner were undertaken by early National Socialist leaders (including Adolf Hitler) and by other right-wing nationalists. These criticized Steiner's thought and Anthroposophy as being incompatible with National Socialist racial ideology and charged both that Steiner was influenced by his close connections with Jews and that he was himself Jewish.
2011 retrospective exhibition
The 150th anniversary of Rudolf Steiner's birth was marked by the first major retrospective exhibition of his art and work, 'Kosmos - Alchemy of the everyday'. Organized by Vitra Design Museum, the traveling exhibition presented many facets of Steiner's life and achievements, including his influence on architecture, furniture design, dance (Eurythmy), education, and agriculture (Biodynamic agriculture). The exhibition opened in 2011 at the Kunstmuseum in Stuttgart, Germany,
Steiner's collected works, making up about 400 volumes, include his writings (about forty volumes), over 6000 lectures, and a substantial body of artistic work.
- Goethean Science (1883–1897)
- Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World-Conception (1886)
- Truth and Knowledge doctoral thesis, (1892)
- Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path, also published as the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity and the Philosophy of Freedom'' (1894) ISBN 0-88010-385-X
- Mysticism at the Dawn of Modern Age (1901/1925)
- Christianity as Mystical Fact (1902)
- Cosmic Memory: Prehistory of Earth and Man (1904)
- How to Know Higher Worlds: A Modern Path of Initiation (1904–5) ISBN 0-88010-508-9
- Theosophy: An Introduction to the Spiritual Processes in Human Life and in the Cosmos (1904) ISBN 0-88010-373-6
- The Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, 1907 ISBN 0854404015, or title of 2000 edition Rosicrucian Wisdom: An Introduction ISBN 1855840634
- The Education of the Child, (1907) ISBN 0-85440-620-4
- An Outline of Esoteric Science (1910) ISBN 0-88010-409-0
- Four Mystery Dramas (1913)
- The Renewal of the Social Organism (1919)
- Reordering of Society: The Fundamental Social Law (1919) (article)
- The Threefold State: The True Aspect of the Social Question (1920)
- True and False Paths in Spiritual Investigation (eleven lectures, 1924). First English edition 1927 (online ), 2010 edition Kessinger Publishing Company ISBN 9781162592510
- Fundamentals of Therapy: An Extension of the Art of Healing Through Spiritual Knowledge (1925)
- Rudolf Steiner: An Autobiography, Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1977, ISBN 0-8334-0757-0 (Originally, The Story of my Life)
- Helmut Zander, Anthroposophie in Deutschland, Göttingen, 2007, ISBN 3-525-55452-4.
- Paddock & Spiegler 2005
- Rudolf Steiner Autobiography: Chapters in the Course of My Life: 1861–1907, Lantern Books, 2006
- ISBN 0-88010-600-X 
- Steiner's autobiography gives his date of birth as 27 February 1861. However, there is an undated autobiographical fragment written by Steiner, referred to in a footnote in his autobiography in German (GA 28), that says, "My birth fell on 25 February 1861. Two days later I was baptized." See Christoph Lindenberg, Rudolf Steiner, Rowohlt 1992, ISBN 3-499-50500-2, p. 8. In 2009 new documentation appeared supporting a date of 27 February : see Günter Aschoff, "Rudolf Steiners Geburtstag am 27. Februar 1861 – Neue Dokumente", Das Goetheanum 2009/9, pp. 3ff
- Some of the literature regarding Steiner's work in these various fields: Goulet, P: “Les Temps Modernes?”, L'Architecture D'Aujourd'hui, December 1982, pp. 8–17; Architect Rudolf Steiner at GreatBuildings.com; Rudolf Steiner International Architecture Database; Brennan, M.: Rudolf Steiner ArtNet Magazine, 18 March 1998; Blunt, R.: Waldorf Education: Theory and Practice – A Background to the Educational Thought of Rudolf Steiner. Master Thesis, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, 1995; Ogletree, E.J.: Rudolf Steiner: Unknown Educator, Elementary School Journal, 74(6): 344–352, March 1974; Nilsen, A.:A Comparison of Waldorf & Montessori Education, University of Michigan; Rinder, L: Rudolf Steiner's Blackboard Drawings: An Aesthetic Perspective[dead link] and exhibition of Rudolf Steiner's Blackboard Drawings[dead link], at Berkeley Art Museum, 11 October 1997 – 4 January 1998; Aurélie Choné, “Rudolf Steiner's Mystery Plays: Literary Transcripts of an Esoteric Gnosis and/or Esoteric Attempt at Reconciliation between Art and Science?”, Aries, Volume 6, Number 1, 2006, pp. 27–58(32), Brill publishing; Christopher Schaefer, “Rudolf Steiner as a Social Thinker”, Re-vision Vol 15, 1992; and Antoine Faivre, Jacob Needleman, Karen Voss; Modern Esoteric Spirituality, Crossroad Publishing, 1992.
- “Who was Rudolf Steiner and what were his revolutionary teaching ideas?” Richard Garner, Education Editor, The Independent
- R. Bruce Elder, Harmony and dissent: film and avant-garde art movements in the early twentieth century, ISBN 978-1-55458-028-6, id=gJ408vKWZ14C&pg=PA32 p. 32
- Robert A. McDermott, "Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy", in Faivre and Needleman, Modern Esoteric Spirituality, ISBN 0-8245-1444-0, p. 288ff
- Christoph Lindenberg, Rudolf Steiner, Rowohlt 1992, ISBN 3-499-50500-2, pp. 123–6
- Rudolf Steiner, “Goethean Science”, GA1, 1883
- Helmut Zander, Schweizer Fernsehen, Sternstunden Philosophie: Die Anthroposophie Rudolf Steiners, program aired 15 February 2009
- Gary Lachman, Rudolf Steiner Publ. Penguin 2007
- Steiner, Correspondence and Documents 1901-1925, p. 9. 1988 ISBN 0880102071
- In Austria passing the matura examination at a Gymnasium (school) was required for entry to the University.
- Zander, Helmut (2011). Rudolf Steiner: Die Biografie. Munich: Piper.
- Geoffrey Ahern, Sun at Midnight, Publ. Cambridge, Clarke 2010 Rev Ed. p.30.
- Alfred Heidenreich, Rudolf Steiner – A Biographical Sketch
- The Collected Works of Rudolf Steiner. Esoteric Lessons 1904–1909. SteinerBooks, 2007.
- Steiner, GA 262, pp. 7–21.
- "Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception", also translated as Goethe's Theory of Knowledge, An Outline of the Epistemology of His Worldview
- Preface to 1924 edition of The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World-Conception, with Specific Reference to Schiller, in which Steiner also wrote that the way of knowing he presented in this work opened the way from the sensory world to the spiritual one.
- Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science Mercury Press, 1988 ISBN 0-936132-92-2, ISBN 978-0-936132-92-1 Goethean Science
- Truth and Knowledge (full text)
- Sergei Prokofieff, May Human Beings Hear It!, Temple Lodge, 2004. p. 460
- Rudolf Steiner, Friedrich Nietzsche, Fighter for Freedom Garber Communications; 2nd revised edition (July 1985) ISBN 978-0893450335. Online
- Gary Lachman, Rudolf Steiner, Tarcher/Penguin 2007.
- Lorenzo Ravagli, Zanders Erzählungen, Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag 2009, ISBN 978-3-8305-1613-2, pp. 184f
- See Lutyens, Mary (2005). J. Krishnamurti: A Life. New Delhi: Penguin Books India. ISBN 0-14-400006-7
- Zimmermann's Geschichte der Aesthetik als philosophische Wissenschaft.: Anthroposophie im Umriss-Entwurf eines Systems idealer Weltansicht auf realistischer Grundlage: Steiner, Anthroposophic Movement: Lecture Two: The Unveiling of Spiritual Truths, 11 June 1923.. Steiner took the name but not the limitations on knowledge which Zimmerman proposed. Steiner, The Riddles of Philosophy (1914), Chapter VI, "Modern Idealistic World Conceptions 
- Rudolf Steiner (1991). Das Schicksalsjahr 1923 in der Geschichte der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft: vom Goethanumbrand zur Weihnachtstagung: Ansprachen, Versammlungen, Dokumente, Januar bis Dezember 1923. Rudolf Steiner Verlag. pp. 750–790 (esp. 787). ISBN 978-3-7274-2590-5.
- Johannes Kiersch, A History of the School of Spiritual Science. Publ. Temple Lodge 2006. p.xiii, ISBN 1902636805
- 1923/1924 Restructuring and deepening. Refounding of the Anthroposophical Society, Goetheanum website
- Rudolf Steiner, Constitution of the School of Spiritual Science: Its arrangement in Sections 1964 ISBN 9781855843820
- Record of Foundation meeting 1923, session of 28 December, 10 a.m. ISBN 0880101938
- Frankfurter Zeitung, 4 March 1921
- Uwe Werner (2011), "Rudolf Steiner zu Individuum und Rasse: Sein Engagement gegen Rassismus und Nationalismus", in Anthroposophie in Geschichte und Gegenwart. trans. Margot M. Saar
- Uwe Werner, Anthroposophen in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus, Munich (1999), p. 7.
- Völkischer Beobachter, 15 March 1921
- Rudolf Steiner, The Esoteric Aspect of the Social Question: The Individual and Society, Steinerbooks, p xiv and see also Lindenberg, Rudolf Steiner: Eine Biographie, pp. 769–70
- "Riot at Munich Lecture", New York Times, 17 May 1922.
- Marie Steiner, Introduction, in Rudolf Steiner, Turning Points in Spiritual History, Dornach, September 1926.
- Wiesberger, Die Krise der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft 1923[dead link]
- Lindenberg, Christoph, Rudolf Steiner: Eine Biographie Vol. II, Chapter 52. ISBN 3-7725-1551-7
- Lindenberg, "Schritte auf dem Weg zur Erweiterung der Erkenntnis", pp. 77ff
- Peter Schneider, Einführung in die Waldorfpädagogik, ISBN 3-608-93006-X
- Steiner described Brentano's Psychology from the Empirical Standpoint (1870) as symptomatic of the weakness of a psychology that intended to follow the method of natural science but lacked the strength and elasticity of mind to do justice to the demand of modern times: Steiner, The Riddles of Philosophy (1914), Chapter VI, "Modern Idealistic World Conceptions 
- Bockemühl, J., Toward a Phenomenology of the Etheric World ISBN 0-88010-115-6
- Edelglass, S. et al., The Marriage of Sense and Thought, ISBN 0-940262-82-7
- Dilthey had used this term in the title of one of the works listed in the Introduction to Steiner's Truth and Science (the doctoral dissertation) as concerned with the theory of cognition in general: Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften, usw., (Introduction to the Spiritual Sciences, etc.) published in 1883..
- Steiner, "The Mission of Spiritual Science", lecture 1 of Metamorphoses of the Soul: Paths of Experience, Vol. 1
- The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World-Conception, ch XIX
- William James and Rudolf Steiner, Robert A. McDermott, 1991, in ReVision, vol.13 no.4 
- Rudolf Steiner, Reincarnation and Karma: Concepts Compelled by the Modern Scientific Point of view, in Lucifer Gnosis 1903.
- Introductory note to Karmic Relationships
- Rudolf Steiner Manifestations of Karma 4th edition 2000 ISBN 1855840588. Online 
- These lectures were published as Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies
- Ellic Howe: The Magicians of the Golden Dawn London 1985, Routledge, pp 262 ff
- Elisabeth Vreede, who Steiner had nominated as the first leader of the Mathematical-Astronomical Section, was responsible for the posthumous 1926 edition of Steiner's astronomy course, concerning this branch of natural science from the point of view of Anthroposophy and spiritual science, under the title The Relationship of the various Natural-Scientific Subjects to Astronomy, 
- Guenther Wachsmuth, The Life and Work of Rudolf Steiner from the Turn of the Century to his Death. p.53. Translated by Olin D. Wannamaker and Reginald E. Raab. 1955, Whittier Books (New York), 1955
- Johannes Kiersch, A History of the School of Spiritual Science: The First Class, Temple Lodge Publishing, 2006, p.xii. The detailed account is given in chapter 8
- IN CONTEXT No. 6, Summer 1984
- ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
- Evans, M. and Rodger, I. Anthroposophical Medicine: Treating Body, Soul and Spirit
- Camphill list of communities
- Both Goetheanum buildings are listed as among the most significant 100 buildings of modern architecture by Goulet, Patrice, Les Temps Modernes?, L'Architecture D'Aujourd'hui, December 1982
- Great Buildings Online
- The original essay was published in the journal Lucifer-Gnosis in 1907 and can be found in Steiner's collected essays, Lucifer-Gnosis 1903-1908, GA34. This essay was republished as an independent brochure in 1909; in a Prefatory note to this edition, Steiner refers to recent lectures on the subject. An English translation can be found in The Education of the Child: And Early Lectures on Education (first English edition 1927, Second English edition 1981, London and New York, 1996 edition ISBN 880104147)
- Paull, John (2011) Rudolf Steiner and the Oxford Conference: The Birth of Waldorf Education in Britain. European Journal of Educational Studies, 3 (1): 53–66.
- Paull, John (2011) "Attending the First Organic Agriculture Course: Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Course at Koberwitz, 1924" European Journal of Social Sciences, 21(1):64–70.
- Paull, John (2011) "The secrets of Koberwitz: The diffusion of Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Course and the founding of Biodynamic Agriculture", Journal of Social Research & Policy, 2(1):19–29.
- Paull, John (2011). "Organics Olympiad 2011: Global Indices of Leadership in Organic Agriculture". Journal of Social and Development Sciences 1 (4): 144–150.
- Paull, John (2011) "Biodynamic Agriculture: The Journey from Koberwitz to the World, 1924–1938", Journal of Organic Systems, 2011, 6(1):27–41.
- Groups in N. America, List of Demeter certifying organizations, Other biodynamic certifying organization,Some farms in the world
- How to Save the World: One Man, One Cow, One Planet; Thomas Burstyn
- Robert McDermott, The Essential Steiner, Harper San Francisco 1984 ISBN 0-06-065345-0
- Steiner (1917), "The Fundamental Social Law", translated in Selected writings of Rudolf Steiner (1993), Richard Seddon (Ed.), Rudolf Steiner Press, Bristol. ISBN 1 85584 005 7
- Compare: "Each of us puts his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will, and, in our corporate capacity, we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole" Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract I.6
- Goulet, P: "Les Temps Modernes?", L'Architecture D'Aujourd'hui, December 1982, pp. 8–17.
- Art as Spiritual Activity: Rudolf Steiner's Contribution to the Visual Arts. (1998) Intro. Michael Howard, p.50. ISBN 0 88010 396 5
- The Reprsentative of Humanity Between Lucifer and Ahriman, The Wooden Model at the Goetheanum, Judith von Halle, John Wilkes (2010) ISBN 9781855842397 from the German Die Holzplastik des Goetheanum (2008) 
- Rudolf Steiner Christ in Relation to Lucifer and Ahriman, lecture May,1915 
- Rudolf Steiner, The Etheric Body as a Reflexion of the Universe lecture, June 1915 
- Thought-Pictures - Rudolf Steiner’s Blackboard Drawings
- Lawrence Rinder, Rudolf Steiner: An Aesthetic Perspective
- Ehrenfried Pfeiffer 'On Rudolf Steiner's Mystery Dramas, Four Lectures Given in Spring Valley, 1948' ISBN 0-936132-93-0
- Anderson, Neil (June 2011). "On Rudolf Steiner's Impact on the Training of the Actor". Literature & Aesthetics 21 (1).
- Johannes Hemleben, Rudolf Steiner: A documentary biography, Henry Goulden Ltd, 1975, ISBN 0-904822-02-8, pp. 37–49 and pp. 96–100 (German edition: Rowohlt Verlag, 1990, ISBN 3-499-50079-5)
- Anthony Storr, Feet of Clay, Free Press-Simon and Schuster, 1996. Storr quotes Steiner p72, "If, however, we regard the sum of all percepts as the one part and contrast with this a second part, namely the things-in-themselves, then we are philosophising into the blue. We are merely playing with concepts."
- Steiner, Rudolf, Truth and Science, Preface.
- "To be conscious of the laws underlying one's actions is to be conscious of one's freedom. The process of knowing () is the process of development towards freedom." Steiner, GA3, pp. 91f, quoted in Rist and Schneider, p. 134
- Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind, ISBN 0-7126-7332-6. Cf. Solovyov: "In human beings, the absolute subject-object appears as such, i.e. as pure spiritual activity, containing all of its own objectivity, the whole process of its natural manifestation, but containing it totally ideally – in consciousness....The subject knows here only its own activity as an objective activity (sub specie object). Thus, the original identity of subject and object is restored in philosophical knowledge." (The Crisis of Western Philosophy, Lindisfarne 1996 pp. 42–3)
- Theosophy, Chapter I: The Essential Nature of Man
- Theosophy, from the Prefaces to the First, Second, and Third Editions 
- Articles from “Lucifer-Gnosis,” 1903–1908
- Steiner, Christianity as Mystical Fact and the Mysteries of Antiquity, Anthroposophic Press 2006 ISBN 0880104368
- One of Steiner's teachers, Franz Brentano, had famously declared that "The true method of philosophy can only be the method of natural science" (Walach, Harald, "Criticism of Transpersonal Psychology and Beyond", in The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Transpersonal Psychology, ed. H. L. Friedman and G. Hartelius. P. 45.)
- Autobiography, Chapters In The Course Of My Life: 18611907, Rudolf Steiner, SteinerBooks, 2006
- Carlo Willmann, Waldorfpädagogik: Theologische und religionspädagogische Befunde, Kölner Veröffentlichungen zur Religionsgeschichte, Volume 27, ISBN 3-412-16700-2, especially Chapters 1.3, 1.4
- An Outline of Esoteric Science, Anthroposophic, SteinerBooks, 1997
- Robert Fulford, "Bellow: the novelist as homespun philosopher", The National Post, 23 October 2000
- Andrey Bely
- Judith Wermuth-Atkinson, The Red Jester: Andrei Bely's Petersburg as a Novel of the European Modern (2012). ISBN 3643901542
- J.D. Elsworth, Andrej Bely:A Critical Study of the Novels, Cambridge:1983, cf. 
- Michael Ende biographical notes, "Michael Ende und die magischen Weltbilder"
- Selma Lagerlöf – Biography
- John F. Moffitt, "Occultism in Avant-Garde Art: The Case of Joseph Beuys", Art Journal, Vol. 50, No. 1, (Spring, 1991), pp. 96–98
- Peg Weiss, "Kandinsky and Old Russia: The Artist as Ethnographer and Shaman", The Slavic and East European Journal, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Summer, 1997), pp. 371–373
- Kandinsky: The Path to Abstraction 1908 – 1922
- Alana O'Brien, In Search of the Spiritual: Murray Griffin's View of the Supersensible World, La Trobe University Museum of Art, 2009
- Michael Barker, Sir George Trevelyan's Life Of Magic, Swans Commentary, November 5, 2012
- Daboo, Jerri (September 2007). "Michael Chekhov and the embodied imagination: Higher self and non-self". Studies in Theatre & Performance 27 (3): 261–273. doi:10.1386/stap.27.3.261_1.
- Layla Alexander Garrett on Tarkovsky, Nostalgia.com
- Alexandra Coghlan "Weltethos: CBSO, Gardner, Royal Festival Hall" ArtsDesk 08/10/2012
- Gwyneth Bravo, Viktor Ullmann
- Bruno Walter, "Mein Weg zur Anthroposophie". In: Das Goetheanum 52 (1961), 418–2
- Olav Hammer, Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age, Brill 2004, pp. 329; 64f; 225-8; 176. See also p. 98, where Hammer states that – unusually for founders of esoteric movements – Steiner's self-descriptions of the origins of his thought and work correspond to the view of external historians.
- Albert Schweitzer: Friendship with Rudolf Steiner
- Robert Todd Carroll (12 September 2004). "The Skeptic's Dictionary: Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925)". The Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- Steiner: "It may even happen that a researcher who has the power of perception in supersensible realms may fall into error in his logical presentation, and that someone who has no supersensible perception, but who has the capacity for sound thinking, may correct him."Occult Science, Chapter IV
- Staudenmaier, Peter (February 2008). "Race and Redemption". Nova Religio (University of California Press): 4ff.
- "Es hängt dabei von den Interessen der Leser ab, ob die Anthroposophie rassistisch interpretiert wird oder nicht." Helmut Zander, "Sozialdarwinistische Rassentheorien aus dem okkulten Untergrund des Kaiserreichs", in Puschner et al., Handbuch zur "Völkischen Bewegung" 1871–1918: 1996.
- Arno Frank, "Einschüchterung auf Waldorf-Art", Die Tageszeitung 4 August 2000.
- Corinna Treitel, A Science for the Soul: Occultism and the Genesis of the German Modern, Johns Hopkins Press, ISBN 0-8018-7812-8, p. 103
- Eugen Blume, "Joseph Beuys". In Kugler and Baur, Rudolf Steiner in Kunst und Architektur, ISBN 3-8321-9012-0, p. 186
- Perry Myers, "Colonial consciousness: Rudolf Steiner's Orientalism and German Cultural Identity", Journal of European Studies 36(4): 387–417
- Mitteilungen aus dem Verein zur Abwehr des Antisemitismus, 11(37):307-8, 11 September 1901. Article. Mitteilungen, 11(38):316, 18 September 1901. Article. Cf. GA31 for a complete list and text of articles.
- "Hammer und Hakenkreuz – Anthroposophie im Visier der völkischen Bewegung", Südwestrundfunk, 26 November 2004
- Thesenpapier von Dr. Jan Badewien zur Veranstaltung: Antijudaismus bei Rudolf Steiner?, Universität Paderborn, 23.01.02.
- "The need to overcome nationalism was one of the central themes of [Steiner's] social agenda": Hans-Jürgen Bracker, "The individual and the unity of humankind". in Judaism and Anthroposophy, ed. Fred Paddock and Mado Spiegler. Anthroposophic Press, 2003, ISBN 0880105100. p. 100. See also "Humanistischer Zionismus", in Novalis 5 (1997): "Steiner generell die allmähliche Überwindung und Auflösung von Stammes-, Volks-, Nationen- und »Rasse«-grenzen vertrat"
- Paull, John (2011) "Rudolf Steiner - Alchemy of the Everyday - Kosmos - A photographic review of the exhibition"
- Paull, John (2011) "A Postcard from Stuttgart: Rudolf Steiner's 150th anniversary exhibition 'Kosmos'", Journal of Bio-Dynamics Tasmania, 103 (September ), pp. 8–11.
- Almon, Joan (ed.) Meeting Rudolf Steiner, firsthand experiences compiled from the Journal for Anthroposophy since 1960, ISBN 0-9674562-8-2
- Anderson, Adrian: Rudolf Steiner Handbook, Port Campbell Press, 2014, ISBN 978-0-9581341-2-5
- Childs, Gilbert, Rudolf Steiner: His Life and Work, ISBN 0-88010-391-4
- Davy, Adams and Merry, A Man Before Others: Rudolf Steiner Remembered. Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993.
- Easton, Stewart, Rudolf Steiner: Herald of a New Epoch, ISBN 0-910142-93-9
- Hemleben, Johannes and Twyman,Leo, Rudolf Steiner: An Illustrated Biography. Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001.
- Kries, Mateo and Vegesack, Alexander von, Rudolf Steiner: Alchemy of the Everyday, Weil am Rhein: Vitra Design Museum, 2010. ISBN 3-931936-86-4
- Lachman, Gary, Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction to His Life and Work, 2007, ISBN 1-58542-543-5
- Lindenberg, Christoph, Rudolf Steiner: Eine Biographie (2 vols.). Stuttgart, 1997, ISBN 3-7725-1551-7
- Lissau, Rudi, Rudolf Steiner: Life, Work, Inner Path and Social Initiatives. Hawthorne Press, 2000.
- McDermott, Robert, The Essential Steiner. Harper Press, 1984
- Prokofieff, Sergei O., Rudolf Steiner and the Founding of the New Mysteries. Temple Lodge Publishing, 1994.
- Seddon, Richard, Rudolf Steiner. North Atlantic Books, 2004.
- Shepherd, A.P., Rudolf Steiner: Scientist of the Invisible. Inner Traditions, 1990.
- Schiller, Paul, Rudolf Steiner and Initiation. SteinerBooks, 1990.
- Selg, Peter, Rudolf Steiner as a Spiritual Teacher. From Recollections of Those Who Knew Him, SteinerBooks Publishing, 2010.
- Tummer, Lia and Lato, Horacio, Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy for Beginners. Writers & Readers Publishing, 2001.
- Turgeniev, Assya, Reminiscences of Rudolf Steiner and Work on the First Goetheanum, ISBN 1-902636-40-6
- Villeneuve, Crispian, Rudolf Steiner: The British Connection, Elements from his Early Life and Cultural Development, ISBN 978-1-906999-29-2
- Wachsmuth, Guenther, The Life and Work of Rudolf Steiner: From the Turn of the Century to his Death, Whittier Books 1955.
- Welburn, Andrew, Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy and the Crisis of Contemporary Thought, ISBN 0-86315-436-0
- Wilkinson, Roy, Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction to his Spiritual World-View, ISBN 1-902636-28-7
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- Rudolf Steiner Overview
- The Anthroposophical Society in America
- The Goetheanum
- Rudolf Steiner Archiv in German
- Emerson College UK
- The Rudolf Steiner Online Archive with English translations of many of Steiner's works
- Steiner lending library
- Rudolf Steiner Audio
- A list of all known English translations
- Rudolf Steiner Handbook (PDF, 60 MB)
- Articles and broadcasts about Steiner
- The Personality of Rudolf Steiner and his Development, Edouard Schuré, Macoy Publishing (1910), from French, Paris (1908)
- Heiner Ullrich, "Rudolf Steiner", Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education (Paris, UNESCO: International Bureau of Education), vol.XXIV, no. 3/4, 1994, p. 555–572
- Rudolf Steiner: 'Scientist of the Invisible' (Carlin Romano, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Volume 53, Issue 37, 2007, p. B16)
- Rudolf Steiner introduced by Owen Barfield.
- "From schools to business – Rudolf Steiner's legacy lives on", Deutsche Welle broadcast (in English), 28.02.2011
- Rudolf Steiner's Blackboard Drawings, Berkeley Art Museum
- Skeptics Dictionary
- Steiner biography by Gary Lachman