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The Mystery of the Heart

The Sacramental Physiology of the Heart in Aristotle, Thomas Aqinas, and Rudolf Steiner

Peter Selg
Translated by Dana Fleming
Paperback
March 2012
9780880107518
More details
  • Publisher
    SteinerBooks
  • Published
    20th March 2012
  • ISBN 9780880107518
  • Language English
  • Pages 250 pp.
$30.00

"Every moral deed and every physical action in human life is connected in the human heart. Only when we truly learn to understand the configuration of he human heart will we find the true fusion of these two parallel and independent phenomena: moral events and physical events."Rudolf Steiner

Today we know very little about the true nature of the human heart. Our knowledge arises only from a materialistic or an emotional standpoint. However, the human heart, as Rudolf Steiner knew and taught, is both spiritual and physical—the place where body and soul come together. It is the place of their unity. We have lost this knowledge, yet it is integral to the Western understanding of what gives humanity its vocation—our spiritual/physical, our earthly/heavenly nature.

In this astonishing and inspiring book, Peter Selg focuses on the evolution of the spiritual understanding of the heart as transmitted through Aristotle, the Gospels, and Hebrew Scriptures to the Middle Ages, when, in the light of the Mystery of Golgotha and its sacramental life, it was synthesized and transformed by Thomas Aquinas, after whom, with the rise of modern science it, was lost until Goethe began a process of recovery and development that led to its complete renewal and transformation in Rudolf Steiner.

The Mystery of the Heart tells this story in three parts. Part one, “The Anthropology of the Heart in the Gospels,” examines the spiritual anthropology of the heart in the Gospels in the light of Ezekiel’s prophetic saying: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a living heart of flesh.” Part two, “De Essentia et Motu Cordis,” describes Aristotle’s understanding of the heart and its transformation and deepening in Aquinas. Part three, “The Heart and the Fate of Humanity,” examines the spiritual-scientific view of the heart as developed in Rudolf Steiner’s teachings.

Also included is an appendix containing selected meditative verses and therapeutic meditations for the heart.

This volume was originally published in German by Verlag am Goetheanum 2003 as Mysterium cordis: Von der Mysterienstätte des Menschenherzens Studien zur sakramentalen Physiologie des Herzorgans. Aristoteles, Thomas von Aquin, Rudolf Steiner. Second edition in German, Verlag am Goetheanum 2006, Dornach, Switzerland.

Peter Selg

Born 1963, Stuttgart.

1986–1993 Study of human medicine at the University of Witten/Herdecke, in Berlin and Zurich. Doctoral thesis: "Attempt to systematize Rudolf Steiner's human physiological ideas. An analysis of the entire lecture and written work (Witten/Herdecke 1995).

1993–2000 Further training as a specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry and psychotherapy. Senior physician in the psychiatric department for adolescents and young adults at the Herdecke Community Hospital.

2000–2002 Research associate at the Institute for Applied Epistemology and Medical Methodology (Freiburg).

2002–2006 Head physician at the Ita Wegman Clinic Arlesheim (adolescent psychiatry and psychotherapy); since 2006 establishment and management of the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Anthroposophical Research

Since 2007 professorship for medical anthropology and ethics at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences (Alfter near Bonn); teaching in the Studium fundamentale and in the accompanying studies in anthroposophic medicine at the University/Witten-Herdecke

Since 2020, Co-leader of the General Anthroposophical Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland