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The Essential Steiner

Basic Writings of Rudolf Steiner

August 2007
More details
  • Publisher
    Lindisfarne Books
  • Published
    10th August 2007
  • ISBN 9781584200512
  • Language English
  • Pages 468 pp.

The Essential Steiner offers a compact, accessible, and illuminating introduction to essential writings of Rudolf Steiner, the great modern spiritual teacher who has had an immense influence on contemporary education, literature, art, science, and philosophy. Robert McDermott offers selections from sixty of Steiner’s published works that show the extraordinary range, vision, and power of his thought.

In his introduction, McDermott recounts Steiner’s life and work, from childhood and education to his work as a natural scientist, philosopher, scholar, educator, artist, interpreter of culture, and seer. Steiner is placed in the context of major traditions of thought with an exploration of important spiritual and philosophical relationships.

Although Steiner is credited with major cultural contributions and as the founder of the worldwide Waldorf school movement, he remains remarkably little known by the academic community as well as the general public. Selections from Steiner’s writings are presented in five chapters, each with an introductory commentary:

Knowledge, Nature, and Spirit: early writings (1894–1904) on philosophy of nature, spiritual thinking, and the knowledge of higher worlds;

Spiritual Anthropology: on Steiner’s theory of human nature as a combination of the physical, etheric, soul-life, and spiritual;

Historical Vision: Steiner’s interpretation of history from Egyptian and Buddhist culture, to the Greeks and the modern age;

Esoteric Christianity: Steiner’s esoteric interpretation of the Christ event and Christian revelation;

Society and Education: on social philosophy and education, of particular releveance to contemporary issues.

The Essential Steiner provides an invaluable compendium and an accessible introduction to foundational works of Anthroposophy.

Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up. 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.