The Sufferings of the Nathan Soul
Anthroposophic Christology on the Eve of World War I
“Humanity must embark upon a conscious grasp of today’s events. For this reason, we must come to know Christ better, and this is connected with insight into the nature of the human being, Jesus of Nazareth” (Rudolf Steiner).
On 1 June 1914, Rudolf Steiner spoke in Basel for the last time before the outbreak of World War I, and for the last time ever in all his lectures and writings about the Nathan soul and its relationship with the Mystery of Golgotha. This internal lecture, given only for members of the Anthroposophical Society, concluded a series of profound Christological reflections begun on September 20, 1913, at the laying of the foundation stone for the St. John’s building (the first Goetheanum) in nearby Dornach and culminating (four weeks before the Sarajevo assassination that sparked the Great War) in the motif of “selflessness,” whose importance for the future Steiner stressed with great and unmistakable emphasis.
This study by Peter Selg—first published on the centennial of the outbreak of World War I—focuses on the development of key motifs in Steiner’s lectures in the immediate prewar period: the “Fifth Gospel,” the Nathan soul, and Christ’s act of sacrifice. Also contained here is the entire text of Rudolf Steiner’s lecture in Basel on June 1, 1914, whose important words of introduction have appeared only once before, in the Goetheanum newsletter in 1936.
C O N T E N T S:
1. Rudolf Steiner: “The Four Christ Sacrifices and the Culture of Selflessness” (Basel, June 1, 1914)
2. Peter Selg: Preludes to the Mystery of Golgotha: The account given in Basel, and the culmination of anthroposophic Christology before the outbreak of World War I