Life and Work of Rudolf Steiner - Guenther Wachsmuth

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)







Die Geburt der Geisteswissenschaft







N.ew York, Whittier GJ3ooks, GJnc.



Copyright 1955 by Guenther Wachsmuth

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publishers, except for brief passages embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address the publishers,WHITTIER BOOKS,

INC., 31 Union Square, New York 3,

New York.

Printed in the United States of America.


Translated by Reginald E. Raab: Pages 1-185 Translated by Olin D. Wannamaker: Pages 186-586

WHEN RUDOLF STEINER'S autobiography, The Course of My Life, was cut short by his death on March 30, 1925, he had dealt only in an introductory manner with the period of culminating fruition in his career-the opening quarter of the new century. The fascinating account of the development of an original and creative life from childhood into its fourth decade ended abruptly, leaving veiled in silence the later achievements which crowned those of the earlier decades. Looking back over the whole duration of sixty-four years, one is deeply impressed with a realization of the loss humanity would have suffered if this unique individuality had left no record of his inner and outer evolution and creative achievement from childhood through youth and into middle life, but one realizes also how great the loss for the future would be if no record should exist of the epoch of fully achieved life-mission. It is profoundly fortunate, therefore, that a gifted student of Rudolf Steiner, in close association with him during the final stages of his life, has found it possible to compose a richly detailed narrative of the culminating quarter-century not set forth in the autobiography. For all who will wish seriously to acquaint themselves with one of the most notable personalities of the modern world, this biography will be of inestimable value. The career with a part of which this volume deals falls conspicuously into two phases. In important degree, the prolonged period from birth in 1861 to the end of the century was a period of preparation. This can be stated, however, only in the light of the unparalleled significance of the succeeding stage. For the phase of preparation was marked by notable intellectual achievement. The original and creative scholarship even of early youth established the position of the young author among the most notable Goethe specialists. The ground for this established reputation is manifest in Goethe the Scientist, a translation of his brilliant interpretive introductions to all of Goethe's scientific writings available in the 'eighties of the last century. His own writings before the beginning of what we venture to call the phase of full fruition of his career would of themselves






have made him an outstanding figure in the contemporary intellectual world:-The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception; his own theory of knowledge, Truth and Science, which placed proper boundaries around the area of application of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason; the fundamental philosophical work which sets forth in a new light the nature of man's inner capacities of thinking, feeling and volition, translated into English under the title The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, which lays a :firm foundation for the conviction that the human will is potentially free; the deeply penetrating outline of the evolution of human thinking from the early Greeks to the contemporary age in Riddles of Philosophy. Yet even such achievements in creative thinking proved later to be preparatory-a living and germinal preparation-for the final quartercentury of this career. This Hfe-mission began to come into the light of day with the appearance of Christianity As Mystical Fact, in 1902-Christianity as fact, not tradition, and as fact which can be experienced in a state of genuine cognition akin to the mystic state of consciousness which is one of feeling alone. This life-mission was to deal in a deeply penetrating and intimate manner with man as spirit-embryo, offspring, nursling of the universe of spirit-and with this spirit universe. It is with the flowering of this activity in the spiritual education of humanity that the biographer, Guenther Wachsmuth, deals-drawing upon much direct experience and abundance of impressive material. When Rudolf Steiner's life came to a dose, he had been widely lmown in Europe for almost a half-century-at first among scholars and thinkers, then for two decades almost universally. His tireless activity in lecturing had left its intellectual and spiritual impression in almost every city of the continent, and also in England. During the later years, thousands of earnest seekers after truth and light on problems of the individual and the social life had thronged the halls where he spoke. It is not surprising that the :first edition of this competent biography was soon exhausted and a second required, from which the present translation is made. It is gratifying to be able to present this rendering to the English-speaking world. The long-continued and expansive European interest in the subject of the biography called for a richly detailed account of the quarter-century set forth. Upon suggestion of the author, the English translation has been somewhat compressed, but as nearly as possible without the sacrifice of any essential content. Since the translation is intended to meet the interest of readers and students unfamiliar with the German language, all titles of books and lectures, and with few exceptions also the names of organizations and

[Preface 1 vii institutions, are presented in English even in instances where no translations of published items are available. It is regretted that, in thus smoothing the wad of the reader, we unavoidably cause inconvenience to the serious student. One who may wish to obtain published items mentioned in the biography would do well to indicate in ordering the page in this volume where the English title is given. This will facilitate determination of the

original item if there is no translation available. O.D.W.

April 1955



List of Illustrations

Following Page

Rudolf Steiner, 1905 Rudolf Steiner, 1908 Eliza von Moltke and Rudolf Steiner, about 1907 Rudolf Steiner and Marie von Sivers, 1908 Dornach, 1913 In the Studio, with Model of the First Goetheanum Building-1914 The First Goetheanum Building, View from the Southwest View from the Large into the Small Domed Space of the First Goetheanum Building View of the Auditorium, the First Goetheanum Building The First Goetheanum Building, View from the South. In the Studio, at Work on the Statue Rudolf Steiner, 1915 Rudolf Steiner, 1915 Christmas Play, Direction by Rudolf Steiner Christmas Play, Direction by Rudolf Steiner The "Schreinerei" and Rudolf Steiner's Studio "The Glass House" at the Goetheanum Marie Steiner, 1915 Eurythmy Scene from Rudolf Steiner's Mystery Drama, The Soul's Awakening Scene from Rudolf Steiner's Mystery Drama, The Guardian of the Threshold:IX



52 52116J 16

116 116116 116

116116372 372 372 372 372

372 372 372



[List of Illustrations]Following Page

Scene from Faust, Part Scene from Faust, Part Albert Steffen, 1921

n, n,

Classical Walpurgis Night Classical Walpurgis Night

372 372372

Scene from Albert Steffen's Play, Adonis Drama Scene from Albert Steffen's Drama, The Death-Experience of Manes Glass Window in the Goetheanum Building Dr. Elisabeth Vreede Dr. Ita. Wegman The Clinical-Therapeutical Institute in Arlesheim The Second Goetheanum Building, View from the West South Stairway in the Second Goetheanum Building The Second Goetheanum Building, View from the Southwest The Goetheanum in the Spring Landscape Rudolf Steiner, 1923 Rudolf Steiner at a Druid Occult Center in Southern England On a Journey in Winter The Goetheanum in the

372 372 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500564 THE LIFE AND WORK OF RUDOLF STEINER




564 564 564 564 564 564 564 564

The Goetheanum from the Air Dr. Guenther Wachsmuth, 1923Rudolf Steiner, 1923

Facsimile of Rudolf Steiner's Handwriting: Statutes of the General Anthroposophical Society The Goetheanum in the Landscape Pedagogical Summer Conference in Holland, Amheim Rudolf Steiner




presented his autobiography to us in the volume The Course of My Lifeo He commenced to write this in December 19230 It describes the course of his life in its fullness of knowledge and activities, its inward and outward decisions, its spiritual experience and creative impulses, his childhood and youth, his scientific and spiritual research and the development of his work until shortly after the turn of the centuryo When he had recorded his life up to this decisive turning point, his death in March 1925 brought the autobiography to an endo The life of a great man can be revealed in its deepest truth only by the person himselfo Yet those who follow demand to know, and ought to know, in what manner the course of this great life fulfilled itself after the tum of the century He began the record of his life, as he himself said, because of th


View more >