Das literarische und künstlerische Werk (review)

Journal of the History of Philosophy 3 (1):142-142 (1965)
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Abstract

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:142 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY Das literarische und kiinstlerische Werk. By Rudolf Steiner. Eine bibliographische Uebersicht, 1961. (Dornaeh: 1961. Pp. 277.) This is a complete list of the writings, lectures, and artistic creations of the founder of Anthroposophy, Dr. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). It is, in addition, a description of the Temple of Anthroposophy, the "Goetheanum" in Dornach built after the ideas of Steiner, of his "mystery-plays," of his ideas on "eurhythmy," of his designs of furnishings for the "Goetheanum," of his sculptural suggestions, etc. Thus, the booklet encompasses the whole life-work of Steiner and was published in 1961 at the 100th anniversary of his birth. It is prefaced by a biographical sketch based on Steiner's "Autobiography." Rudolf Steiner was the son of a railway employer from Lower Austria. He studied first in technical high schools (Realschule) in the neighborhood of the Austrian capital and then in the Technical University of u In the high school, he was already most impressed by the study of geometry and arithmetic because they seemed to show that there is an independent realm of thought not connected with the world of senses. This conviction led him to a lifelong search for a spiritual world beyond and above the visible world. While this impulse was rather scientific than religious, it led him also into the theosophical movement, then headed by Mrs. Annie Besant in London. But this connection was broken when Mrs. Besant wanted to appoint a young Hindu to be a reincarnation of Christ. This was unacceptable to Steiner and he founded the independent anthroposophical movement in Germany where he spent most of his life writing, teaching, and lecturing. His first writings were commentaries to the work~ of Goethe oa natural sciences. Goethe thus became the "heros eponymus" of Anthroposophy. In 1913, Steiner started to build the Temple of Anthroposophy at Dornaeh (Switzerland) which he called "Goetheanum." This temple, the details of the structure, its style, its furniture were supposed to be symbolical of.the ideas contained in Anthroposophy. In a cycle of lectures entitled "What was the purpose of the Goetheanum?" and "What is the purpose of Anthroposophy?" he states that this aim was the "exaltation of the human cognitive power into imagination, inspiration, and intuition." The results of this exaltation were a somewhat complicated and phantastic mysticism. The Goetheanum, which, for symbolical reasons, was built of wood, burned to the ground in 1922. Starting in 1924, it was replaced by a building in concrete. Steiner did not live to see the reconstructed Temple because he died in 1925. Steiner tried to invent new forms of art in his Goetheanum, new forms of dramatic poetry in his mystery-plays, and new forms of a spiritualized symbolic dance in his "eurhythmy." His life-work is prodigious. Apart from his writings he gave some 6,000 lectures. MAx RIESER New York City Gegenw~rtiges und Vergangenes im Menschengeiste. By Rudolf Steiner. (Dornach: 1962. Pp. 308.) This is a new printing in the framework of the Collected Works of Rudolf Steiner of twelve lectures given during World War I in Berlin in 1916. These lectures are historically interesting since they refer to contemporary publications in Germany and Austria, but they also offer in nuce the main elements of "Anthroposophy" in the form of an anthroposophical anthropology and also of an anthroposophical philosophy of cosmic and human history. The whole is based on the assumption of the existence of a spiritual world paralleling the physical world. This anthropology is aimed at the refutation of the materialistic conceptions based on the natural sciences of that time. Steiner thinks that a man built according to the ideas of the natural sciences would not be a living being but a sort of "homunculus," i.e., an automaton. Apart from the physical body, man has an "ethereal body," an "astral body," and an "Ego." These three entities do not die a physical death. In addition they represent the world of animals, of plants, and of minerals, respectively, incorporated in man. There are also different epochs of human development in which the relationship of the spiritual parts of the human being were not related to each other in the same...

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