nzz continues its series on steiner and anthroposophy

Swiss newspaper NZZ continues its article series on Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy. (Earlier posts.) Now with one article about Steiner written by Helmut Zander. Steiner

konzipiert seine «Geisteswissenschaft». Deren Erkenntnisse sollten so objektiv und «modern» sein wie diejenigen der Laborforschung in den «exakten» Wissenschaften. Man begreift nichts von Steiners Anthroposophie, wenn man dieses Herz seiner Erkenntnistheorie nicht ernst nimmt. Anthroposophie sollte keine Plauderwelt höherer Töchter sein, sondern das Reich höchster Erkenntnis des göttlichen «Geistigen»

writes Zander. Read. His article is the one most worth reading, but I’ll also mention the other three, shorter articles published by NZZ.

There was one short piece on racist and antisemitic tendencies in Steiner’s work.

Zu den umstrittensten Seiten der Anthroposophie gehören ihre rassistischen Züge. Das war zwar Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts nicht ungewöhnlich. Problematisch bei Steiner ist aber, dass sein Rassismus aus den von ihm postulierten Evolutionsstufen der Menschheit folgt. Will man das Rassendenken loswerden, droht das gesamte Gedankengebäude zusammenzubrechen.


Another article explains Steiner’s idea that there were not one Jesus but two.

Der eine Jesus war eine Reinkarnation des alt-iranischen Religionsstifters Zarathustra, der andere stand mit Buddha in Verbindung. Mit 12 Jahren verliess die «Ichheit» des Zarathustra-Jesus seinen Körper und drang in den anderen Jesus ein.


In addition, there’s one slightly longer, but still quite short, piece on anthroposophical medicine.


26 thoughts on “nzz continues its series on steiner and anthroposophy

  1. yes please Tom – google chrome can’t do it. Looks fascinating. Stuff Sune. (That’s a metaphor, I’m pointing this out because I know how concrete his thinking is. ‘ThetisMercurio stuffs Waldorf supporters with Hate foie gras and feeds them to the French’)

  2. I have read the article, many thanks for the link.
    Professor Zander has tried hard to understand the anthroposophy and that’s why I do respect him. He is contributing to the process that makes the anthroposophy world wide known. He recognizes the revolutionary impact anthroposophy could have, but cannot yet recognize that is indeed possible that you can speak about Nichtsinnliches in derselben Art (..), wie die Naturwissenschaft über Sinnliches spricht».

    With help of some critics the anthroposophy could maybe be saved and really gets round to its historical task !

  3. Hi Thetis,
    no never heard of the man.
    But looked him up in Wikipedia:
    Edward Lear (12 May 1812 – 29 January 1888) was an English artist, illustrator, author, and poet, renowned today primarily for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form that he popularised
    mmm…….”renowned today primarily for his literary nonsense”.
    What should I think of that?

  4. Yep, it’s a great article. I’m too exhausted to say anythign more at the moment, really.

    Though I think — this time too, Jan! — that it’s really a question of how you approach anthroposophy. For Zander, for example, it’s his field of study. To some extent it seems to me that anthroposophists (I’m generalizing now) have certain ideas about ‘understanding’ anthroposophy. Nobody who treats anthroposophy academically — or in similar ‘detached’ ways — ‘understand’ anthroposophy the way anthroposophists understand it. Because to understand it in that way, you need to be an anthroposophist. (I know I wrote about this in another post, and I explained my thoughts on it in more detail, so I won’t repeat it now.) The way I approach anthroposophy is different than the way an anthroposophist approaches it. And for people who study it like Zander does, it’s yet another kind of approach.

  5. @Alicia
    No, I don’t think is a matter of approach.
    It is a mater of dogmatics.
    There is no other world than the physical world – Dogma 1
    Suppose there is a spiritual world, you cannot know it – Dogma 2.

    Based on this dogmas people give there judgments about anthroposophy, like the old church did, comdemning the new sciences. And like the old church the present “priests” fear loss of power when anthroposophy comes through.

  6. Do you actually know the meaning of the term “dogma”? You’re a bit mixed up there. A dogma is a thing people refuse to question and accept without evidence, and often cling to even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Statements about the physical world are less likely to be dogmatic; they’re constantly revised when new evidence becomes available, whereas beliefs about the so-called spiritual world, usually not based on evidence in the first place, often remain impervious to any sort of evidence or logic.

  7. Seriously, though. Diana is right. Also, understanding anthroposophy according anthroposophyists’ definition of ‘understanding’, in this particular context, means you have to become an anthroposophist.

    Because it doesn’t matter how deeply you have studied anthroposophy and how much you know about it (Zander is a prime example — his knowledge is vast) — according to the anthroposophist, you don’t understand. To me it seems like a very handy excuse — a way to reject everybody else, you know, why listen to someone who doesn’t understand? It’s just so easy to write people off, isn’t it, when the definition of ‘understanding’ is so narrow only right-thinking anthroposophists will live up to it?

  8. Oh, sorry mr. dog :)
    Alicia, do you check your email? If you have, please forgive me as I don’t intend to be a pest and if you just can’t deal with it that is totally fine, I’m just trying to figure out if I’m using the wrong address or something.

  9. (He already suspects you may be under the influence of cat(s). I have not told him the truth about that yet.)

    Yes, but the only address I’ve checked lately is the gmail-address (zzzooey @ gmail com). I have lots of unread list-emails and also some emails I haven’t replied to — none of them from you, I think. I should check my yahoo-addresses though.

  10. I just tried again. This time I replied to an earlier message from you, in case I am somehow getting the address wrong.
    Please just disregard the second question I asked you as I’ve settled it in the meantime.

  11. ok, again not urgent, I just wanted to cross it off my mental to-do list. Now on to the list of things I REALLY ought to be doing …


    ‘A Birthday Journey from Cologne (Germany) through Kraljevec (Croatia) to Vienna (Austria) February 24-28, 2011 Rudolf Steiner was supposedly born in a railway station and brought up in two others, and later he spent many hours of his life on trains and in waiting rooms, reading dozens of books, writing letters in jolting cars, preparing – while sitting between other passengers – lectures and meetings. Symbolically, this ‘life on the road’ flowed into the preparation of the anniversary year as a leitmotif from the very beginning. Soon it found expression in the construction of the shared online platform, as well as in the credo ‘to put oneself in motion inwardly and outwardly’.’

    [Read more: Comment edited for copyright reasons. /alicia]

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