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Posted by Peter Staudenmaier to the waldorfcritics Yahoo discussion list May 24, 2015:
The movement Steiner founded has garnered commentary from the beginning, including critical remarks from some of Steiner's prominent contemporaries, as well as considered appraisals from scholars in various disciplines. Here is a brief example from 1935, taken from the book by Paul Means, Things that are Caesar's: The Genesis of the German Church Conflict (New York: Round Table Press, 1935). It is a remarkably well-informed study, the published version of his Columbia dissertation, and offers a detailed analysis of the German churches under Nazism along with extensive historical background.
Means includes a fairly thorough section on anthroposophy as a “neo-mystical movement” (112-20): "It seems to have attracted its following largely from the cultured middle-classes, young intelligentsia, physicians, students, artists, and officials, those classes most directly affected by the cultural crisis of post-war Europe.” (112) “Anthroposophy claims that latent in everyone are certain occult capacities, which generally are atrophied and unused but which by a particular course of discipline may be brought to life and developed.” (113) Means observes that Steiner’s teachings contain “a good deal of inconsistency” and “a tendency to confuse empirical reality with supersensible reality.” (120)
For those interested in the historical development of anthroposophy, early sources like these can provide important insights.
The Critical Influence of Liberal Theology and
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