From the History and Contents of the First Section of the Esoteric School, 1904-1914: Letters, Documents, and Lectures

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Anthroposophic Press, 1998 - Philosophy - 476 pages
This text is important for the historian interested in the development of Rudolf Steiner's teaching and the origins of the anthroposophical movement, as well as for anyone interested in exploring the advice and admonitions offered by Steiner to his early students. This collection of letters, circulars, and lectures allows us to glimpse the birth of the anthroposophical movement out of the theosophical movement of the late nineteenth century. We gain a clear picture of why Rudolf Steiner could no longer work within the theosophical framework, and of the events that led to the split between the Theosophical Society under the leadership of Annie Besant and the Esoteric School under Steiner's leadership.

Contained here, primarily in the form of letters, are the specific exercises and advice that Rudolf Steiner gave to pupils who wished to further their spiritual capacities. Also included are his early lectures and teachings concerning the "Masters" and their relationship to the evolution of humankind. With introductory remarks by the book's original editor, Hella Wiesberger.

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About the author (1998)

Austrian-born Rudolf Steiner was a noted Goethe (see Vol. 2) scholar and private student of the occult who became involved with Theosophy in Germany in 1902, when he met Annie Besant (1847--1933), a devoted follower of Madame Helena P. Blavatsky (1831--1891). In 1912 he broke with the Theosophists because of what he regarded as their oriental bias and established a system of his own, which he called Anthroposophy (anthro meaning "man"; sophia sophia meaning "wisdom"), a "spiritual science" he hoped would restore humanism to a materialistic world. In 1923 he set up headquarters for the Society of Anthroposophy in New York City. Steiner believed that human beings had evolved to the point where material existence had obscured spiritual capacities and that Christ had come to reverse that trend and to inaugurate an age of spiritual reintegration. He advocated that education, art, agriculture, and science be based on spiritual principles and infused with the psychic powers he believed were latent in everyone. The world center of the Anhthroposophical Society today is in Dornach, Switzerland, in a building designed by Steiner. The nonproselytizing society is noted for its schools.

John Wood is the author of several prize-winning books of poetry and photographic criticism, including the recently released Selected Poems: 1968-1998. His essays on a wide variety of subjects have appeared in many books and journals. Wood is the editor of 21st: The Journal of Contemporary Photography.

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