• Rudolf Steiner and The Christian Community

    by  • 30 April 2018 • Extract, Non Fiction, The Christian Community • 0 Comments

    The Christian Community was undoubtedly formed as a result of Rudolf Steiner’s theological lecture series. But the relationship between this movement and the Anthroposophical Society itself is often misunderstood. Peter Selg closely examines this complex relationship in Rudolf Steiner and The Christian Community.

    In this abridged extract, Selg looks at the unique place The Christian Community holds in the wider anthroposophical world.


    Certainly no wish could be stronger than mine that the Movement for Religious Renewal shall grow and flourish more and more, but always in adherence to the original intentions.

    Rudolf Steiner, Man and the World of Stars, December 30, 1922, p. 170

    I think, in looking at the whole anthroposophical movement, that it is clear that the body of priests of The Christian Community, among all the professional groups, had a special closeness to Rudolf Steiner. This closeness to Rudolf Steiner was on the whole, in my opinion, greater than with the Stuttgart Waldorf teachers, although Steiner worked together with the educators of the school with great frequency through his education courses and active collaboration in many educational conferences. Certainly, the closeness of the priests to Steiner was much greater than that of the doctors or the farmers to him. The special memorial issue of the journal of The Christian Community for Rudolf Steiner, published in April 1925 immediately after his death, bears special witness to that time. I think further that this closeness was mutual.

    Rudolf Steiner and The Christian Community

    Rudolf Steiner around 1891/92, etching by Otto Fröhlich

    How joyfully and positively did Rudolf Steiner already accept the first inquiry of the young theologians, Johannes Werner Klein and Gertrud Spörri; and in which mood and with which devoted willingness did he give the first course. Surprisingly, the word ‘we’ came quite often in that course: ‘So, now that you are full of plans, let us begin,’ he said on June 15, 1921; and spoke of ‘our cause’; ‘our meetings’; as well as the necessity ‘that we can find enough people’; ‘then we will make progress.’ Rudolf Steiner was the spiritual leader and made his insights freely available. He remained the communicator of the insights out of the supersensible world, and yet he made himself a part of the community from the beginning.

    He never spoke to the doctors concerning ‘our cause’; and even in the Stuttgart Waldorf School, that meant so much to him and in which he invested so much work, love and time, he was clearly more reserved in this connection. In his teaching the theologians experienced him as radiant, joyful, knowledgeable and totally in his element, ‘like a fish in water,’ as Emanuel Zeylmans van Emmichoven once told me.

    Already in March 1920 Rudolf Steiner stressed to Gertrud Spörri – at the time of the first doctors’ course – that he would be pleased about a meeting (a possible lecture cycle) for the renewal of religious life. He said that, in such a course he could speak in a yet much more intimate manner than he could with the doctors. That is indeed quite remarkable and brings up many questions. Why was that so? Was it because of Rudolf Steiner’s own past destiny and that he was at home in the ritual-sacramental field? Or was it because of something else?

    However that may be, we can say with certainty today that no course and no history of the anthroposophical movement is nearly as well documented as that of The Christian Community – and that was through recollections and letters of the participants about the first time with Rudolf Steiner which affected them all so deeply. Rudolf Steiner spoke to those studying to become priests in a specially intensive and inward, indeed intimate manner. At times he spoke with emphasis out of his own biography, in spite of the objectivity with which he developed the content.

    With all of that it was not a question of an exclusiveness or superiority of The Christian Community over the other daughter movements of general anthroposophy; it was, however, a question of a special situation and relationship.


    About the book

    This latest book from Peter Selg addresses many questions about Rudolf Steiner’s intentions for The Christian Community. It explores the complex and often misunderstood relationship between The Christian Community and the wider anthroposophical world.

    Rudolf Steiner and The Christian Community is available to order now.

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