The Ascent of Man

Eleanor C. Merry

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A wide-ranging survey of the major ancient civilizations, religions and thinkers of the world, drawing out their key qualities and tracing the journey of humankind towards the twentieth century.

234 x 156 mm
Floris Books
Philosophy of Human Life
304 pages
Publication date:
20 Mar 2008
Classics of Anthroposophy
3rd edition


The Ascent of Man is nothing less than an overview of the spiritual development of humankind. Eleanor Merry, a renowned author and philosopher, applies her wide-ranging knowledge of esoteric wisdom to argue that the past ages of the world must first be reviewed before the significance of the current age can be understood.

Her grand survey covers all the major ancient civilizations, religions and thinkers, including India, Persia and Zarathurstra, Egypt, Greece, Hibernia, Krishna and Buddha, Heraclitus and Aristotle, Melchisedek, Zion and Gnosis, before turning to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and finishing with twentieth-century philosophy and materialism.

This truly remarkable book is a classic of philosophy and anthroposophy.


'It's great to see Floris reprinting these Anthroposophical classics … The Ascent of Man reminds us, among other things, that if we are not aware of our history, we are probably doomed to repeat it. Eleanor Merry traces the thread of light though many ages, civilisations, myth cycles and god-forms, and we meet many old friends within these pages.'
-- Inner Light Magazine, Summer 2008

'A classic work which gives a cross-cultural overview of the spiritual evolution of humanity, covering all the major civilisations down to our own time … [Merry] suggests that a spiritual awakening is now taking place, which will lead to a deeper understanding and heightened sense of responsibility.'
-- David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network Review

'Eleanor Merry's book is a page-turner, a compendium and a source of nuggets of wisdom, which provides a wonderfully coherent view of the development of humankind ... I found passage after passage had led me into other streams in my thoughts, and had enlightened my understanding … The Ascent of Man is a Classic of Anthroposophy. I also recommend the book to anyone with an interest in Christology, or who regards themselves as Christian. To read the book would benefit them greatly in understanding and in knowledge.'
-- Gillies Dalzell-Payne, Perspectives, March-May 2009


Eleanor C. Merry was a poet, artist, musician and anthroposophist with a strong Celtic impulse and a life-long interest in esoteric wisdom. Born in Eton, UK in 1873, she studied in Vienna and met Rudolf Steiner in 1922 after becoming interested in his teachings. She went on to organise Summer Schools at which Steiner gave important lectures, and she was secretary for the World Conference on Spiritual Science in London in 1928. She died in 1956. Her other published works include The Flaming Door, Easter: the Legends and the Facts, Spiritual Knowledge: Its Reality and Its Shadow and The Year and Its Festivals.


Also available by Eleanor C. Merry:
The Flaming Door

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