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The Georgicks of Virgil, with an English Translation and Notes Virgil, John Martyn Ipsi in defossis specubus secura sub alta Otia agunt terra, congestaque robora, Pierius says it is confecto in the Roman manuscript. And Tacitus also says the Germans used to make caves to defend them from the severity of winter, .

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He has published widely on Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the history of occult thought. On the basis of an impressive amount of source material and scholarship, Staudenmaier manages to avoid both apologetic and polemical simplifications. Terms and Conditions Privacy Statement.

Powered by: PubFactory. Sign in to annotate. Delete Cancel Save. Cancel Save. He served as chairman of the Anthroposophical Society in Germany from to Though raised Catholic, Bchenbacher had partial Jewish ancestry and was considered a half-Jew by Nazi standards. He emigrated to Switzerland in According to his post-war memoirs, approximately two thirds of German anthroposophists more or less succumbed to National Socialism.

He reported that various influential anthroposophists were deeply infected by Nazi views. He was killed at Auschwitz in Bchenbacher ret- rospectively lamented the far-reaching Nazi sins of his colleagues. Its goal is to examine anthroposophy in the fascist era as a microcosm of larger historical dynamics whose relevance extends well beyond the occult milieu. For those whose pri- mary concern is anthroposophys past or its present reputation, a historically contextualized account forestalls both guilt-by-association reasoning and ex post facto apologetics.

For those interested in the wider historical significance of alternative institutions and esoteric worldviews, the findings may be unset- tling, apt to disrupt longstanding assumptions and comforting clichs. The rise of fascism raises challenging questions for any history of twentieth century European esotericism. Modern and anti-modern trajectories were entangled in fascism as in occultism, and nascent fascist movements drew from both left and right while championing a vision of national regeneration.

Apocalyptic and millenarian tropes were common. Recent scholarship views fascism as an alternative model of modernity which aimed to supplant what fascists saw as decadent versions of modernity in liberal or traditional forms. This opened appreciable room for intersections between occultism and fascism.

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Neither state pursued a consistent policy. The text is currently being prepared for publication. Bchenbachers memoirs, written in the final decade of his life, are marked by conspiracist assumptions but offer a telling internal per- spective on anthroposophical affairs in the Nazi period.

For background compare Richard Bessel, ed. In conventional usage, fascism refers to the broad spectrum of fascist movements, while Fascism refers to its original Italian form. Nazi officials and Fascist functionaries displayed a wide variety of attitudes to esoteric initiatives, some positive, some negative, many ambivalent. This ambiguous history goes against the grain of popular percep- tions. One reason for the persistence of beliefs about Nazi occultism is the temptation to view Nazism and Fascism as otherwise inexplicable eruptions of evil whose origins must somehow be traced to shadowy and malevolent forces.

A more promising approach is to view Nazism, Fascism, and occult- ism alike as movements which converged and diverged in unpredictable ways under shifting circumstances. Each of them at times invoked similar axioms: Fascism was a movement of high ideals, able to persuade a substantial part of two generations of young people especially the highly educated that it could bring about a more harmonious social order. Toward that end, this book brings together several strands of scholarship that are not often connected in order to make sense of the convoluted his- tory of anthroposophy in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

Chapter One begins with an analysis of Steiners early years in Habsburg Austria, where his concep- tion of the unique German mission was formed. The mature Steiner looked askance at what he termed national chauvinism, but his viewpoint was itself embedded in a series of nationalist assumptions about the spiritual mission of Germany. Steiner constructed his ideas on race and ethnicity in interaction with his intellectual environment and in response to specific social contexts.

These ideas did not emerge full- fledged from Steiners head as part of a seamless worldview, but were shaped through ongoing engagement with scientific and popular perspectives on race current at the time. Through an extended analysis of his writings and lectures, letting Steiner speak in his own words, the chapter traces the contradictions. Steiner held that individuals who maintain a living connection to their own national soul will not fall prey to chauvinism but will instead develop a healthy relationship with their ethnic com- munity and its particular capacities and tasks.

This was a time of passionate anthro- posophical hopes that the message of spiritual science would prevail. Public attention was at a high point. As a like-minded observer recalled, in Germany after the war it was almost impossible not to hear the name of Rudolf Steiner. The chapter takes a closer look at the multifarious ties connecting occult tendencies to life reform and vlkisch circles. An avowed unpolitical stance, common among esoteric groups, proved to have unanticipated consequences for Steiners movement. At the heart of the book are three chapters detailing the rise and fall of anthroposophist ambitions in the Third Reich.

The Nazis came to power in , eight years after Steiners death, and the founder of anthroposophy could not foresee the Germany his followers would inherit. Chapter Three considers the contrary options available to proponents of spiritual science in a society subject to Nazi control. Some anthroposophists tried to ingratiate themselves with Nazi authorities only to the extent necessary to continue their own proj- ects, while others embraced Nazism more energetically. Though Nazi measures against anthroposophy are examined as well, the focus is on anthroposophist efforts to arrange a co-existence with the new regime, which in many cases extended to active collaboration.

A critical edition of selected works has recently been launched under the editorship of Christian Clement. Though incorporating standard anthroposophical assumptions and thus of limited scholarly usefulness, it is an encouraging sign of increasing attention to the evolution of Steiners worldview. See especially chapter 3, Occult Truth: Rudolf Steiner As with any historical account based on documents produced at the time, it can be difficult to determine whether such statements were sincere or merely tactical. In evaluating these sources the aim is not to take what anthroposo- phists said to Nazi officials at face value, or take Nazi assessments of anthro- posophy at face value; the aim is to see what the documents reveal about the different ways anthroposophists and Nazis viewed one another.

There is considerable consistency in anthroposophist statements across the time span examined here, whether circumstances seemed auspicious or grim. This sug- gests a high degree of genuineness. To round out the picture, archival evi- dence is accompanied by material derived from anthroposophist periodicals, pamphlets, books, and public events, as well as internal anthroposophical correspondence.

Following the detailed exposition in Chapter Three, the fourth chapter addresses the contentious question of ideological affinities between anthro- posophy and National Socialism. From onward, an array of anthroposo- phists emphasized the commonalities between Steiners doctrines and Nazi ideals. Hitlers new order initially appeared as an opportunity to advance Germanys spiritual mission; the task of the German essence, in anthroposo- phist eyes, was to heal the world.

Ideological overlap helps explain the conspic- uous level of practical convergence between anthroposophists and National Socialists in several fields, but also led to mutual suspicion and animosity. Chapter Five investigates a singular instance of these antithetical reactions: the fraught relations between the Waldorf movement and Nazi educational expectations, both seeking a pedagogy in service to the national community.

Not only were Waldorf leaders divided over the proper course of action, Nazi functionaries disagreed radically on whether and how to incorporate Waldorf principles into their designs. Tensions between different factions within the Nazi apparatus marked the conflicted history of occult groups from the beginning of the Third Reich.

Anthroposophys success in the s was also, in a sense, its downfall. Nazi officials who were suspicious of esoteric organizations begrudged anthropos- ophists their cozy relationship with other Nazis sympathetic to biodynamic farming or anthroposophical medicine or Waldorf schools.

The tug-of-war between pro-anthroposophical and anti-anthroposophical contingents within the party and state lasted until , when anthroposophist activities collapsed. Regardless of interpretive orientation, anthroposophist sources from the s are especially problematic due to the severe divisions within the movement at the very time the Nazis rose to power.

Chapter Six analyzes this campaign, surveying the treatment of Steiners followers and of other esoteric movements. Anthroposophys fate in Hitlers Germany was finally decided by the outcome of this struggle between rival Nazi tendencies. The last two chapters turn from Germany to Italy. Italian Fascism pre- sented anthroposophists with a distinct set of challenges and opportunities. Mussolini came to power a decade earlier than Hitler, shaping his own form of Fascism in Italy until he was temporarily deposed in The relatively small Italian anthroposophist movement responded in contrary ways to the rise of Fascism.

This is the subject of Chapter Seven, which explores the range of political stances anthroposophists adopted in their efforts to forge a spiri- tual alternative to the ravages of materialism. Several of the most prominent anthroposophists in Italy found themselves collaborating with the Fascist regime, an aspect of the movements past that remains unacknowledged today. Steiners Italian followers took a more aggressive approach, in some cases, to anthroposophys racial teachings. The final chapter concentrates on the anthroposophist role in promoting spiritual racism under Fascist auspices.

Anthroposophist participation in Italys racial campaign led in turn to bellig- erent endorsements of Nazism. This was the foremost case of direct anthro- posophical involvement in the Fascist state, and it depended centrally on a version of racial thought inspired by esoteric tenets. It offers an occasion to gauge the interplay of ideas and institutions, of esoteric theory and political practice. By charting the circuitous path from spiritual science to spiritual rac- ism, the chapter brings to light a previously obscured link between ethereal occult visions and bleak fascist realities.

Historical interest in occultism is maturing at a remarkable pace and gen- erating new scholarly insights from unexpected quarters. As a contribution to that ongoing discussion, this book affords an altered view of anthroposo- phys past as well as its present. It poses provocative questions about the unex- amined history of spiritual reform in its changing constellations, as well as scrutinizing underappreciated aspects of fascist ideals and their appeal. It aug- ments the study of Western esotericism with a critical appraisal of both the private beliefs and the public activities of a notable esoteric movement: how they put their ideas into action in concrete projects under the conditions pre- vailing at the time.

Restoring historical context provides a transformed picture of Steiner and the accomplishments he inaugurated. What this history indicates is that esoteric worldviews do not belong to another intellectual universe far from our own. They are as much a part of their era as any other human creation. This image is untenable. As eccentric as they may seem, the details of esotericisms history warrant attention. Taking a sustained look at the apparently mysterious history of the occult in the appar- ently vanquished fascist era can illuminate unknown pieces of the past and spur us to re-examine those we thought were already sufficiently understood.

At the height of his public renown in the early s, Rudolf Steiners followers referred to him as Germanys savior, confident that future generations would one day view the founder of anthroposophy with awe. Grounded in anthroposophys distinctive form of esoteric spirituality, a central component of this redemptive vision was conceived in explicitly racial and ethnic terms.

What was the Germany that Steiner and his followers hoped to save? What would its salvation entail? Why did race and nation matter to Steiners esoteric worldview? Messianic hopes for spiritual and national redemption in early twentieth century Germany were by no means the preserve of occult movements. They were widespread within Wilhelmine and Weimar culture and cut across politi- cal and confessional lines.

Steiner was one of many seeking to become proph- ets who would point the way to a national rebirth. These factors are an essential key to understanding Steiners development and the emergence of the anthroposophical movement. Steiner was born in to a Catholic family on the periphery of the Austro- Hungarian empire. He studied at the Technical College in Vienna, editing sev- eral volumes of Goethes scientific writings, and moved to Weimar in to work at the Goethe and Schiller archive. He received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Rostock in In Steiner published what he con- sidered his magnum opus, The Philosophy of Freedom.

For Steiners vigorous defense of Haeckel, in terms strikingly at odds with those he was soon to adopt upon turning to theosophy, see Rudolf Steiner, Haeckel und seine Gegner Minden: Bruns, For Steiners own views see e. Failing to establish himself in an academic career, he pursued a series of literary and educational occupations, editing a prominent Berlin cultural journal, the Magazin fr Litteratur, from to and teaching at the social democratic Workers Educational School from to His involvement in Monist circles was particularly intensive around the turn of the century, and his intellectual development reflected the remarkably ambivalent ideological and political character of the Monist movement.

His conversion to theosophy, consolidated in January with his entry into the Theosophical Society, is not easy to explain biographically. While Steiner had briefly flirted with theosophi- cal notions around , his published discussions of theosophy during the s were scathingly critical. Matthias Pilger-Strohl, Eine deutsche Religion? I Dornach: Selbstverlag Marie Steiner, Within the space of two years, however, Steiner was a con- vinced theosophist. In the context of the time, this transformation is not as perplexing as it may seem today; fin-de-sicle theosophy was a notably labile construct which attracted many people seeking an integration of scientific and spiritual insights.

Theosophical currents shared affinities with Monism, with Nietzschean individualism, and with bohemian apostles of a new spiritual aristocracy. In another text Steiner expressed stark dis- approval of Christian and mystical notions; see Steiner, Goethes Weltanschauung Weimar: Felber, , See also the published report from on Steiners critical lecture in Weimar on spiritism and related phenomena, in which he roundly rejected supernatural explanations and the notion of otherworldly beings and endorsed Haeckels Monism: Hypnotismus mit Bercksichtigung des Spiritismus, reprinted in Beitrge zur Rudolf Steiner Gesamtausgabe 99 , Similar sentiments appeared in Steiners Philosophy of Freedom and his Nietzsche book as well.

As late as , Steiner still flatly rejected the notion of a supernatural order of the world Steiner, Haeckel und seine Gegner, In an unpublished passage from , Steiner described his entry into the theo- sophical movement as the culmination of a long inner evolution lasting years: Steiner quoted in Robin Schmidt, Rudolf Steiner und die Anfnge der Theosophie Dornach: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, , For important contextual material on Steiners theosophical period cf.

For a recent re-statement of the classic anthroposophist continuity thesis see Christian Clement, Die Geburt des modernen Mysteriendramas aus dem Geiste Weimars Berlin: Logos, His early debt to figures like Fichte may help explain some of the anoma- lies in Steiners later teachings; for provocative parallels see e. Critical assessments of Steiners philo- sophical project include Alfred Treml, Trume eines Geistersehers oder Geisteswissenschaft?

A number of personal and circumstantial factors also played a role in Steiners theosophical turn. He was originally invited to speak to a theosophi- cal gathering in Berlin in , and in the course of he applied unsuc- cessfully for jobs as a university lecturer and newspaper editor. Steiners choice of a theosophical career, after some hesitation, brought him economic secu- rity and a position of authority within a community of like-minded souls. His about-face regarding theosophy may have involved a desire for social recogni- tion of his prodigious talents, an urge to teach, and gratitude that the theoso- phists appreciated his abilities and sought his leadership.

Steiners increasingly close personal involvement with theosophist Marie von Sivers, whom he met in and eventually married, played an additional part. With the blessing of Annie Besant he cre- ated an Esoteric School for his inner circle in An acrimonious split with Besant and the theosophical leadership emerged in the following years. After a decade as head of the German branch of the Theosophical Society, Steiner broke with mainstream theosophy and founded his own movement, estab- lishing the Anthroposophical Society at the end of In Steiner moved the headquarters of the Anthroposophical Society to the village of Dornach in Switzerland.

From then until his death in , he continued to develop anthroposophy as a worldview and as a movement, overseeing a steady rise in membership and public profile in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. The period after World War One brought a substantial increase in public interest in anthroposophy and a major expansion of the movements mem- bership.

One longtime anthroposophist reminisced that after the Breslau branch of the Anthroposophical Society grew from a few dozen to hundreds of members. The general mood among Steiners followers in the wake of the war emerges from the following passage: At no previous time did Germany so stand in need of a cleansing storm, and the first streaks of lightning of such a storm have already flashed upon us. The brunt of the storm is yet to come.

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Awaiting it, Steiner and those about him stand prepared. They have accepted the challenge, and they are ready to take up the fight for Germanys civilization for the German Soul: ready to fight this fight to a finish. This struggle will show on which side stand the Powers of Light and Truth, and on which are to be found those of Darkness and Falsehood.

Steiners apotheosis as Germanys savior and his transition to a messianic figure in the eyes of his followers crested in the chaotic aftermath of World War One. With Germany in cultural and political disarray, Steiners combina- tion of respectable nineteenth-century German philosophical roots and avant- garde spiritual teachings seemed to offer a way out of the crisis. In the view of prominent anthroposophists, Steiner had been sent by God. Alongside constant invo- cations of Goethe, Fichte, and other paragons of German culture, Steiners anthroposophy pointed consistently to the immense spiritual potential slum- bering within the German Volk, the people or nation.

Anthroposophy held the promise of a thoroughgoing spiritual renewal that would bring salvation not only to a beleaguered Germany, but to the rest of the world as well. What was necessary to reach this goal, according to Steiner, was a return to Germanys authentic spiritual mission.

This German spiritual mission was a central element within anthroposo- phys elaborate occult cosmology, imparting special esoteric significance to questions of nation and race. The same themes were prefigured in Steiners early German nationalist thought before his turn to esotericism: his involve- ment in the German nationalist movement in Austria in the s revealed a number of tropes which re-appeared in spiritualized form after and powerfully shaped his later teachings.

Foremost among them was an abiding commitment to the notion of a German Kulturmission, a cultural and civili- zational mission. Steiner was actively involved in German nationalist student organizations during his studies in Vienna, where such notions took on par-. Steiners wife Marie portrayed him posthumously as a man who towered immeasurably above his time and changed the course of evolution: This source of light revealed itself to those of us who were seeking the path to the lost mysteries.

An Initiate was present who could be the guide. He alone resisted the forces of descent, pulled back the wheel with a strong hand and guided it again toward the slow ascent. John New York: Anthroposophic Press, , Steiners public stature in the s can be gauged by the obituaries, both critical and appreciative, published across the range of German newspapers of the era, from the Brsenzeitung to Vorwrts as well as the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, the Frankfurter Zeitung, and the Mnchener Neuste Nachrichten.

Germany s Savior Steiner described himself as German by descent and racial affiliation and as a true-born German-Austrian, empha- sizing the crucial importance of this German identity within the multinational environment of the Habsburg empire in his youth. Steiner continued: In these decades it was of decisive importance for the Austro-German with spiritual aspirations that living outside the folk community to which Lessing, Goethe, Herder etcetera belonged, and transplanted into a wholly alien environment over the frontierhe imbibed there the spiritual perception of Goethe, Schiller, Lessing and Herder.

For context on the notion of a German mission see Ludwig Dehio, Gedanken ber die deutsche Sendung, Historische Zeitschrift , Monarchie Vienna: Bhlau, Steiner first pub- lished in the Deutsche Zeitung in and in the Freie Schlesische Presse as early as The culmination of Steiners German nation- alist journalism came in , when he took over editorship of the Deutsche Wochenschrift for six months. This weekly Viennese paper, bearing the subtitle organ for the national interests of the German people, was a major mouth- piece of deutschnationale sentiments.

In addition to writing a weekly column on politics and current affairs for the newspaper, Steiner contributed substan- tial programmatic essays with titles such as The German national cause in Austria. At the same time he celebrated the cultural mission that is the duty of the German people in Austria. He con- demned accommodation to non-German ethnic groups and cooperation with.

Presse was the organ of the Deutscher Verein in Troppau in the Sudetenland. By the mids the Deutscher Verein was one of the major political organizations within the German nation- alist camp in Austria, alongside parliamentary factions such as the Deutscher Klub and the Deutschnationale Vereinigung, both of which Steiner wrote about positively.

The Deutsche Zeitung was originally founded by the German Liberals and came to be considered the organ of German nationalism in Austria: Kurt Paupi, Handbuch der sterreichischen Pressegeschichte Vienna: Braumller, , It was among the most prominent voices of German nationalist politics in the Habsburg empire in the s. VI, nos. Emphasizing German cultural superiority, Steiner wrote: the non-German peoples of Austria must absorb into themselves that which German spirit and German work have created, if they are to reach the level of education which is a necessary prerequisite of the modern era [ He called for every German to depend completely on his Germanness, and solely on his Germanness.

Our hands should remain clean. Thus Steiner declared: The Slavs will have to live a very long time before they understand the tasks which are the duty of the German people, and it is an outrageous offense against civilization to throw down the gauntlet at every opportunity to a people [the Germans] from whom one receives the spiritual light, a light without which European culture and education must remain a closed book. His students followed suit; two years later anthroposophist Hans Erhard Lauer complained that Vienna is being overrun by Hungarians, Czechs, Poles, Slowaks, and Italians.

Lauer, Lebensempfindungen in Wien und sterreich Anthroposophie July 27, , Such arguments did not disappear with the end of Steiners Vienna period. In Berlin in Steiner repeated the same refrain: The Slavs and the Magyars are a danger to the mission of the Germans; they are forc- ing German culture to retreat. Rudolf Steiner, ber deutschnationale Kampfdichter in sterreich, originally in Magazin fr Litteratur , vol.

Within this multinational landscape, with various ethnic groups vying for influence, the Austro-Germans enjoyed overwhelming hegemony during Steiners era. Despite widespread perceptions among ethnic Germans of an imminent peril from non-German peoples, Germans constituted the admin- istrative, economic, and cultural elite throughout the Austrian half of the far- flung multiethnic empire.

This background helps account for the virulence of Steiners later denunciations of the doctrine of national self-deter- mination; in the context of Habsburg-dominated Eastern Europe, national self-determination spelled the end of German hegemony. For many Austro-Germans, an originally universalist vision of Germannessseemingly embattled and undoubtedly embittered by non- German resistance to their assumed right to cultural pre-eminencegave way to increasingly intolerant variants of nationalist defensiveness.


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Out of this historical setting emerged Steiners understanding of national dynamics and his commitment to a German cultural mission, conjoining elements of cosmopolitanism with avowals of ethnic superiority. Much of the momentum behind the middle-class variety of nationalism which Steiner adopted came from a deep sense of cultural ascendancy and entitlement: Germans in Austria often perceived themselves as the bearers of civilization to their supposedly backward neighbors.

German culture, in this view, is superior to other European cultures precisely because it is the only national culture to be pos- sessed of a true spirit of cosmopolitanism. Jahrhundert: Probleme der politisch-staatlichen und soziokulturellen Differenzierung im deutschen Mitteleuropa Munich: Oldenbourg, ; for comparative context cf. Pieter Judson, When is a Diaspora not a Diaspora? Judson observes that German nationalists in Austria demanded a strict assim- ilation to cosmopolitan German values by other ethnic communities within the empire.

Steiners espousal of a unique cultural mission for the German people, a central thread running throughout his mature anthroposophical teachings, was a prominent presence in his pub- lic career from its beginnings. This is the intellectual backdrop against which his later anthroposophical followers cast him as Germanys would-be savior. In moving from his pre-esoteric phase to his full-blown anthroposophist program, however, Steiners conception of the German destiny underwent a crucial transformation, infused with new spiritual meaning and re-articulated within a comprehensive racial theory of the evolution of humankind.

Just as Steiners turn-of-the-century conversion to theosophy resists facile explanation, so too does his simultaneous adoption of the esoteric race doc- trines elaborated by his theosophical forebears. One of the chief connecting threads between Steiners pre-theosophical intellectual orientation and his mature race theories was the polyvalent theme of evolution, which Steiner came to understand in physical, spiritual, and cosmic terms. The influence of Haeckels Monism played a significant role in this process. The particular variety of evolutionary thought that Steiner embraced was part of a broad stream of non-Darwinian evolutionary ideas common at the turn of the century.

Indebted to his early studies of Goethes naturalist writings as well as to Romantic nature philosophy, Steiners conception of evolution was firmly progressivist and teleological, positing a succession of ever-higher developmental stages advancing toward an eventual goal of evolutionary perfection. For a vari- ety of viewpoints in the thorny historiographical debate surrounding Haeckel and the Monist movement see Heiner Fangerau, Monism, Racial Hygiene, and National Socialism in Weir, ed.

Like other theosophists, Steiner frequently polemicized against Darwin, as in this passage from Darwinism has made many errors in regard to the differentiation expressed by the races actually existing on the Earth. Steiners vision of racial and ethnic evolution owed as much to esoteric thought as it did to the biological science of his day. Similar schemes of evo- lutionary progress abounded within the broader occult literature, and were particularly prominent in the theosophical tradition.

The hallmark of anthroposophical race doctrines is an eso- teric synthesis of physical and spiritual discourses. For anthroposophy, race is an essential part of what connects the higher worlds to the physical plane: racial categories are a reflection of divine workings and of the cosmic plan, and race itself is not merely a biological attribute but a primary vehicle of spiri- tual progress.

This spiritual re-interpretation of race aligned readily with other developments in European racial thought around By the turn of the cen- tury, purely physical accounts of race had become increasingly untenable due to an accumulation of contradictory evidence emerging from disparate disci- plines. A reliable and internally cogent theory seemed elusive as the scientific project of racial classification became marked by disarray.

Suppose there are two brothersone of whom is handsome and intelligent, the other ugly and dull-witted. Both proceed from the same father. What should we think of a man who believed that the intelligent brother descends from the idiot? That is the kind of error made by Darwinism in regard to the races. Steiner also rejected theories of materialistic evolution which deny such beings as Folk-souls and Race-souls.

Geoffrey Field writes that skepticism about finding exact physical criteria brought forth more extravagant claims for racial psychology and more abstruse notions of racial Gestalt or race souls. A similar process can be traced in the work of some of the most influential race theorists of the time, such as Houston Stewart Chamberlain. His voluminous but unsystem- atic writings on race cover the full panoply of purported biological racial traits, from the classic focus on skin color to ostensible differences in blood, the hereditary nature of racial attributes and the possibility of racial contamina- tion, to bone structure, facial features, and differences in bodily constitution as markers of racial difference.

For Steiner, such physical distinctions had little significance in themselves; what was important about racial character- istics was that they reflected and embodied spiritual characteristics. Within the theosophical framework, it was the esoteric meaning of ethnicity and race, what they revealed about spiritual and cosmic evolution, which accounted for the central place racial categories came to occupy in Steiners thought.

A spiritual complement to physical race attributes already played a notable role in the mid-nineteenth cen- tury racial theories of Gobineau; cf. For the most part, these components of anthroposophy did not receive extended attention until the closing years of the twentieth century. While numerous critiques of theosophy and anthroposophy from a wide variety of perspectives were published in Germany during the first several decades of the twentieth century, these critical treatments did not usually address anthro- posophys racial and ethnic tenets, much less analyze them in detail.

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Though the theme loomed large in anthroposophist literature of the era, it was not generally subject to external scrutiny. This has changed in recent years, as renewed interest in the topic has been accompanied by heated controversy, exacerbated by the inconsistent and contradictory nature of anthroposophi- cal race doctrines.

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These factors inevitably bedevil any effort to characterize anthroposophist ideas about race and ethnicity as a whole. Denkmuster im Ernst Blochs critique of anthroposophy refers in passing to Steiners root-race theory: Bloch, Heritage of Our Times, Other critical assessments of anthroposophy do not address Steiners racial views; cf. Some of the more aggressively racist occult thinkers of the time, including the ariosophist Jrg Lanz von Liebenfels, were dismissive of Steiner; cf.

Steiner in turn criticized ariosophical race thinking as excessively materialistic; see Rudolf Steiner, Luzifer-Gnosis Dornach: Rudolf Steiner Nachlaverwaltung, , Beginning in , soon after his ascension to the leadership of the theosophical movement in Germany, Steiner elaborated a hierarchically structured occult cosmology based on an evolutionary progression of racial groups, relying initially on the traditional theosophical terminology of root races and sub-races to designate these groups.

In place of theosophys conception of recurring racial cycles, Steiner proposed a more forthrightly progressive model in which racial evolution displays both a clearly advancing trajectory as well as regressive trends; accord- ing to anthroposophy, higher racial forms move forward evolutionarily by over- coming and outpacing lower racial forms. Steiner published a detailed exposition of his racial cosmology in a series of articles in his theo- sophical journal Lucifer-Gnosis, available in English as Steiner, Cosmic Memory.

Another early pre- sentation of Steiners racial views appears in a theosophical lecture he gave in Berlin in ; see Rudolf Steiner, Ueber die Wanderungen der Rassen in Guenther Wachsmuth, ed. In Steiner presented a fuller version of his racial teachings in a public lecture titled Die Grundbegriffe der Theosophie. Menschenrassen Basic concepts of Theosophy: The races of humankind , published in Steiner, Die Weltrtsel und die Anthroposophie, Here he explains that after the War of All against All humankind will divide into a race of good and a race of evil so that that might be destroyed which is not worthy to take part in the ascent of mankind Nice cover, nice book.

Felt longer than it was. Well to be honest, I didn't finish it. I was bored out of my mind because I felt no emotional connection at all. Since I can't explain that, I'll spare you from reading my 1-star-review. Good month :. May 31, AM. Thank you Sara :.

It's June! Read until 1st of June: 40 books. For small children. Could have been written better. Still, 4-star-review here. Lovely, but not perfect. Good YA book showing rural life.

Anthroposophy and the Politics of Race in the Fascist Era

Solid 4-star-review here. Best book in the series so far. Emotional childrens fiction about friendship, imagination, and loss. Great classic. Reading the script doesn't work as well as watching the movie. Good book, awful design choice. Somehow not as brilliant if you are familiar with the rest of his work. Short and sweet.

Weird me enjoyed the science articles and memos more than the rest of it. Fact 1: Awesome book. Fact 2: Me having a crush on the author. Facts are not related. At all. Understandably melancholy start, less helpful depressing ending. Would rather watch the film again. Lovely adventure. Nice, easy read :.

Getting deeper into world and magic. Very emotional. Getting a bit lost in creating a huge ending. Still good series though. Not as awesome as book two. Aiken - Dragon Actually. Erotic Fantasy. Needed something different, got it from a friend. Won't read the others, but 3 stars for fulfilling its purposes. No poison and little politics after that, so dropping this series as well. Glad I have another two of her books waiting. Series finished. Not as great as I thought it could be due to weird characters. Love David Copperfield more, but still, it is Dickens. How bad can it possibly be?

Great book for young people, and a great ad for Wisconsin :. Awesome month :. Jul 01, AM. Second half of the year is starting Read until 1st of July: 65 books. Weird book about a weird time. Better than "Air", almost as good as "Earth". Good start to the series. Nice continuation. How did this get published??? No review needed, 5 stars. See above for details. Not as good as Earth see January , but still good. I felt that it could have been better, but I also felt I was being harsh on it. Thus a 5-star-review here. Not as superb, but still magical. Not all that perfect, but still 4 stars.

Who the hell is reading "50 Shades"? Read this!!! Not worth reading.


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  2. Between Occultism and Nazism - Anthroposophy and the Politics of Race in the Fascist Era | brill.
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Pretty cover though. Interesting, but annoying as well. Still, worth a read. Friedrich II und Maria Theresia. Trotzdem 3 Sterne. The Oliver Twist of New England, with an annoying twist. Wrong book to start with. No rating until re-read. Yay :. Sep 07, AM. Now for August! As awesome as the first book. Still gushing, so no review. Erotic Bedtime Stories for Women. It is erotic, but not overwhelmingly so. Well, no.

Post-apocalyptic version of Persuasion. No, no, no, no, no. German 5-star-review for my favourite author ever here. Good book, with some stupid publishing decisions. Sweet, realistic YA romance. Narcisstic family biography. Don't read. Love, love, love Victoria. Naturally, 5-star-review here. Good middle part.