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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Christianity as Mystical Fact
GA 8

Comments by the Author

Comment 1: The words of Ingersoll are introduced at this point in the book, not only with reference to those people who declare them to be word for word their own conviction. Many people do not do so, and yet their ideas about natural phenomena and man are such that if they were logical they would have to arrive at these statements. It does not matter what anyone declares to be his conviction theoretically, but it matters whether this conviction really follows from his whole method of thought. Someone may even abhor or laugh at the above words; but if he forms for himself an explanation which takes into account only the outer facts without rising to the spiritual background underlying natural phenomena, as a logical consequence he will construct a materialistic philosophy out of it.

Comment 2: For those who can observe rightly the “Spirit of Nature” speaks powerfully in the facts which are at present being dealt with by the cliches “struggle for existence,” “omnipotence of natural selection,” etc. But not in the opinions which science forms about them today. The first of these circumstances contains the reason why natural science will gain increasingly widespread attention. From the second circumstance it follows that the opinions of science need not be accepted as essential to cognition of the facts. The possibility of being tempted by the latter is, however, immeasurably great at the present time.

Comment 3: It should not be concluded, from remarks such as those regarding the sources of the Gospel of Luke etc., that the author of this book underestimates purely historical research. This is not the case. It is absolutely justified, but it should not be intolerant of the method of thinking which proceeds from spiritual points of view. In this book no value is placed on bringing in quotations at every possible point, but whoever wishes to do so can see clearly that an all-round and really unprejudiced judgment will find no contradiction anywhere between what is said here and what is truly established historically. Admittedly, anyone who wants to be one-sided, and holds this or that theory to be what has been established as certainty, may find that the assumptions of this book “do not hold their own” from the “scientific” standpoint, but are “without any objective foundation.”

Comment 4: It is said above that those whose spiritual eyes are opened can behold the realm of the spiritual world. It should not, however, be concluded from this that a logical judgment about the results of initiation can be formed only by one who himself has “spiritual eyes.” These are necessary only for research. When the results of the research are communicated, everyone can understand who allows his intelligence and unprejudiced sense of truth to speak. Such a person also can use these results in life and gain satisfaction from them without as yet possessing “spiritual eyes” himself.

Comment 5. The “sinking into the mire” of which Plato speaks must also be interpreted in the sense of the previous comment.

Comment 6: What is said about the impossibility of communicating teachings of the Mysteries refers to the fact that they cannot be communicated in the form in which the initiate experiences them to anyone who is unprepared. But they always have been communicated in the form in which they could be understood by the non-initiate. For example, the myths provided the ancient form for communicating the content of the Mysteries in a generally comprehensible manner.

Comment 7: In ancient mysticism “Mantic” signifies everything relevant to knowledge gained through “spiritual eyes.” On the other hand, “Telestic” is the indication of the paths which lead to initiation.

Comment 8: “Cabeiri” in ancient mysticism, are beings whose consciousness is far above that of modern man. Schelling wishes to say that through initiation man himself transcends his present consciousness and enters a higher one.

Comment 9: Regarding the significance of the number seven, enlightenment may be gained from my book Geheimwissenschaft, Leipzig 1910. [26th edition, Stuttgart 1955.]

Comment 10: The meanings of the apocalyptic symbols can be only very briefly indicated here. Of course one could enter much more deeply into all these things. However, this does not lie within the scope of this book.