The quest for an experience of the Christ Forces lives in countless human souls today. Christianity can speak to every human heart and to every level of understanding from childlike devotion to loftiest regions of philosophical life. It was so in history and is still true today.
In hundreds of lectures Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) has spoken from ever new aspects of this central theme of human life and evolution. The eight lectures published here in a new translation (the last two for the first time) were given during the Christmas season 1918/19 to members of the Anthroposophical Society in Switzerland. Some of the illustrative material was drawn from events of that time at the close of World War I.
As always, Rudolf Steiner spoke freely without using notes. Most of his audience had studied — or were at least familiar with — his written works and the published lecture cycles on the Gospels and related themes. A similar background will be needed for reading How Can Mankind Find the Christ Again? Such a background will prepare the reader for challenges and vistas not encountered elsewhere. Steiner's message of the new Christ Light midst the shadow existence of our age speaks to the modern soul in search of a cognitive reach.
Readers who have wrestled with Christ themes on that level and are willing to study this text, consciously kept difficult and low-key, will find here themes spanning the past, present and future of mankind. No other thinker of any age has opened up for modern man such a wealth and depth of insight. As a herald of the new Christ revelation, Rudolf Steiner is practically unknown; so pervasive are the shadows of our age. They obscure even the light of recognition.
For students of Rudolf Steiner's work it should be noted that the last lecture in this series, published here in English for the first time, is unique and frequently noted. Livingness in thinking rather than an amassing and combining of information — this actual shaping of thoughts in an organic way (Ideegestaltung) — has been an ever present challenge. This livingness with its formative character is a manifestation of forces newly available to human beings. It has been evident in all of Rudolf Steiner's contributions: in his architectural and sculptural forms and in his unique style of developing thoughts in speaking and writing.
Our activity of thinking, that least observed element of the human soul, today perpetuates habits of past periods in history. Our heritage from Greek, Hebrew, and Roman cultures and the analytic rationalism of Arabism and the Enlightenment — for all their wonder and intellectual achievement — has led to a worldwide cultural impasse. Without a radical change, a transformation in the very way people form their thoughts, without a permeation by that new life embodied in the Christ-Idea — all hope for a renewal of human civilization ends. For readers endowed with a feeling for reality, the urgency of Rudolf Steiner's message will ring true.
Spring Valley, N.Y., 1984