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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Awareness - Life - Form
GA 89

Part II: Introductory Remarks

In the last lecture of Part 1, Rudolf Steiner described the creation of the world as a triple manifestation of the Logos, divine spirit poured into the world. For his audience at the time, this related to two of his books which had just appeared: Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age (GA 7, published in 1901 and based on a series of lectures given in the winter of 1900/01; tr. K. E. Zimmer; Blauvelt: Steinerbooks 1980) and Christianity as Mystical Fact (GA 8, published in 1902 and based on a series of lectures given in the winter of 1901/02; tr. A. Welburn; Hudson: Anthroposophic Press 1997).

In the first of these, great medieval mystics are given as examples to show how true insight into the world or God can only be gained through mystic, i.e. inner, experience. In the second book, we read how the way to achieve this was sought in the mysteries of antiquity. The mystic who was to be initiated, wanting to find his way to the divine, had to experience the cosmic drama of creation, with the Logos, the world soul, stretched on the world body in form of a cross. Then the Logos, which was poured out into the world, could have its resurrection in the soul, being born in the spirit in it. This became historical fact when at the beginning of our era the Logos became flesh in the human being called Jesus. He had to recapitulate the cosmic world process whilst existing in the flesh, be nailed to the cross and rise again from death. The Logos become man had to go through this as historical fact so that victory over death would hold true for the whole of humanity and not only chosen individuals. ‘Christianity as mystical fact is a stage in human evolution; and the events in the mysteries of old were a preparation for this mystical fact.’ (chapter on Christianity and pagan wisdom).

These two books, based on the mystic way of gaining insight and the logosophy of the ancient mysteries, established the foundations for a Christology based on the spiritual-scientific cosmology which Rudolf Steiner had started to present in 1903.

The audiences of that time were greatly interested in the Logos teaching of the ancient mysteries, for these had ranked highly in the Theosophical Society’s literature even before Rudolf Steiner.* See H. P. Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine, books by G. R. S. Mead and Annie Besant, especially Besant, A. The Ancient Wisdom. London: Theosophical Publishing House 1897. He soon found it necessary, however, to warn people against being too abstract in speaking of the Logos. Notes on a talk given in the Berlin Branch on 2 February 1904, unfortunately too inadequate for publication, include the following: ‘It is so tempting to speak of the first, second and third Logos in general terms. Beginners in particular are fond of talking of the Logos right away, wanting to discuss the whole world by establishing the missions of the three Logoi. That is not what we want, however.’ He went on to say that he felt it was important to show the mission of individual spirits in the evolution of the world. Something Rudolf Steiner would often emphasize was that spiritual investigation was not based on speculation but on genuine experiences in the spirit. Quite logically, we therefore read in a lecture given in Berlin on 18 December 1906 [in German] in GA 266/1: ‘No one can really have an idea of the three Logoi unless higher consciousness has awakened in them. We can however prepare the soul for right vision in the future by evoking the right images.’ ‘Right images’ undoubtedly mean images of the developmental stages for the Logos poured out in the world. From 1903 onwards they were presented more and more in real terms, and they were finally presented to the world in Occult Science in 1910.