The Gospel of St. Matthew
2 September 1910, Berne
In the early lectures of this Course it will be necessary to repeat certain things that were said in explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke. There are facts and happenings in the life of Christ Jesus which cannot be understood unless these two Gospels are compared.
For any deeper understanding of the Gospel of St. Matthew it is of primary importance to know that in respect of his physical body, the Individuality with whom this record is primarily concerned had descended from Abraham through three times fourteen generations; he therefore represented a kind of quintessence of the whole Hebrew race. Spiritual Science knows that this Individuality and the original Zoroaster or Zarathustra were one and the same.
In the lecture yesterday some idea was given of the external scene of Zarathustra's activities in the very ancient times in which he lived, and now the views of life and the world prevailing in his environment must also be considered. Principles of profound significance were contained in the world-view held by men in those regions and to speak of only a few of the teachings that are rightly regarded as having been given by the first Zarathustra is to point to deep foundations of all post-Atlantean thought.
External history itself tells us of the two fundamental principles underlying the teachings of Zarathustra: the principle of Ormuzd, the Good Being of Light, and that of Ahriman, the Being of Darkness and Evil. But even in exoteric presentations of this religious system it is emphasized that these two, principles — Ormuzd or Ahura Mazdao, and Ahriman — derive from one universal principle: Zeruane Akarene.
What is this single, undivided origin, from which the other two principles — at war with one another in the world — derive? Zeruane Akarene is generally translated ‘uncreated Time’. The primal principle of which Zarathustra's teaching tells may therefore be thought of as the calm, as yet undisturbed flow of cosmic Time. Moreover, the very sense of the words implies that it is meaningless to pursue the question further — to ask what was the origin of this calm flow of Time. It is important to realise once and for always that one may speak of something in cosmic existence without being justified in putting further questions, let us say, about the causes of a First Principle such as this. Whenever mention is made of a cause, abstract thinking will seldom refrain from asking further questions about the cause of that cause, and so on, forcing the concepts back as it were to infinity But when there is a desire to stand firmly on the ground of Spiritual Science, genuine meditation will make it clear that questioning about causes must end somewhere and that to continue it beyond a certain point is merely to indulge in fantasy.
In the book Occult Science — an Outline I referred to this form of mental procedure. As an example, I said that the sight of wheel-tracks on a road may evoke the question: What has caused them? The answer is: The wheels of a cart. Further questions might be: Where, exactly, are the wheels joined to the cart? Why do they make tracks and why was the cart being driven along the road? Such questions can be answered. The cart made the tracks because it was being driven along the road and it was driven because someone wanted to be carried in it — but this kind of questioning leads finally to the intention which caused the person concerned to use the cart. And if a halt is not made here, further questions regarding the cause of the intention lose point and become no more than a game.
The same is true in connection with the great questions of Cosmogony. Somewhere our questioning must end. For the deeper teachings of Zoroastrianism it is meaningless to go back beyond the calm flow of ‘uncreated Time’.
We now see that Zoroastrianism divides Time itself again into two principles, or — better said — speaks of two principles proceeding from Time: a good principle of Light characterized as that of Ormuzd, and an evil principle of Darkness, that of Ahriman. This dual conception is based upon a profoundly significant truth, namely that all Evil in the world, everything that in its physical image must be called dark and sinful, was not originally so. I said that in ancient Persian thought, the wolf, for example — which in a certain way represented something savage and evil, an outcome of the working of the Ahriman-principle — was regarded as having degenerated; when left to itself the Ahriman-principle could become active in it. Thus the wolf had descended from a being in which the presence of the Good cannot be denied. According to the conceptions of the ancient Persians and the earliest Aryan peoples, the fundamental principle in evolution is that Evil comes into being because something that was good in the form in which it existed in an earlier epoch retains this form in a later age; in failing to transform itself it becomes retrogressive, for it preserves the form suitable for an earlier time. Therefore the cause of all Evil :all Darkness, was to the earliest Aryan peoples simply this: a form of being that was good in a previous epoch continues without change into later times and the consequence of the impact of such a form with one that has made progress is a. battle between the two — the battle between Good and Evil. So in the thought of ancient Persia, Evil is not absolute Evil but, rather, Good manifesting out of its appropriate time, something that once, in an earlier period, was good but is no longer so. Evil in the present, therefore, manifests in the form of events through which conditions suitable for the past are carried into the present. When there is as yet no conflict between the earlier and the later, Time is still undifferentiated, not divided into single ‘moments’.
This profoundly significant world-view held by very early post-Atlantean peoples can be regarded as, the basis of, Zoroastrianism; it includes the concept that was characterized in the lecture yesterday and was dominant in those who adhered to the teachings of Zarathustra. There is evidence on every side that these peoples recognized two phases proceeding from the hitherto undivided flow of Time — two phases coming into conflict as they encounter one another and resolving their conflict only in the stream of onflowing Time. It was realised that the new must come into being and that the old must not be swept away; the goal of the Universe — above all, the goal of the Earth — will be achieved through the creating of balance, of harmony, between the old and the new. This conception, as it has now been characterized, lies at the basis of all forms of higher development originating in Zoroastrianism.
Once the original centre of Zoroastrianism had been established in the region and epoch indicated yesterday, its influence was effective wherever it made its way. And we shall see what a tremendous effect it had upon subsequent epochs, giving expression everywhere to the teaching on the polarity between the old and the new.
The reason why Zarathustra was able to exercise such a far-reaching influence upon posterity was that at the time when he had attained the highest Initiation possible in his day, he had two intimate pupils of whom I have previously spoken. 1e.g. in the Lecture Cycle The Gospel of St. Luke, Lecture Five. To one of these pupils Zarathustra taught everything relating to the secrets of surrounding physical Space, the secrets of contemporaneous existence. To the other pupil he taught the secrets of Time in flow, the secrets of evolution, of development. On a previous occasion I said that at a certain point on the path of Initiation such as this, something of great significance is able to take place, namely that the teacher can offer up part of his own being to his pupils. And Zarathustra offered up to his two pupils his own astral body and his own etheric body. The Individuality of Zarathustra, the inmost core of his being, remained intact for ever-recurring incarnations. But his astral ‘raiment’, that is to say the astral body in which he had lived as Zarathustra in a very early post-Atlantean epoch — this astral raiment was so perfect, so charged with the essence of his whole being that it did not disperse as do the astral sheaths of other human beings, but remained intact. In the great process of evolution the power of an Individuality bearing human sheaths of this quality, may enable them to remain intact and be preserved, and this was so in the case of the astral body of Zarathustra.
The pupil who had received from Zarathustra the teaching about Space and everything that exists contemporaneously in physical Space — this pupil was reborn in the personality known in history as the Egyptian Thoth, or Hermes. Occult investigation reveals that he was destined not only to consolidate in his own being all the teaching imparted to him in an earlier incarnation by Zarathustra, but to do even more. This was made possible by the fact that through a process enacted in the holy Mysteries, the preserved astral body of Zarathustra himself was incorporated into him. Thus the Individuality of this pupil of Zarathustra was reborn as the inaugurator of Egyptian culture. The Egyptian Hermes therefore bore within himself part of the being of Zarathustra, and this power, together with the fruits of his own former discipleship, enabled Hermes to give the impulse for all that was great and significant in the culture and civilization of ancient Egypt.
In order that the mission of this messenger of Zarathustra might be fulfilled, there had naturally to be a folk suited to receive the impulse. Only among those peoples who had taken the more southerly path from Atlantean territories, had settled in the East of Africa and in whom a high degree of clairvoyance in its Atlantean form had been preserved — only among such peoples could fruitful soil be found for what Hermes, the reborn pupil of Zarathustra, was able to impart. The soul-life prevailing in the Egyptian population came into contact with the teaching of Hermes and from this source the culture of ancient Egypt developed.
It was a culture of a very special character. Think of what treasures of wisdom had been received by Hermes when Zarathustra imparted to him the secrets of things existing contemporaneously in Space. Hermes bore within his own being this supremely important teaching of Zarathustra. As we have often heard, the most characteristic feature of Zarathustra's teaching was that he directed the attention of his people to the Sun and the external light of the Sun, explaining to them that this solar body is only the outer sheath of a lofty Spiritual Being. Thus Zarathustra entrusted to Hermes the secrets of the the reality of being underlying the whole of Nature in the world of Space, the reality of being which underlies everything in contemporaneous existence but goes forward through Time from epoch to epoch, manifesting itself anew in each particular epoch. The wisdom possessed by Hermes concerned all that proceeds from the Sun and evolves to further stages. And the reason why he was able to instill this teaching into the souls of the descendants of Atlantean peoples was because those souls had at one time themselves gazed into the mysteries of the Sun and had preserved in memory something of their vision. Everything, of course, had advanced in evolution — the souls who were destined to receive the wisdom of Hermes, as well as Hermes himself.
Circumstances were different in the case of the second pupil of Zarathustra. To him had been entrusted the secrets relating to the flow of Time, and he had necessarily to experience the conflict between the old and the new, the active principle of contrast, of opposition and of polarity, implicit in evolution. Zarathustra had offered up part of his being for this second pupil as well, and when the latter was reborn he too was able to receive what had been bequeathed to him. Whereas the Individuality of Zarathustra remained intact, the astral and etheric sheaths were separated from him, but because they had been borne by such a mighty Individuality, they too remained intact and did not disperse. At a certain point in his new incarnation, this second pupil, to whom had been communicated the wisdom relating to Time — in contrast to that relating to Space — this second pupil received into him-self the etheric body of Zarathustra, who had offered it up as he had offered up his astral body. This second pupil of Zarathustra was reborn as Moses, into whom, in very early childhood, the preserved etheric body of Zarathustra was incorporated.
Religious chronicles that are genuinely based on occultism contain mysterious clues pointing to the secrets disclosed by occult investigation. To enable Moses, the reincarnated pupil of Zarathustra, to receive into himself the etheric body of his former teacher, something quite unusual must necessarily happen to him. It was essential that the miraculous legacy he was to receive from Zarathustra should be incorporated into him before impressions from the environment were made upon his individuality, as in the case of other human beings. This is narrated symbolically in the story that he was laid in a cradle of reeds and lowered into a river — an indication of a remarkable Initiation, During the process of Initiation a human being is shut off from the outer world for a certain period of time and what he is destined to receive is then instilled into him. Thus the etheric body of Zarathustra that had been preserved intact was incorporated into Moses at a certain moment while he was shut off from the outer world; and then there could come to flower within him the wonderful wisdom concerning Time once imparted to him by Zarathustra. He was able, now, to give expression to it in pictures suitable for his people.
Hence we have from Moses the mighty pictures of Genesis — external Imaginations of the wisdom of successive epochs. These pictures were the expression of reborn knowledge, of wisdom that had once been imparted to him by Zarathustra and was now rooted in his very being because the etheric sheath of Zarathustra himself had been incorporated into him.
But in a measure of such significance for the evolution of humanity, two factors are essential. Not only must there be an Initiate to inaugurate an impulse in culture, but it must be possible for this great Individuality to plant the seed of future culture in the folk-soil suitable for it. And to understand the nature of the folk-soil into which Moses could plant what had been transmitted to him by Zarathustra, it will be well to concern ourselves with a certain, characteristic of the Mosaic wisdom.
In an earlier incarnation, then, Moses had been a pupil of Zarathustra. At that time there had been imparted to him the wisdom relating to Time together with the secret that in all epochs the earlier clashes with the later, thus producing contrast. If Moses as the bearer of this wisdom was to become a factor in the evolution of humanity, it had to be presented as a contrast to the other stream of wisdom — the Hermes-wisdom. And this was what actually happened.
Hermes had received from Zarathustra the direct wisdom, the Sun-wisdom, that is to say, knowledge of the reality of being working mysteriously in the outer, physical sheath of the light — the solar body. With Moses it was different. The kind of wisdom of which he was the recipient is harboured more in the denser, etheric body, not in the astral body. His was the wisdom that does not only look upwards to the Sun, seeing all things streaming from the Sun, but is also concerned with what stands over against the light and essential quality of the Sun; this wisdom assimilates — without being corrupted by it — that which has become earthly, dense, solidified, old. This was Earth-wisdom, comprised, it is true, within Sun-wisdom, but for all that essentially Earth-wisdom, The secrets of Earth-evolution, of how man develops on the Earth and how the Earth evolves when the Sun has separated from it — these were the secrets imparted to Moses. And this, if we study the inner, not the external aspects of the matter, explains why we encounter in the teachings of Hermes something that is an utter contrast to the wisdom of Moses.
In studying all such matters, certain modes of thought current at the present time apply the principle that in the night all cows are grey! Those who think in this way have eyes only for similarities and are overjoyed when, for example, they find the same thing in the teachings of Hermes and of Moses: here a triad, there a triad, here a quaternary, there a quaternary, and so on. But there is not much point in this. It would be rather like a person setting out to train someone else to be a botanist without teaching him what differentiates, let us say, a rose from a carnation, but speaking only of features that are identical in both. This does not help. We must know in what respects the beings themselves, and also the forms of wisdom,differ; we must realise that the Moses-wisdom was quite different in character from the Hermes-wisdom. Both forms of wisdom proceeded, originally, from Zarathustra; but just as unity, divides and manifests in very various ways, so did Zarathustra give essentially different revelations to each of his two pupils.
If we steep ourselves in the Hermes-wisdom, we find illumination on cosmogony — it explains to us the origin of worlds and the operations of the inpouring light. But in the Hermes-wisdom we do not find the concepts which reveal the fact that in the evolutionary process the earlier works on into the later, and because of this, the past and the present come into conflict, causing the opposition between Darkness and Light. Earth-wisdom which makes intelligible to us how the Earth, together with Man, evolved after the Sun had separated — this is nowhere contained in the Hermes-wisdom. But it was to be the special mission of the Moses-wisdom to make comprehensible to men the evolution of the Earth after the separation of the Sun. Earth-wisdom was to be the gift of Moses; Sun wisdom, the gift of Hermes. To Moses, with his remembrances of all that had been imparted to him by Zarathustra, there is revealed the process of the Earth's evolution and man's evolution on the Earth. His starting-point as it were is the earthly; but the earthly is separated from the Sun and contains the Sun-nature in a weakened form only. The earthly comes towards and meets the Sun-nature. Hence the Earth-wisdom of Moses had actually to encounter the Sun-wisdom of Hermes in concrete existence; these two streams of wisdom had to contact each other. The outer circumstances too indicate this in a most wonderful way. Moses is born an Egypt, his people are brought thither and make contact with the. Egyptians — the people of Hermes. These happenings are the outer reflection of the contact of Sun-wisdom with Earth-wisdom. Both forms of wisdom stem from Zarathustra but pour over the Earth in quite different streams of evolution, eventually meeting and working in conjunction.
Now certain wisdom connected with proceedings in the Mysteries always expresses itself in, a very special way about the deepest secrets of human and other happenings. In the lectures on Genesis given at Munich, I indicated how extraordinarily difficult it is to speak in terms of current language of these great truths which embrace not only the deepest secrets of the being of man but also cosmic facts. Our words are often fetters, for they bear the connotations that have come to be attached to them from long usage, and when with the great wisdom-truths unfolding themselves in the soul we resort to language, endeavouring to clothe these inner revelations in words, we find ourselves battling with a dreadfully feeble instrument.
The greatest piece of nonsense uttered in the course of the 19th century and repeated times without number is that it should be possible to couch every real truth in simple words and that language, with the means of expression it offers, should actually be a criterion of whether a person is in possession of some particular truth or not. This statement, however, only shows that those who make it are not in possession of essential truth but only of such truths as have been conveyed to them through language in the course of the centuries, the forms of which may change. For such people language is adequate and they feel nothing of the struggle that must often be waged with it. But this struggle becomes only too glaringly real when something of great consequence has to be expressed.
(I referred in Munich to the hard struggle I had with language in connection with the passage spoken in the meditation chamber at the end of the first scene, in. the Mystery Play, The Portal of Initiation. It was actually no more than a faint echo — all that could be expressed through the feeble instrument of language — of what the Hierophant was intended to say to the pupil.)
In the sacred Mysteries the very deepest secrets were brought to expression and the inadequacy of language for this purpose was felt at all times. Hence the age-long efforts in the Mysteries to find means of expression for the soul's experiences. Terms and phrases that had been used in ordinary intercourse for centuries proved to be utterly inadequate, whereas the opposite was true of the pictures arising when the gaze was directed to the expanse of universal space, to the constellations, to the appearance of a certain star or the eclipse of one heavenly body by another at definite times. These were pictures well fitted to portray particular happenings and experiences in man's life of soul. I will give a brief example.
Let us suppose it was a matter of announcing that something of great and far-reaching importance would take place at a particular moment in time because some human soul would then be sufficiently mature to undergo a sublime experience and to communicate it to his people; or perhaps there might have been a desire to indicate that a people, or a particular section of humanity, had reached a certain state of maturity in evolution and that an Individuality had come to dwell among them, possibly from some quite different region. In the latter case, the highest point reached in the development of this individual was coincident with the highest point reached in the development of the folk-soul of the people concerned and it was desired to express the unique nature of this event. Nothing that could be conveyed through ordinary language was found to be lofty enough to impress men's feelings with the significance of such an event. It was therefore expressed pictorially by saying : When the highest power developed by an an individual coincides with the highest power developed by a particular folk-soul, it is as when the Sun is in the constellation of Leo and radiates its light from there. In this example the picture of the Lion was chosen to denote something manifesting in its greatest strength in the evolution of humanity. A phenomenon in cosmic space was thus used to indicate a happening in the life of humanity. Such is the origin of certain expressions used in history; they were derived from the stars and constellations,and were the means used to express spiritual facts in the life of mankind.
When it is said, for example, that an event in the evolution of humanity is expressed symbolically by a phenomenon in the heavens such as the Sun in Leo or in some particular constellation, trivial thinkers are very apt to reverse the real meaning and state that all happenings connected with the early history of humanity were mythical descriptions of movements of celestial bodies; whereas the truth is that earthly events were expressed in pictures taken from the constellations. The truth is invariably the opposite of the theories loved by superficial thinkers.
This connection with the Cosmos is something that should fill us with reverence for what we are told about the great events in the evolution of mankind and the expression of them in pictures derived from cosmic phenomena. There is actually a mysterious connection between all cosmic existence and what comes to pass in man's existence; for happenings on Earth are reflections of happenings in the Cosmos.
In a certain respect the convergence of the Sun-wisdom of Hermes and the Earth-wisdom of Moses in Egypt is also a reflection, a mirror-image, of happenings in the Cosmos. Picture to yourselves certain forces streaming out from the Sun and other forces streaming back from the Earth into cosmic space; the point in space at which they meet will not be without importance; according to whether the contact is made at a point nearer to or farther away from the sources in question, the effect of the radiations emitted and then sent back, will be different. The contact between the Hermes-wisdom and the Moses-wisdom in ancient Egypt was presented in the Mysteries in such a way that comparison was possible with something that according to spiritual-scientific cosmology had already taken place in the Cosmos. We know that Sun and Earth had separated, that for a time the Earth was still united with the Moon, that then a part of the Earth moved out into space to become our present Moon. The Earth had therefore sent back part of itself towards the Sun in cosmic space. And when, in Egyptian civilization, the Earth-wisdom of Moses came into contact with the Sun-wisdom of Hermes, this remarkable happening was also like a ‘radiation’ — this time from the Earth towards the Sun.
After its subsequent separation from the Sun-wisdom of Hermes, the wisdom of Moses Earth-wisdom — can be said to have developed further as the science of the Earth and of Man; in its course towards the Sun it absorbed and steeped itself in the direct wisdom radiating from the Sun. There was, however, to be a limit to this absorption; the wisdom of Moses was destined to progress on its own and develop independence. Hence it remained in Egypt only until enough had been absorbed for its needs; then came the “Exodus of the Children of Moses from Egypt”, in order that the Sun-wisdom received by the Earth-wisdom might be assimilated and also developed.
Two phases must therefore be distinguished in the wisdom of Moses: one while it is developing in the sphere of the wisdom of Hermes, surrounded by it on all sides and perpetually absorbing it. Then comes the separation, and after the exodus from Egypt the wisdom of Moses, although now developing independently, elaborates the wisdom of Hermes it has absorbed and on its own further course reaches three stages . What was its goal and, its destined task?
The task of the wisdom of Moses was to find the way back again to the Sun. It had become Earth-wisdom. Moses was born with all that had been imparted to him by Zarathustra as a wise man of the Earth and he sought for the way back to the Sun in different stages. At the first stage he had steeped himself in the wisdom of Hermes; the course of his further development can best be portrayed in pictures drawn from cosmic existence. When the effects of what happens on the Earth stream back into cosmic space, the first encounter on the path towards the Sun is with Mercury. (We know that thc Venus of ordinary astronomy is Mercury in the terminology of occultism and the Mercury of astronomy is Venus according to occultism.) On the way from the Earth towards the Sun, therefore, the Mercury-nature is encountered first, at a later stage the Venus-nature and then the Sun-nature. Hence through, inner processes in the life of soul, Moses was to develop the heritage received from Zarathustra in such a way that on the returning path it would be able to find the Sun-nature again; it had therefore to reach a definite stage. The wisdom inculcated by Moses into culture and civilization had necessarily to develop in the form in which he had imparted to his people. Hence on the path of return, having first absorbed something of the wisdom imparted by Hermes as directly radiating from the Sun, Moses developed it with a new orientation, that is, in the opposite direction.
It is said that Hermes later called Mercury (Thoth), brought to his people art and science, knowledge of the external world, external art, in the form suitable for them. But it was in a different, indeed opposite way, that Moses himself was to reach this Hermes-Mercury-wisdom and develop it to further stages on the returning path. This process portrayed in the history of the Hebrews up to the time and reign of David; he is described as the royal psalmist, as a divine prophet, as a man of God, an armour-bearer and also a player on the harp. David is the Hermes, the Mercury, of the Hebrew people who had now developed to the stage of being able to produce a Hermes- or Mercury-wisdom in an independent form. At the time of David, therefore, the Hermes-wisdom, once assimilated by the Moses-wisdom, had reached the region, or stage, of Mercury.
On the returning pail towards the Sun the wisdom of Moses was to advance to the Venus-stage. Hebraism reached this stage at the time when the Moses-wisdom, as it had flowed down the centuries, was destined to unite with an entirely different element, with a stream of wisdom that had come from the other direction.
Whatever rays back from the Earth into space encounters Venus on the path to the Sun, and during the Babylonian captivity the wisdom of Moses encountered the wisdom that had made its way over from Asia and was presented in a modified form in the Babylonian and Chaldean Mysteries. This contact was made during the time of the Babylonian captivity. Like a wanderer who, having started from the Earth with a knowledge of what the Earth is, had passed through the region of Mercury and arrived in the region of Venus in order there to receive the light of the Sun falling upon Venus, so did the wisdom of Moses absorb what had proceeded directly from the sanctuaries of Zoroastrianism and was being continued in a modified form in the Mysteries of the Chaldeans and Babylonians. It was this that the Moses-wisdom received during the Babylonian captivity, thus assimilating wisdom that had made its way to the region of the Euphrates and the Tigris.
But something else came to pass as well. Moses had encountered the wisdom that once upon a time had streamed from the Sun. In the sanctuaries that were known to and frequented by the wise men among the Hebrews during the captivity, the legacy of the wisdom bequeathed by Moses to his people mingled with the Sun-nature of the wisdom harboured in the Mystery-centres in the regions around the Euphrates and the Tigris where the reincarnated Zarathustra was teaching. Approximately at the time of the Babylonian captivity, Zarathustra himself was incarnated; thus while teaching in that region, he who had already given over one part of his wisdom, receive it back again. He himself incarnated time and time again, and in his incarnation as Zarathas or Nazarathos he became the teacher of the captive Jews who knew of the sanctuaries existing in those regions.
Thus in its later course the wisdom of Moses came into contact with what Zarathustra himself had been able to achieve after he had moved from the more distant Mystery-centres to those of Asia Minor. There he became the teacher of the initiated pupils of Chaldea as well as of individual initiated teachers; there were also those in whom the Moses-wisdom was fructified by the stream with which they could now make contact, being able to receive from Zarathustra himself, in his incarnation as Zarathas or Nazarathos, what he himself had formerly imparted to their ancestor — Moses. Such was the destiny of the wisdom of Moses. It had actually originated with Zarathustra and had been transplanted into foreign lands. It was as if a Sun-being with bandaged eyes had been carried down to the Earth and on the return journey must seek again for what it had lost.
Moses, then, was the reincarnated pupil of Zarathustra. In his existence in Egyptian civilization everything once imparted to him by Zarathustra lit up again within him; but isolated in the domain of the Earth, it was as if he did not know the source of his illumination. Hence he took the path towards what had once been of the nature of the Sun; in Egypt he turned to the Hermes-wisdom which presented the wisdom of Zarathustra in its direct form, not in reflection as in his own case. After he had absorbed enough of the Hermes-wisdom, the stream of his own wisdom developed in a straightforward course. Having established in the Davidic age a form of Hermes-Wisdom, with its own science and art, the stream of Moses-wisdom moved towards the Sun whence it had originally issued, but in a form which at first concealed its real nature.
In the centres of learning in ancient Babylon where he was also the teacher of Pythagoras, Zarathustra — Zarathas or Nazarathos — could only teach in a way that was possible in a specially constituted body, for he was obliged to use such a body as his instrument. If he was to give expression to the Sun-nature in its fullness as he had once done and had then imparted it to Hermes and Moses — if he was to give expression to this wisdom in a new form, suitable for the later epoch, he needed a bodily sheath that would be a worthy instrument. It was only in a form conditioned by a body such as ancient Babylonia was able to produce that Zarathustra could bring forth again all the wisdom which he then conveyed to Pythagoras, to the learned Hebrews and the Chaldean and Babylonian sages who at that time — in the sixth century B.C. — were in a position to hear it.
In regard to what Zarathustra was able to teach, it was actually as if the light of the Sun had first been intercepted by Venus and could not find its way directly to the Earth; it was as if the Zarathustra-wisdom could not manifest itself in its primal form but only in modification. For to enable this wisdom to work in its original form Zarathustra would have to be enveloped in a suitable body and such a body could only be produced in an altogether unique way—which may be characterized somewhat as follows.
It was said in the lecture yesterday that there were three folk-souls in Asia, each of a different character : the Indian in the South, the Iranian and the Turanian to the North. It was indicated that these three species of souls came into being, firstly, because the northern stream of the Atlantean peoples had passed into Asia across these regions and had spread through them. But another stream had passed through Africa and its final offshoots had penetrated as far as the regions of the Turanian peoples. Where the northern stream which had passed from Atlantis towards Asia met the other stream which had passed from Atlantis through Africa, a remarkable mixture of peoples was produced and a racial stock formed from which the Hebrews subsequently sprang.
Something very remarkable came to pass in these people. Faculties of astral-etheric clairvoyance that had remained in a state of decadence among certain people and had become corrupt as the last phase of a faculty of clairvoyance directed outwards — all this turned inwards in those who became the Hebrew people. The direction was entirely changed. Instead of manifesting in its outer operations in the form of a lower astral clairvoyance, as the remains of the old Atlantean clairvoyance, it worked as an organizing power in the inner constitution of the body. What had become a decadent outward clairvoyance and having remained static had been permeated by the Ahrimanic element — this had then developed in the right way through becoming an active force in the inner, organic constitution of the human body. In the Hebrew people this faculty did not come to expression as an outdated form of clairvoyance but it worked as a transforming force upon the bodily nature, thus bringing it to a stage of greater perfection. The faculty that in the Turanian people had become decadent, worked creatively and with transforming power in the inner constitution of the Hebrews.
The following may therefore be said. In the bodily nature of the Hebrew people as propagated through blood-relation- from generation to generation, there were working the forces which as outward clairvoyant vision had had their day and were no longer to continue in this form but were now to function in a different sphere where they would be in the right element. The faculty that had enabled the Atlanteans to look with spiritual vision into space and into spiritual regions and in the Turanians had become a degenerate residue of clairvoyance — this faculty turned inwards in the Hebrew people. What had been of a divine-spiritual nature in Atlantean culture worked inwardly, in the Hebrews as an organic formative force and within their blood was able to light up as an inner consciousness of the Divine. It was as if everything that had been seen by the Atlantean when he directed his clairvoyant gaze outwards to the expanse of space had now become wholly inward, arising in the inmost organism of the Hebrews as consciousness of, Jahve or Jehovah, as inner, consciousness of the Divine. Thus the Hebrews felt the Godhead to be united with their blood, felt themselves pervaded, impregnated, by the Godhead outspread in space, and knew that this same Godhead was living within them, pulsing through their very blood.
Yesterday we considered the contrast between the Iranian and the Turanian civilizations. Now, having compared the faculties of the Turanians with those of the Hebrew race, we see that what had become decadent in the former progressed in the latter, subsequently working in the blood. What had been visible to the Atlantean now manifested in the Hebrew in the form of inner feeling. This experience is summed up in a single word — the name JEHOVAH. Compressed as it were into a single point, into one inner centre of consciousness of the Divine, lived the God who had been revealed to Atlantean clairvoyance behind all external phenomena. Invisible and inwardly experienced, the God lived in the blood of the generations of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, leading them and all their succeeding generations from event to event on their path of destiny. In this way the outer had become inward; the outer was now experienced within, no longer seen, no longer called by different names but known by a single designation: ‘I AM THE I AM !’ The Divine had assumed an entirely different form. Whereas with the faculties man possessed in the Atlantean epoch he had found the God out yonder in the Universe, he now found the God in the centre of his own being, in his ‘I’, felt the God in the blood flowing through the generations. The great God of the Universe had now become the God of the Hebrews, the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God who flowed in the blood through the generations.
Thus was founded the racial stock whose inner mission for the evolution of humanity we shall study to-morrow. It has only been possible to-day to give an indication of the very earliest stage in the composition of the blood of this people, the stage when everything that in the Atlantean age man had allowed to work in upon him from outside was now com-pressed within his own being. We shall see what mysteries are fulfilled in happenings that have only been touched upon to-day, and we shall learn to understand the unique nature of the people from whom Zarathustra, as the Being we call Jesus of Nazareth, could derive his body.