Donate books to help fund our work. Learn more→

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

The Gospel of Matthew
GA 123

Lecture I

1 September 1910, Bern

The post-Atlantean migrations. The Iranians and Turanians. Zarathustra

This is the third occasion on which I have had the opportunity of speaking in Switzerland of the greatest Event in the history of the earth and of man. The first time was at Basle, when I spoke from the aspect of this Event presented in the Gospel of John; the second was in accordance with descriptions of the event given by Luke; and now, the third time, the impulse for what I have to say will come from the Gospel of Matthew.

I have often pointed out how important it is that accounts of this Event are preserved in four documents apparently so different from one another. But what gives opportunity for so much adverse criticism from the side of the materialistic thought of the present day is precisely what strikes us as important according to our anthroposophical outlook. No one should permit himself to describe any fact or being that has been viewed only from one point. A man may photograph a tree from one side, but the result cannot be regarded as a true replica of the tree. If, however, he photographs it from four sides, he can, by comparing the four pictures, form a comprehensive idea of the appearance of the tree. If this is true as regards ordinary external things, how should one suppose that an Event comprising in itself such a sum of occurrences—the fullest measure of all the things essential to human existence—can be really grasped if described only from one side. Contradictions between the Gospels are only apparent; the explanation of them lies in the fact that each writer knew he was capable of describing one side only of this mighty Event. By recognizing this fact, and by comparing the different accounts, it is possible gradually to gain a complete picture.

Let us us then approach this, the greatest Event in earthly evolution, with patience, and with confidence in the four descriptions given in the New Testament, trusting that we may be able to enrich our knowledge of it through them.

It is customary to begin by giving an historical account of the origin of the Gospels. It will, however, give us the best result if what is to be said of the origin of the Matthew Gospel is said towards the end of the course, for as is natural, and as other sciences show, the comprehension of a thing should precede its history. No one, for instance, can usefully approach the history of arithmetic who has no knowledge of arithmetic. In other cases it is universal to place historical descriptions at the end of a study; where this is not done, the arrangement contradicts the natural needs of human knowledge. Thus an attempt will be made here, first, to prove the contents of the Gospel of Matthew, and afterwards to examine its historical origin.

When we allow the Gospels to affect us, even externally, we are soon aware of something distinctive in the way each is expressed, and this feeling is intensified when we keep in mind the lectures previously given on the Gospels of John and Luke. In seeking to understand the mighty communications of the Gospel of John, we feel overpowered by its spiritual grandeur; and must confess that in this Gospel—because it tells of the highest attainable by human wisdom—we find the highest to which human understanding can gradually attain. In it man seems to raise his eyes to a summit of world existence and say to himself: ‘However small I may be as man, the Gospel of John permits me to divine that something has entered my soul with which I am united, and which overcomes me with a feeling of the infinite.’ The spiritual greatness of a Cosmic Being with whom humanity is related sinks into the human soul when we speak of the Gospel of John.

Recall your feelings on reading what was said concerning the Gospel of Luke; what filled your soul then was something quite different.

In the Gospel of John it is chiefly the revelation of spiritual greatness that arouses longing in the receptive human soul, and fills it as with a breath of magic; in the the Gospel of Luke we encounter an inwardness of soul-nature, the intensity of the power of love and of sacrifice in the world when these are experienced by the human heart. John describes the Being of Christ Jesus in its spiritual grandeur. Luke shows us this Being in its immeasurable capacity of sacrifice, and gives us some idea of the nature of that force which as sacrificial love pulsates through the world in the way other forces do, permeating the whole evolution of the world and all the deeds of men.

We live mainly in the element feeling when we let the influence of the Gospel of Luke work in us; and it is the element of understanding, speaking of the ultimate ends and aims of knowledge, that meets us in the Gospel of John. John speaks more to our understanding, Luke to our hearts. This can be felt from the Gospels themselves, but it is also our endeavour to give out what we are able to add to these documents through the revelation of spiritual science. Those to whom these Gospels are only words have not by any means heard all that can be heard. There was a profound difference both in language and style between the cycle of lectures on the Gospels of John and that of Luke. These must again be different when we approach the Gospel of Matthew.

In the Gospel of Luke, it is as if all that ever existed in the evolution of mankind as human love were seen to be concentrated within the Being, Who at the beginning of our era, is called Christ Jesus.

To merely external perception the Gospel of Matthew appears more many-sided than the other two, even more many-sided than the three others, but when we come to consider the Gospel of Mark we shall find that unlike the others it is in a certain sense one-sided.

The Gospel of John reveals the greatness of the wisdom of Christ Jesus; the Gospel of Luke, the power of His love; the Gospel of Mark, mainly the power of the creative forces and the splendour permeating universal space. From this Gospel we divine something stupendous in the out-pouring of the cosmic forces which seem to rush towards us from all directions of space.

While that which breathes from Luke fills the soul with inward warmth, and that which springs from John fills it with hope, that which emerges from the Gospel of Mark is the overwhelming power and splendour of the cosmic forces before which the soul feels almost shattered. All three elements are present in the Gospel of Matthew—the deep warmth of the love-element, the hopeful reaching forth of the understanding, and the majestic greatness of the universe. But in a certain sense they are present in a weaker form and therefore seem to be more closely related to humanity than is the case in the other Gospels. Whereas we might be overwhelmed so that we almost prostrate ourselves before the love, the wisdom and the greatness of the other three, we feel more able to stand erect before the Gospel of Matthew, even to approach and place ourselves alongside of it. We are nowhere shattered by the Matthew Gospel, although it also brings something of that which in the other three Gospels can work shatteringly. It is, therefore, the most human document of them all, and more than the others it presents Christ Jesus as man. It is in a sense a commentary on the others, and by making clear what is too great for human understanding in the other Gospels, it throws a remarkable light upon them.

Let us take what is now to be said as referring more to the style of the different Gospels. The Gospel of Luke tells how the highest degree of love and sacrifice was reached in the Being to Whom we give the name of Christ Jesus. how this flowed out into the world and into men, and how for the salvation of men a human outpouring came down from out the primeval ages of earthly development, and it describes this same stream up to the earliest beginnings of man.

In the Gospel of John we are shown how man can look with his wisdom and knowledge to a beginning, and also to a goal, to which this understanding can attain; we are shown this from the very beginning of the Gospel, for here the description of Christ Jesus points to the creative Logos itself. The most exalted spiritual conception our minds can reach is defined in the opening sentences of this Gospel. It is otherwise in the Gospel of Matthew. The Gospel of Matthew treats of the man, Jesus of Nazareth; it refers at the very beginning to the origin of his lineage, showing how he sprang from a definite point in history. It traces the line of descent in a certain people. It shows how all the qualities we find in Jesus had been concentrated within the race of Abraham; how for three times fourteen generations the best it had to give had wed in the blood of this people, to prepare it for the perfect flowering of the highest human powers in one human individual.

While John points to the eternal quality of the Logos, Luke to the immensity of human evolution, taking us back to its very beginning—the Gospel of Matthew tells us of a man, Jesus of Nazareth, who belonged to a people able to trace the descent of its qualities through three times fourteen generations—to Abraham, the founder of the race.

It is only possible to hint here at what is necessary before any real understanding of what the Gospel of Mark seeks to explain, can be reached. This is, that we must learn in a certain way to know the cosmic forces streaming through the whole course of the world's development. For in this Gospel, Christ Jesus is presented to us as an essence from the cosmos working within a human agency; an essence of that which previously had dwelt in the infinity of space as cosmic force. Mark seeks to describe the acts of Christ as an extract of cosmic activity; to him the divine man, Christ Jesus, walking on the earth, is a quintessence of the Sun-force in its boundless activity. Thus it is stellar forces working through a human agency which Mark describes.

In a certain way, the writer of the Gospel of Matthew touches also upon this stellar activity, for, at the very beginning, when describing the birth of Jesus of Nazareth he leads us to a point where we are shown that cosmic facts are connected with the birth of a man; this is, when he speaks of the star guiding the three Magii to the birthplace of Jesus.

But he does not describe a cosmic activity as is done in the Gospel of Mark; he does not demand that we raise our eyes to this cosmic activity; he shows us three men—the Magi—and the effect these cosmic events had upon them. We can turn to these three men and divine their feelings. Thus, if we would rise to what is cosmic, Matthew directs our gaze, not to boundless space, but to man, to the action of the cosmos in human hearts.

These hints should only be accepted as showing the difference in style of the Gospels. The main characteristic of each Gospel is that it gives a description from a different point of view, and each has its own special manner and method of describing this, the greatest event in human and earthly evolution.

The most important facts at the commencement of the Gospel of Matthew concern the near blood-relations of Jesus of Nazareth. We are told how the physical person of Jesus was created; and how the qualities of a whole people, since its originator Abraham, were contained as an extract in one human being, Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore it had to be shown how the blood of Jesus reached back by way of the generations to the Father of the Hebrew people; and how on this account the nature of this people—that for which they particularly stood in regard to human and earthly evolution—was concentrated within the physical personality of Jesus of Nazareth. It is necessary, therefore, in order to understand the point of view of the writer of the Gospel, to know something of the nature of the Hebrew people, and to be able to answer the question: ‘What was it that the Hebrew people, by virtue of their special character, were able to impart to mankind?’ External materialistic history gives little attention to the facts emphasized here. The fact that no one people in human evolution has the same task as another, that each has its own special mission, is hardly noticed; to those who understand human evolution, however, this is all-important. All peoples, down even to physical details, are formed in accordance with their destiny. Thus the bodies of any one race reveal a certain construction in their physical as well as in their etheric and astral sheaths; and the way these interpenetrate one another produces the most appropriate instrument for that people's contribution to humanity.

The question can now be modified to: ‘What was the special contribution of the Hebrew people to humanity, and how was this built into the physical body of Jesus of Nazareth?’

To understand correctly the answer to this question it will be necessary to enter more exactly into the whole evolution of mankind, already dealt with in an Outline of Occult Science, and in other courses of lectures. It is well to take the Atlantean catastrophe as a starting point. The Atlanteans journeyed from the west towards the east; one principal stream passed through Europe to the regions round the Caspian Sea in Asia; the other on a more southerly course, through the Africa of to-day. A kind of union of these two wanderings took place in yonder Asia, as when two floods meet and form a kind of whirlpool.

The thing that chiefly interests us is the whole soul-formation and point of view of these peoples, or at least the main part of those who journeyed from ancient Atlantis to the East.

The whole attitude of soul of these people of the first post-Atlantean Age was quite different from that of the men of to-day. They possessed a more clairvoyant perception of their environment than was later the case. To a certain extent they could perceive the spirit. What to-day is perceived by physical sight was then seen in a more spiritual manner. Yet it is important to note that their clairvoyance differed again in certain respects from that of the more ancient Atlanteans when this development was at its height. During the bloom of their development the Atlanteans had been able to see into the spiritual world in a very pure way, and to receive spiritual revelations as an impulse for good. The greater their capacity for perception, the greater the impulse for good they received through it; the less they were able to perceive, the less the impulse for good they received. The changes that took place on the earth during the last third of the Atlantean period, and at the opening of the post-Atlantean Age, were associated with a weakening of this clairvoyant faculty. The perception of what was good gradually diminished, until it was only retained in a high degree by those who underwent a special training in the schools of initiation. For the majority, clairvoyant perception became at last too weak to perceive the good and saw instead what was bad—the tempting and misleading forces of existence. There was indeed, in certain regions peopled by these post-Atlantean races, a form of clairvoyance that was by no means good; it was clairvoyance that was really itself a form of temptation.

With the decline of clairvoyant power was associated the gradual development or blossoming of sense-perception as is normal for the men of to-day. The things that were seen by the men of early post-Atlantean times with ordinary eyes and are also seen by the men of to-day, were not then in the least misleading, because the soul-forces now open to temptation did not as yet exist. The vision of external objects which gives men so much enjoyment to-day, even if it is misleading, was not felt by the post-Atlantean to be a temptation. On the other hand, he was led into temptation by the inherited tendencies of the old clairvoyance. The good side of the spiritual world he hardly saw any more, but the deceptive and misleading forces of Lucifer and Ahriman worked on him with great power. Thus he beheld the forces and powers which tempted and deceived—the Luciferic and Ahrimanic forces—by the power of the old inherited forces of clairvoyance. The outcome of this was that the leaders and guides of human evolution, who received from the Mysteries the wisdom by which they were able to guide men, undertook, in spite of this fact, to lead them ever more and more towards understanding and goodness.

Now the people who had spread eastwards after the great Atlantean catastrophe were at very different stages of evolution; the farther east we go, the more moral and more highly spiritual was their evolution. External perception worked on them educatively with ever greater clearness: it was like the opening of a new world, revealing as it did the vastness and splendour of the external world of the senses. This increased the farther east they travelled, and was more especially noticeable in those who dwelt north of the India of to-day towards the Caspian Sea, as far as the Oxus and Jaxartes. Here in this central region of Asia a people settled who provided the material for many nationalities which then spread in all directions, as well as of that people often mentioned by us in regard to their spiritual world-concept—the ancient Indian race.

In this settlement in Central Asia even soon after the Atlantean catastrophe, and indeed partly during the catastrophe itself, the sense for external actuality became very strongly developed. At the same time, however, among those who incarnated in this part of the world there was still a living recollection of what they had experienced in Atlantis. This recollection was strongest among those who then journeyed down to India. On the one hand, they had a great and real understanding for the splendour of the external world, while, on the other hand, they were a people in whom the remembrance of the old spiritual powers of perception of Atlantean times was most strongly developed. Therefore there arose in them an intense desire for the spiritual world which they remembered, and it was comparatively easy for them to gaze again into this world. Compared to the reality of the spiritual world, they felt that what the external world presented was illusion—Maya. Therefore, there was an inclination among these people to undervalue the sense-world and to do everything possible that by training—that is, by Yoga—their souls might again be raised to what in the age of Atlantis they had received directly from the spiritual world.

To undervalue the external world and treat it as illusion, and so to develop the impulse to penetrate to what was spiritual, was less marked among the peoples who remained in the north of India. The position of this community was tragic. The endowments of the Indian peoples consisted in the fact that they could go through a Yoga training with comparative ease, and by this means could again enter into the realms in which they had dwelt during the Atlantean Age. It was easy for them to overcome what they regarded as illusion. They overcame it through knowledge. The height of knowledge for them consisted in the conviction: ‘This world of the senses is illusion, is Maya; but when I take trouble to develop my soul, I can attain to a world that is behind the world of the senses Thus the Indian overcame, through an inner process, what he regarded as illusion, and this conquest was the object of his desire.

It was different with regard to the northern peoples named by history in a narrow sense, Aryans. These were the Persians, Medes, Bactrians, and others. In them the power of external sight was strongly developed, also the power of the intellect; but the inward urge to develop themselves through Yoga and thus attain what the Atlantean had lost, was not specially strong in them. The living memory of the past was not so keen in these northern peoples that they should set themselves to overcome the illusion of the world through knowledge. These northern people had not the same soul-nature as the Indian. The Iranians, Persians, or Medes felt what we can express in modern language as follows: If once we dwelt as men in a spiritual world, perceiving spiritual realities, and now find ourselves in a physical world which we see with our eyes and understand by means of the intellect bound to our brain, the cause of this is not to be sought in man alone; what has to be overcome cannot be overcome only in man's inner nature. The Iranian felt: It is not only in man that a change has taken place; everything in Nature, everything on earth was also changed at the descent of man. It was therefore not enough for man simply to say: All this is Maya, is illusion, let us raise ourselves to the spiritual world! We shall then certainly have changed ourselves, but not all that has become changed in the world around us.’ So the Iranian did not say: ‘Around me is Maya on every side—I will rise above this Maya, will overcome it in myself, and so attain to spiritual worlds.’ No, he said: ‘Man belongs to the world around him; he is but a part of it. Therefore if that which is divine in him, and which descended with him from spiritual heights is to be changed, then not only man must be changed back again, but everything that surrounds him must also be changed back to what it was.’ This feeling gave this people a special impulse to enter energetically into the task of transforming and changing the world. While the Indian said: ‘The world has changed, deteriorated; what we now behold is Maya,’ the people of the north said: ‘Certainly the world has come down, but we must so change it that it is made into something spiritual once more!’

Contemplation and wisdom were the fundamental characteristics of the Indian people; they had no further interest in the world which they regarded as Maya, or illusion. Activity, energy, and the desire to transform and work upon external nature was what characterized the Iranians and the other northern peoples. They said: ‘What we see around us has come down from divinity, and the mission of humanity is to lead it back to this divinity once more.’

This tendency, which was already perceptible in the Iranian people, was raised to its highest form and inspired with the greatest energy through the spiritual leaders who proceeded from the Mysteries.

What took place east and south of the Caspian Sea can only be fully understood, even externally, when it is compared with what took place to the north, that is, in the regions we to-day call Siberia and Russia, and the regions extending even into Europe. Here a people dwelt who had preserved to a great extent their ancient clairvoyance, men who, in a certain sense, held the balance between the old and the new, between the old spiritual perception and the new sense-perception associated with rational thought. Many of them were still capable of looking directly into the spiritual world; but for the majority, indeed for the greater part of humanity, spiritual perception had deteriorated to a lower astral clairvoyance. This had a certain consequence for human evolution. (The men who had this kind of clairvoyance were of a quite distinct type; through it they acquired a distinctive character. Their environment urged them to demand the necessities of life from Nature with the minimum of exertion. They did not doubt the existence of spiritual beings in what they beheld, for they perceived them as man to-day perceives plants and animals; and in the existence in which these divine beings had placed them they demanded provision for themselves without much personal effort. Much could be said regarding the outward expression of the mental attitude in the peoples endowed with this astral clairvoyance. At this time, which it is now important for us to consider, most of those who were endowed with a clairvoyance that had fallen into decadence, were nomadic peoples, people without a settled dwelling-place, wandering shepherds careless of earthly possessions, and ready to destroy anything if its destruction might serve their needs. Such people were not suited to raise the level of culture, to conserve the gifts of Nature, or cultivate the earth.

Hence arose the greatest opposition that has existed in post-Atlantean civilization, the great opposition between these more northern people and the Iranians. A longing arose in the Iranians to take hold of their environment and to live a settled life; to satisfy their human needs by work, and transform Nature by their human spiritual forces. Immediately to the north of them wandered the people who were on what one might call familiar terms with the spiritual beings, who disliked labour, and were not interested in advancing the culture of the physical world. This is perhaps the greatest difference that external history has to show in early post-Atlantean times and is purely the result of a difference in soul-development. The contrast is recognized in history, the great contrast between Iranian and Turanian; but the cause is not known. Here we now have the causes.

The Turanians in the north towards Siberia, who had inherited a lower astral clairvoyance, had no desire to establish external civilization, and their passive disposition, influenced by many priests who practised magic, led them frequently to occupy themselves with lower magic, and even black magic. To the south, the Iranians, with an inclination to influence the sense-world by their human spiritual force, were working in a primitive way at the beginnings of civilization.

This is the great contrast between Iranians and Turanians. These facts are expressed in a beautiful myth, the legend of Djemjid. Djemjid was a king who led his people from the north towards Iran, and who received from the God, whom he called Ahura Mazdao, a golden dagger, by means of which he was to fulfil his mission on earth.

In this golden dagger of King Djemjid, who tried to educate his people beyond the mass of the backward Turanians, we have to recognize the gift of an impulse towards a knowledge connected with man's external forces; a knowledge that sought to redeem his decadent powers and permeate them with spiritual forces that can be acquired by him on the physical plane. This golden dagger has, like a plough, turned the earth over, has transformed it into arable land, has brought about the earliest and most primitive inventions, and has been the impulse for all the attainments of civilization of which man is so proud. The golden dagger received by King Djemjid from Ahura Mazdao was something of very great importance. It represents a force given to man by which he can manipulate and transform external nature.

The giver of the golden dagger was the same being who inspired Zarathustra, or Zoroaster, or Zerdutsch, the great leader of the Iranians. It was he who in primeval times, soon after the Atlantean catastrophe, poured out upon this people the treasures he drew from the Holy Mysteries, that they might be induced to use the forces of the human spirit upon external culture; thus giving to those who had lost the Atlantean clairvoyant vision, a new outlook and a new hope of the spiritual world. He opened out a new path to these people. He pointed towards the sunlight as the external body of a high Spiritual Being, and to distinguish it from the small human aura, he called it the 'Great Aura' Ahura Mazdao. In his teaching he indicated that this as yet remote Being, would one day descend to earth in order to unite with its substance, and that this would be an historical event affecting the whole future of mankind. Thus in speaking of Ahura Mazdao, Zarathustra referred to the Being known later in history as the Christ. Such was the mighty mission of Zarathustra.

To the new post-Atlantean humanity, who had lost touch with divinity, he revealed the way of return to what was spiritual. He gave them the hope, through power poured down to them on the physical plane, of yet attaining to spirituality. The ancient Indian could attain to spirituality in a certain way through Yoga-training, but a new way was to be opened for men by Zarathustra.

Now Zarathustra had an important patron or protector—but I must emphasize that in speaking here of Zarathustra I do not refer to the man of that name who lived in the time of Darius, but to an individuality who was placed, even by the Greeks, about 5000 years before the Trojan War. This Zarathustra of those far-off times had a protector who may be described by the name that became customary later, that of Guschtasb.

In Zarathustra we have, therefore, a mighty priestly nature, one who pointed the way to the great Sun Spirit, Ahura Mazdao, the Being who is to guide humanity back from the externally physical to the spiritual plane. And in Guschtasb we have a kingly nature, one capable of doing all that was necessary in the external world to spread abroad the mighty inspirations of Zarathustra.

It was therefore inevitable that these inspirations and intentions should bring the Iranians into conflict with the people dwelling to the north—the Turanians. And actually through this conflict arose one of the greatest wars that have ever been fought, of which external history records rery little, since it falls in primeval ages. It lasted, not for tens, but for hundreds of years, and from it arose a certain attitude that persisted for a long time in Central Asia: an attitude which must be expressed somewhat as follows.

The Iranians—the people who followed Zarathustra—would have expressed this attitude in the following way: ‘All around us, wherever we look, we see a world that has most surely come down from what is divinely spiritual, but all we now see has declined from its former high estate. We must acknowledge that the animal, plant, and mineral worlds were formerly more noble than they are now, that they have fallen into decadence. Man, however, has the hope of leading these back again to what they were.’ Let as try and translate this feeling that dwelt in the typical Iranian into our language. Speaking as a teacher to his pupils he might say: ‘Look at everything around you—formerly this was of a spiritual nature; it has now fallen into decadence. Take, for instance, the wolf. The animal that is in the wolf you see, as a creature of the sense-world, has declined from what it once was. Formerly it did not show bad qualities; but you, when you have developed good qualities and have acquired spiritual power, will be able to tame this animal; you will be able to implant your own qualities in it, and tame it, making of the wolf a dog to serve you.’ In the wolf and in the dog there are two natures which correspond to two great tendencies in the world. Here are two opposing forces. On the one side are those who employ their spiritual forces to work upon the world, who were able to tame animals and raise them to a higher stage; on the other, those who instead of using their powers for this purpose leave the animals to sink lower and lower. The one can be seen in the following mood: ‘If I leave Nature as she is, then she will sink lower and ever lower; and everything will be wild and savage. But I can raise my spiritual eyes to a good Power, whom I acknowledge, and this good Power then helps me, and I can then lead up again what is deteriorating. This Power to whom I can look up can give me hope for further development'. The Iranian identified this Power with Ahura Mazdao, and he said to himself: ‘Everything a man can do to ennoble the forces of Nature, to elevate them, can be done, if he will attach himself to Ahura Mazdao, to the power of Ormuzd. Ormuzd is an ascending stream. But if a man leaves Nature as she is, then everything becomes a wilderness and reverts to savagery. This comes from Ahriman.’ Add now the following mood developed in the Iranian regions: ‘To the north of us many people are going about; they are in the service of Ahriman. They are Ahriman's people, who only roam about gathering what Nature offers them; they will not raise a hand towards the spiritualization of Nature. But we wish to unite ourselves with Ormuzd, Ahura Mazdao.’

So a duality was felt at that time to be rising in the world. Thus it was that the Iranians, the Zarathustra-men felt, and they expressed these feelings in laws or rules. They wished to arrange their life so that eternal law gave, in its expression, the impulse upwards. That was the external result of Zarathustrianism. Here we see the contrast between Iran and Turan.

The profound difference between the Turanians and Iranians explains the war between Ardschasb, king of Turania, and Guschtasb, king of Irania, the protector of Zarathustra, of which occult history gives so many and such precise accounts.

The most important fact to be grasped in this connection is the wonderful and widespread influence of Zarathustra on the soul-life of mankind.

I had in the first place to describe the nature, the whole milieu, within which Zarathustra was placed; for you are aware that the individual who incarnated in the blood which passed from Abraham through three times fourteen generations, and who appears in the Gospel of Matthew as Jesus of Nazareth, was the Zarathustra individuality. He is met with here for the first time in post-Atlantean times, and we are faced with the question: ‘Why was the blood which flowed through the generations from Abraham in Asia Minor best suited for the subsequent return of Zarathustra in bodily form?’ For one of the subsequent incarnations of Zarathustra is that of Jesus of Nazareth. Before this question is asked it was necessary to ask and answer another regarding his special essence, the essence which found expression in this blood. In Zarathustra this special essence which incarnated in the blood of the Hebrew people is to be found.

In the next lecture we will explain why it must be precisely from this blood, from this race, that Zarathustra drew his bodily nature.