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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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From Jesus to Christ
GA 131

In these lectures, Steiner shows how the Mystery of Golgotha can be seen as the pivotal event of human history, and the Gospels as initiation documents that can help us on a path of spiritual development. He demonstrates how the religious streams of Zarathustra and Buddha helped prepare the way for the events of Palestine. Steiner's emphasis is on rediscovering the esoteric path to Christ and of awakening to the new revelation breaking through in our time: Christ as the Lord of Karma.

This book contains many of Steiner's fundamental ideas concerning Christ and should be considered as a foundation for an understanding of Steiner's Christology.

Translated by H. Collison from shorthand notes unrevised by the lecturer. In the Complete Edition of the works of Rudolf Steiner, the original German text is published under the title Von Jesus zu Christus

I. Jesuit and Rosicrucian Training October 05, 1911
Introductory. Two currents of religious thought in recent centuries, Jesuitism and Rosicrucianism. In Jesuitism an exaggeration of the Jesus-principle; in Rosicrucianism a careful preservation of the Christ-principle. Cognition. Conscious soul-life; subconscious soul-life; unknown life in Nature, and in man as part of Nature. The corresponding triad — Spirit, Son and Father. The three domains of the soul — Ideation, Feeling and Will. The inviolable sanctuary of the Will. In Rosicrucian Initiation the Will is affected only through cognition. Jesuit training works directly upon the Will. Outline of Jesuit training.
II. Rosicrucian Training and Anthroposophical Training October 06, 1911
Rosicrucian Initiation, originating in the thirteenth century and developed later, to be carefully distinguished from Theosophy (Anthroposophy), which recognises the ideas of reincarnation and karma. Appearance in Europe of the idea of reincarnation in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Lessing's Education of the Human Race. His approach to the idea of reincarnation contrasted with the Buddhist view. Initiation in the twentieth century, like Rosicrucian Initiation, holds the human Will as sacred. Importance of self-training, moral and mental; effect of exercises. Contrast between Imaginations of Gospel scenes attained in freedom, and Imaginations experienced under constraint, as in the Jesuit system.
III. Sources of Knowledge of Christ, Lord of Karma October 07, 1911
Two sources for knowledge of Christ always accessible to non-clairvoyant man: (a) the Gospels. (b) communications by clairvoyant teachers. A third source is dealt with later in this lecture. In the twentieth century a super-sensible event takes place: Christ becomes the Lord of Karma. Opinions regarding Christ to be corrected by facts. Why Jesus of Nazareth may not be regarded as an Adept. Zarathustra and the Matthew Jesus-child. Descent of the Christ-Being into Jesus of Nazareth. Contrast with the life-experience of a true Adept, Apollonius of Tyana. The Fall of Man and its counterpoise. What if Christ had not entered into human evolution? Views of the philosophers Pascal and Soloviev. Faith through self-knowledge, the third source for exoteric knowledge of Christ.
IV. Experiencing the Christ Impulse, Jerome and the Gospel of St. Matthew October 08, 1911
The three ways of experiencing the Christ-Impulse, recalled. From the twentieth century onwards faith will be replaced, for an increasing number of persons, by direct vision of Christ. Historical Christianity and the Christ Event. Views of Justin Martyr and Augustine. Effect of the Act of Golgotha upon the atmosphere of the earth. Reverent awe of early Christian writers. Patience and humility must characterise the attitude of the seeker after spiritual truth. Importance of a new revision of the Gospels, corrected through reading the Akashic Record. Examples of errors in the authorised translations; Jerome and the Matthew Gospel; consequent misunderstanding of the principles of Christ Jesus.
V. Redemption of the Physical Body October 09, 1911
Much to be learnt before the meaning of the Christ-Impulse can be grasped. Simplicity in the expression of the deepest truths comes from deepest knowledge and longest experience. The-fourfold nature of man; what happens after death to the three sheaths of the Ego. Does the physical body pass away entirely? Answer given by human consciousness at three different epochs of history — Greek, Buddhist, Ancient Hebrew. Redemption of the physical body foreseen by Job.
VI. St. John and St. Paul, First Adam and Second Adam October 10, 1911
Examples of simplest expression of highest truths in writings of John the Apostle and Paul. The Resurrection; modern scientific opinion. Passages from Paul and John examined. Paul and the Event of Damascus. ‘The Risen One’. The ‘first Adam’ and the ‘second Adam’; the physical body and the spiritual body; the primal Form or Phantom of the physical body; Luciferic interference. The physical body of Jesus of Nazareth, the bearer of the Christ-Being.
VII. The Mystery of Golgotha, Greek, Hebrew and Buddhist Thought October 11, 1911
Theosophical ideas have been inadequate, so far, for understanding the Mystery of Golgotha. The three streams of thought recalled — Greek, Buddhist, Hebrew. The Ego in man and the Christ-Being in Jesus of Nazareth. Development of Ego-consciousness in man; the physical body the mirror for thought. Degeneration through Luciferic influence of the physical body, and of the Phantom; the consequences for the intellect and for the Ego-consciousness which was becoming progressively enfeebled up to the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. The perfect Phantom, risen from the grave, multiplies itself like a physical cell and becomes the spiritual body in man. The Mystery of Golgotha the rescue of the Ego-consciousness.
VIII. The Two Jesus Children, Zoroaster and Buddha October 12, 1911
Distinguishing characteristics of the two Jesus-children. Zarathustra and Buddha. The human Ego and the Ego of the Nathan-child. Union of the Ego of Zarathustra with the Nathan-Jesus, from twelfth to thirtieth year. Effects of the presence of the Christ-Being, after the Baptism, upon the Phantom of the physical body of the Nathan-Jesus.
IX. The Exoteric Path to Christ October 13, 1911
The exoteric path to Christ lost under increasing materialism during nineteenth century, though new signs appear in eighteenth and early nineteenth: Oetinger and Rothe. The objective reality of thought could not be grasped; connection of man with the Macrocosm was lost. Highest human ideals were regarded as purely subjective. But there could still be an intuitive feeling that sin was an objective fact and called for an objective act of Redemption. In the Holy Communion — matter interpenetrated with spirit — men found, and can still find, union with Christ.
X. The Esoteric Path to Christ October 14, 1911
The esoteric path to Christ was the path of the Evangelists; the Gospels are written from clairvoyant knowledge. The stages of Christian Initiation. The Appearance of Christ as Lord of Karma a super-sensible event, not an event on the physical plane; relation of individual karma to Earth karma. Importance of preparing oneself during earthly life for the encounter with Christ as Lord of Karma after death. Future teachings: human speech will acquire magical power: the utterance of a moral principle will become a moral impulse in those who hear it. The Bodhisattva of the twentieth century. The Maitreya Buddha, 3,000 years hence, will be a bringer of the Good through the Word. The Redemption-Thought. Conclusion.