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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Rudolf Steiner

Steiner Portrait

During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the Austrian-born Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) became a respected and well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, particularly known for his work on Goethe's scientific writings. After the turn of the century, he began to develop his earlier philosophical principles into an approach to methodical research of psychological and spiritual phenomena.

His multi-faceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, science, education (Waldorf schools), special education, philosophy, religion, economics, agriculture (Bio-Dynamic method), architecture, drama, the new art of eurythmy, and other fields. In 1925 he founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world.

Read a longer version by Michael Wilson (from the introduction to The Philosophy of Freedom).

Getting Started

With twenty-seven books and thousands of lectures to choose from, it can be daunting to dive into this material.

Start with Steiner's five basic books.

Rudolf Steiner intended these carefully written volumes to serve as a foundation to all of the later, more advanced anthroposophical writings and lecture courses.

We recommend the following approach:

  1. Start with Theosophy and Knowledge of Higher Worlds.
  2. Look through the many lectures for topics that pique your interest. Lectures numbered 95-125 are good ones with which to start.
  3. Once you have got your bearings be sure to read Steiner's other seminal books: Occult Science, The Philosophy of Freedom and Christianity as a Mystical Fact.

You may then wish to turn to the following collection of fifty select lectures to provide an overview of Steiner's work.

Adolph Arenson's Top 50 Lecture Cycles

In 1930 Adolph Arenson published his monumental three-volume concordance titled Ein Führer Durch die Vortragszyklen Rudolf Steiners (1–50) — “A Guide to the Lecture Cycles of Rudolf Steiner (1–50)” (Berlin, Selbstverlag, Not Translated). This work — now out of print and exceedingly rare — is of the greatest aid to the student who can read German. Works presented here are those lecture cycles in the Arenson 1–50 which have been translated into English.