[RSArchive Icon]
Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib

The Christmas Conference

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

Highlight Words

The Christmas Conference

On-line since: 21st December, 2008


by Marie Steiner to
the First German Edition of 1944

THE WORK that now began, without the interruption of even a single day, was at first devoted to medical knowledge; its scientific aspect had to be filled full of genuine spiritual forces; the esoteric work for which the younger doctors were so intensely striving had to be deepened, so that the loving will and the healing will that requires so much selflessness in the practice of caring for the sick could be unfolded.

On 2 January 1924 the third of the lectures to doctors was given. [ Note 81 ] And also on 2 January the course of eight lectures [ Note 82 ] to younger doctors and medical students began; it continued till 9 January.

The evening lectures brought contemplations of the destinies of inner spiritual life between the ninth and the end of the twelfth century. Rosicrucianism and Modern Initiation is the title of the cycle running from 4 to 13 January. [ Note 83 ] In the final lecture we are led from the principle of Rosicrucian initiation up to the mystery of modern initiation and the beginning of the Age of Michael. A lecture given to members on 18 January [ Note 84 ] is of particular importance. It gives a concise account of the coming into being of the Anthroposophical Society, from its beginnings, through the war years and right up to the completion of the building in Dornach. In opposition to the institutions being founded chiefly in Stuttgart, and to the work of scientists who join the Society in considerable numbers, there arises the will to destroy it held by a well-organized coalition of opponents. The gauntlet is thrown down when the Goetheanum is burnt to the ground, and finally we come, in view of the newly created world situation to the new founding of the Society as the General Anthroposophical Society.

The question now demanding an answer of us is: How can Anthroposophy be represented before the world? That lecture of 18 January culminates in this question. It also gives us a greater understanding of the coming inauguration of the Classes. And in order to provide a firm basis for the spiritual schooling to be striven for, nine lectures give new aspects of a deeper penetration into the nature of Anthroposophy, made possible only by the work of many years, under the modest title of Anthroposophy — an Introduction. [ Note 85 ]

At the same time in Das Goetheanum began the series of what came to be called Dr Steiner's Letters to Members. In these he endeavoured to awaken and strengthen people's sense of responsibility for the forming of the life of the Society and of what went on in the different branches. They have recently been republished in the little book Life, Nature, and Cultivation of Anthroposophy. [ Note 86 ] From this foundation Dr Steiner goes on to what he describes as the special fields of the different Sections at the Goetheanum. In the first few essays, under the title ‘The School of Spiritual Science’, he turns first to the promotion of the medical work with which he was at that time particularly concerned. Then he goes on to the tasks of the young people who search with such yearning for a spiritual view of the world. The perennial conflict between the generations, particularly strong at the time, is thoroughly examined. Youthful impetuosity, now emerging to the full rather exuberantly and immaturely amid the strife within the Society, is given an orderly field of work in the newly to be founded Section ‘for the Spiritual Striving of Youth’. There follow other brief discussions.

Since a new edition of these essays has been long awaited, this seemed the appropriate moment to bring it out as a continuation of the proceedings of the Christmas Foundation Conference. So the next private publication under the title of The Constitution of the School of Spiritual Science [ Note 87 ] will contain in the main those essays as well as Dr Steiner's lectures of 18 and 30 January and an address given on 3 February. They treat of questions of dividing up the School into Sections and of the special significance of belonging to the Class.

Last Modified: 03-Sep-2020
The Rudolf Steiner Archive is maintained by:
The e.Librarian: elibrarian@elib.com

Donate Now