Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib
Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha
Building Stones: Synopses
On-line since: 31st August, 2008
of the following synopses is to facilitate reference to the
particular themes dealt with in the lectures.
urgent need today to develop concepts and ideas that
are rooted in reality. An illustration from the story
of Cardinal Acton and the papal fund. The book
Christianity As Mystical Fact
a first attempt
to interpret the Mystery of Golgotha from a spiritual
standpoint. The origin of the Gospel teachings to be
found in the ancient Mysteries. The problem of the
dating of the Gospels. The accepted view of their late
provenance refuted by the story of Rabbi Gamaliel II.
The Mystery of Golgotha cannot be understood without a
knowledge of the tripartite division of man. With the
loss of the old clairvoyance it was no longer possible
to interpret ancient texts. Saint-Martin still spoke
out of traditional insights or
attempts to preserve knowledge of the tripartite
division of man in Gnosticism. Romanism opposed to
knowledge of the spirit and the abolition of the spirit
was decreed by the eighth Ecumenical Council of 869. A
turning point in the history of Western thought. The
schism between the Eastern Church and the Roman Church
evidence that knowledge of the spirit was lost.
Philosophy, e.g. Wundt, and natural science only
accepted the dichotomy of man. Forces are now preparing
to abolish the soul — Marx and Engels see the
soul as a superstructure erected on the foundation of
material processes. Natural science regards belief in
the soul as an outmoded superstition.
Mystery teachings in Palestine were a preparation for
the Mystery of Golgotha. Sadducees attempted to
suppress this knowledge. Hence Roman wars of first
century directed to extermination of Jews and those
associated with Mystery teachings. The need today to
awaken man to the spirit in order to combat the
materialism to which he has succumbed, e.g.
27th March, 1917
idea of the trichotomy of man necessary for an
understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha.
Aristotle's views on the nature of the soul
— one part tied to physical body and is the
by-product of parental inheritance. The spiritual part
of the soul (the “Active Reason”)
participates in the “nous” and is immortal.
Mediaeval philosophy and to some extent Christian
philosophy today dominated by Aristotelianism.
Brentano's attempt to interpret Aristotle.
Concluded that Aristotle rejected palingenesis had
therefore had to accept creationism and post-existence.
Brentano concurred with Aristotle.
Originally man had direct experience of the spirit,
through the Mysteries. Belief that the Christian Easter
Mystery was a transference of Pagan ritual to the
person of Jesus. Danger of identifying Pagan Mystery
Cults with Christian festivals, e.g. the Phrygian
Easter festival (the Attis Cult).
Original conception (based on primordial wisdom) of
difference between the animal and human organisms.
Former bears within it the seeds of death; latter not
originally ordained to die. “Man not born to die,
yet dies” — the answer of the Mysteries to
this enigma; knew that man had become mortal through a
moral defect, not as the consequence of natural law.
The soul had corrupted the body and was the seat of
mortality. If evolution were to continue unchanged,
souls would be lost. Need for Earth to receive a new
impulse. This the Christ incarnation. Hence Mystery of
Golgotha central point in human evolution. The
Crucifixion, a heinous crime, the source of man's
salvation! Christ died to redeem the souls of men; His
mission to bring man back to God, to transform human
nature and make it one with the divine nature.
3rd April, 1917
Christ cannot be discovered through mysticism or
philosophy. The difference between faith and knowledge.
Faith as a positive force exemplified in the healing of
Jairus’ daughter. The transference of power from
one person to another by Christ. Only initiates had
knowledge of this.
the Baptist and baptism with water. Through total
immersion the etheric body was loosened, leading to a
temporary clairvoyance. John the Baptist sought to
transpose the candidate for baptism into the condition
of consciousness of the time before the Fall, to return
to the age of innocence. The need to withdraw from the
world. John the Baptist as anchorite: by withdrawal
from the world man is saved from the consequences of
the Fall. Christ baptized with the Holy Ghost. He
wished man to remain in the world and yet participate
in the Kingdon of Heaven.
different purposes of the four Gospels. Christ brings a
new impulse, first recognized by the devils He had
healed. The magic power of Christ's words. He
committed nothing to writing. Reasons for this.
Recapitulation of the tripartite division of man. The
three paths leading to the Spirit. Atheism as sickness
of the soul, denial of Christ as misfortune of the
soul, and denial of the Spirit as deception of the
and the moral world order. Moral ideas emasculated
today; through Christ they become a concrete force in
the world. Faith must lift our moral ideas to a new
plane, The Christ Being prepares the coming Jupiter
condition. The Mystery of Golgotha brings a new impulse
in preparation for the Jupiter evolution. Christ will
redeem the corruption of man's soul, the source
of his mortality. The resurrection of the body at the
end of time made possible by the Mystery of
10th April, 1917
and belief as positive forces. Botany and moral
judgements. Goethe-Schiller meeting and the archetypal
plant. Schelvers’ view on plant reproduction:
a-sexual reproduction the natural process. Goethe
deplores emphasis on sexual reproduction in plant
kingdom. The plant kingdom and kingdom of cold-blooded
animals unable to fulfil their original poten.
tialities. Deterioration in the kingdoms of nature due
to man who succumbed to the Luciferic temptation.
Thinking involved in the Fall. Language before the Fall
— the “lost word”. The relation
between respiration and metabolism. In the sixth epoch
those who believe in moral standards will be treated
medically. The State will determine moral values. In
the sixth and seventh epochs the method of reproduction
will be transformed. Women will become sterile.
appearance of the etheric Christ in the present
century. The Christ Impulse in world evolution. Need
for faith; morality stems from faith. The courage
necessary to unite the kingdom of the world and the
Kingdom of Heaven. Mystery of Golgotha must be
incorporated again in the whole cosmic order.
12th April, 1917
Grimm and the modern approach to history. Sees Christ
as the pivot of the historical development of mankind.
The centuries before and after the Mystery of Golgotha
not understood today.
and botany. His perception of the “Idea”
behind phenomena, of the spirit present in the plant
kingdom. His objection to the naturalism of Haller and
Schopenhauer's view that the perception of light
and colour is subjective. Approved of Schelver's
belief that plant reproduction was originally a-sexual.
In nineteenth century perception was limited to the
sensible world, hence loss of spiritual vision.
Rationalism leads to the death of creative Imagination.
Hunzinger's book — history a closed book;
man cannot penetrate to the inner life of the spirit.
The Baptist's words — the need to change
our “attitude of mind”.
Mysteries the neophyte was initiated into the secrets
of nature. The teachings given only to those worthy of
them. Imperial Rome unveiled the Mystery teachings.
Caligula and Nero fully initiated. The secrets of
waking consciousness and sleep consciousness taught in
the Mysteries. Caligula was only able to communicate
with the Moon Gods, hence his judgements were without
moral values. Nero the first psychoanalyst. He knew
that the old order was doomed, that a new turning-point
in evolution had been reached. His obsessive fear. His
determination to set fire to Rome and ultimately to
destroy the whole world.
teaching of history in schools ignores the full
significance of the Crucifixion. A quotation from
Barris — Christianity adapted to meet the needs
of modern society. The need to study history in depth
and to learn to winnow the chaff from the grain.
14th April, 1917
of today a continuation of events in the early years of
Christianity. The Roman emperors, initiated by Imperial
decree, gained limited knowledge of cosmic events. They
had a presentiment that the advent of Christ was a
turning-point in human evolution. The policy of
Tiberius to merge pagan Mystery teachings with the
Mystery cult of the Roman Empire, failed; also the
policy of Hadrian.
Quotation from Philo — the need “to give
heed to the ancestry of the soul and to ignore temporal
things”. Barrès quoted again.
Christian teaching conflicted with the fundamental
principles of the Roman empire. Licinius’
decision to challenge Christianity. Organized a public
festival at Heliopolis to ridicule baptism.
Result — the actor, Gelasinus, becomes a convinced
Sibylline Oracles predict the downfall of Rome. Nero
sets fire to Rome. Constantine the Great, aware of the
prophecy of the Sibylline Oracle, wished to combine his
brand of Christianity with the ancient Mysteries and
thus deny Christianity to the public. The mission of
Christianity was to unveil the Mysteries. Survival of
the spirit of Rome in jurisprudence, etc; Constantine
knew of the existence of a primordial wisdom which had
been preserved in Troy by initiate-priests. His
decision to transfer the capital to Byzantium.
Pallas Athene as the
symbol of ancient wisdom. The legend of the Palladium.
The spiritual impulses in Constantine and early
Christianity have influenced the cultural development
of the West.
17th April, 1917
Importance of Julian the Apostate for the historical
evolution of the West. His early life. The failure of
his Christian education on account of his lively
interest in Greek culture and neo-Platonic teachings.
Initiated into Eleusinian Mysteries: aware of the
ancient Sun mystery. Wisdom of ancient times still
known to Julian. His wish to preserve the continuity of
the ancient pagan Mysteries. Rome promulgated laws
against the celebration of pagan rites. Julian forbids
teachers in the schools and universities, who did not
believe in the ancient Gods, to expound ancient
writings. His plan to continue pagan Mystery teachings
Augustine and Manichaeism. Survival of this doctrine in
the Faust legend. “Manushya” describes the
spiritual aspect of man, “anthropos” the
psychic aspect and “homo” the corporeal
aspect. Julian seeks initiation into the Persian
Mysteries — this the real aim of his military
campaign. Dewar's lecture before the Royal
Institution. Scientific concepts only valid between
“mystical marriage” and “chymical
marriage”. Assassination of Julian. Triumph of
abstract thinking, e.g. Kant's “Critique of
Pure Reason”. Julian's polemic against
Christianity anticipated the criticisms of liberal
nineteenth-century theology. Julian attempted to ensure
continuity of pagan Mysteries by a revival of
Manichaeism. Unable in his time to reconcile old
principle of Initiation with Christianity. Reactions of
Cato and Machiavelli to spiritual knowledge. Drach
suggested dogma and ritual of Roman Church a revival of
paganism — concealed from the faithful. If the
Mass a pagan sacrifice then Julian's purpose to
some extent achieved.
19th April, 1917
need for spiritual knowledge to understand the Mystery
of Golgotha. The persistence of pagan cults at this
time. Temple statues and local shrines as symbols of
spiritual impulses behind the Mysteries. Destruction of
pagan temples and Mysteries by the Church and the Roman
emperors. A portrait of Constantine. The purpose of
animal sacrifices — to restore the old
Mithras Mysteries emphasised self-knowledge from
within, through the physical organism; the Eleusinian
Mysteries self-knowledge from without, through contact
with solar and lunar forces. The sacrament of the Mass
as a continuation (with modifications) of pagan rites,
e.g. ordination, a continuation of ancient principle of
Difficulty of understanding ancient writers, e.g.
Aristotle, with modern cognition. Franz
Brentano's attempt to revive Aristotelianism.
mystical path leads to inner solitude which becomes a
potent force leading to the inner experience of Christ.
The need to overcome the world and ties of the blood in
order to establish spiritual relationships. The idea of
the resurrection as a living reality. It is possible to
have a mystical experience of the Mystery of Golgotha.
In the first century Christ was spiritually present in
the Mysteries in order to reform them. Pagan Mysteries
could not lead to the Christ.
Stoic philosophy and the idea of a league of nations.
This idea revived by Kant. Brooks Adams’ book,
The Law of Civilisation and Decay.
future the power of the spirit must become instinctive
in man. Need to quicken spiritual forces in man. Out of
the spirit new creative possibilities will come.
24th April, 1917
is an urgent need today for new impulses, thoughts and
ideas. Discussion of Kjellen's book The State as
Organism. The lecture then reverts to the history of
the early Church. Its destructiveness. The survival of
pagan rites in the ceremonies of the Church. The
Mithraic Mysteries — the aim was to bring the
neophyte in touch with the group-soul. The need for him
to be in communion with the dead, with the ancestral
spirit. The “Raven”, the first stage of
initiation and its relation to the legends of
Barbarossa and Charles the Great. The six other stages
of initiation and their function.
Nietzsche's will to power and the transvaluation
of values. The lecture then reverts to Kjellen and his
central theme. The false analogy between the cells of
the human organism and the cells of the State.
social order must have a spiritual basis. Freedom of
thought and its implications — Men's fear
of spiritual knowledge today. Hermann Bhar and
individualism. His conflicting ideas. He defends the
concealed proselytizing of Scheler. The failure of
reason — truth non-existent. Dehumanization of
man leads to 1914. Bahr's call for a spiritual
renewal, but only through the Catholic Church.
Men's fear of Spiritual Science. Bahr a typical
example. The need for spiritual courage.
Nietzsche's radical views on Christianity.
1st May, 1917
early times the spiritual world was known through
clairvoyance or initiation. Today many believe
spiritual world closed to mankind. Reasons for this.
Much can be learned from the examples of Otto Ludwig
and Swedenborg. Ludwig's inner experience when
composing or reading poetry. Synaesthesia. This not
clairvoyant perception, but a step towards spiritual
vision. Materialism erects barriers against spiritual
vision. Possible to attain this vision through
spiritual training, e.g. exercises in the book
Knowledge of the Higher Worlds.
Swedenborg received spiritual enlightenment at the age
of fifty-five. His views on the interrelation of body
and soul. His “vision” of the disciples of
Aristotle, Descartes and Leibnitz showed that
“spiritual influence” is decisive.
Difference between human evolution before the Mystery
of Golgotha and after the Mystery when immortality
could no longer be known through the body.
Aristotle's idea of immortality. Mankind today
still under the influence of the Conciliar decree of
869, abolishing the spirit.
Julian's rejection of Christianity in the age of
Constantine. His fear of the invasion of social order
by Christianity. Origen and Clement of Alexandria,
though imbued with Greek culture, able to recognize
real significance of the Mystery of Golgotha.
Clement's conception of the Logos. Visible world
a manifestation of the Music of the Spheres. Human form
made in the image of the Logos.
that Spiritual Science implies a revival of ancient
Gnosis. Spiritual Science must participate in the
development of Christianity today. In conflict between
faith and science, faith must be supported by gnosis
and gnosis by love and love by the
of 1914 and failure to diagnose essential causes.
Verworn's book, The Mechanism of Spiritual Life.
Fustel de Coulanges’ view that social
institutions have religious origin. State originally
had spiritual origin. Plato's Dialogues a
continuation of Mystery teachings: aim to prepare soul
to commune with the dead. Christ revealed through inner
of dream experience. Dream picture veils a real
experience of meeting with souls of the dead: not a
memory of everyday life. Dante and spiritual vision.
Quotation from Divine Comedy.
today to bridge gap that separates us from realm where
the dead and the higher Beings dwell and to become
aware of forces today which are hostile to
8th May, 1917
Last Modified: 04-Jul-2018
The Rudolf Steiner Archive is maintained by: