The quest for an experience
of the Christ Forces lives in countless human souls today. Christianity
can speak to every human heart and to every level of understanding from
childlike devotion to loftiest regions of philosophical life. It
was so in history and is still true today.
In hundreds of lectures
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) has spoken from ever new aspects of this
central theme of human life and evolution. The eight lectures published
here in a new translation (the last two for the first time) were given
during the Christmas season 1918/19 to members of the Anthroposophical
Society in Switzerland. Some of the illustrative material was drawn
from events of that time at the close of World War I.
As always, Rudolf Steiner
spoke freely without using notes. Most of his audience had studied —
or were at least familiar with — his written works and the published
lecture cycles on the Gospels and related themes. A similar background
will be needed for reading How Can Mankind Find the Christ Again?
Such a background will prepare the reader for challenges and vistas
not encountered elsewhere. Steiner's message of the new Christ Light
midst the shadow existence of our age speaks to the modern soul in search
of a cognitive reach.
Readers who have wrestled
with Christ themes on that level and are willing to study this text,
consciously kept difficult and low-key, will find here themes spanning
the past, present and future of mankind. No other thinker of any age
has opened up for modern man such a wealth and depth of insight. As
a herald of the new Christ revelation, Rudolf Steiner is practically
unknown; so pervasive are the shadows of our age. They obscure even
the light of recognition.
For students of Rudolf
Steiner's work it should be noted that the last lecture in this series,
published here in English for the first time, is unique and frequently
noted. Livingness in thinking rather than an amassing and combining of
information — this actual shaping of thoughts in an organic way
(Ideegestaltung) — has been an ever present challenge.
This livingness with its formative character is a manifestation of forces
newly available to human beings. It has been evident in all of Rudolf
Steiner's contributions: in his architectural and sculptural forms and
in his unique style of developing thoughts in speaking and writing.
Our activity of thinking,
that least observed element of the human soul, today perpetuates habits
of past periods in history. Our heritage from Greek, Hebrew, and Roman
cultures and the analytic rationalism of Arabism and the Enlightenment
— for all their wonder and intellectual achievement — has
led to a worldwide cultural impasse. Without a radical change, a
transformation in the very way people form their thoughts, without a
permeation by that new life embodied in the Christ-Idea — all hope
for a renewal of human civilization ends. For readers endowed with a
feeling for reality, the urgency of Rudolf Steiner's message will ring
Spring Valley, N.Y., 1984