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The Christmas Conference

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

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

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The Christmas Conference

On-line since: 21st December, 2008


The text in German of the lectures, addresses and contributions to discussions made by Rudolf Steiner is recorded in the shorthand report made by the trained stenographist Helene Finckh (1883–1960) and in some cases in her own transcriptions into longhand. The contributions of other participants in the discussions of the Foundation Meeting sessions were not taken down by Helene Finckh but by others. Helene Finckh then included them in her transcriptions into longhand. Contributions in the other discussions were taken down by her.

  1. Facsimile of the Programme. The lectures given by Rudolf Steiner during the Christmas Foundation Conference are published in World History in the Light of Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1977, GA 233.

  2. There is no record of the lectures given by other speakers during the Conference with the exception of Albert Steffen's own record of his lecture Aus der Schicksalsgeschichte des Goetheanums (History and Destiny of the Goetheanum) published in Was in der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft vorgeht. Nachrichten für deren Mitglieder, Vol.l, 1924, Nos. 2 and 3.

    On the Christmas plays performed during the Conference, see Rudolf Steiner Weihnachtspiele aus altem Volkstum. Die Oberuferer Spiele (Ancient Folk Plays for Christmas from Oberufer), Dornach 1981 and Ansprachen zu den Weihnachtspielen aus altem Volkstum (Talks on the Ancient Folk Plays), GA 274.

    The talks introducing the three eurythmy performances which took place during the Conference are included together with the programmes in Rudolf Steiner Eurythmie. Die Offenbarung der sprechenden Seele. Eine Fortbildung der Goetheschen Metamorphosenanschauung im Bereich der menschlichen Bewegung (Eurythmy. Revelation of the Speaking Soul), GA 277.

  3. See Marie Steiner von Sivers: Rudolf Steiner und die Zivilisationsaufgaben der Anthroposophie. Ein Rückblick auf das Jahr 1923 (Rudolf Steiner and the Tasks of Anthroposophy for Civilization. A Review of the Year 1923), Dornach 1943. Planned as GA 259 within the Complete Works.

  4. In 1921 and 1922, the largest German concert agency of the day, Hermann Wolff and Jules Sachs in Berlin, had organized a number of lecture tours for Rudolf Steiner.

  5. In 1894 the ‘Allgemeiner Deutscher Verband’ (General German League), founded in 1891, was renamed ‘Alldeutscher Verband’ (Pan-German League). During World War I this organization advocated exaggeratedly nationalistic aims, and after the war it campaigned for the restitution of the monarchy.

  6. Matthias Erzberger, 1875–1921. German parliamentarian and statesman, leader of the left wing of the Centre party and signatory of the Armistice of World War I. From 1919 to 1920 he was Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister. Assassinated in 1921 by members of a nationalist organization.

  7. Walther Rathenau, 1867–1922. German industrialist and politician. In 1921 appointed Minister of Reconstruction. In 1922 Minister of Foreign Affairs. Assassinated by nationalist fanatics in 1922.

  8. Rudolf Steiner spoke in Munich on 15 May and in Elberfeld on 17 May 1922 on the theme of ‘Anthroposophy and Spiritual Knowledge’. The Munich lecture has been published in Blätter für Anthroposophie, 1966, Nos 11 and 12. The Elberfeld lecture has not been published. On both occasions he had to leave the building by the back stairs and down side streets because of threats to his personal safety.

  9. Major General Gerold von Gleich. In 1921 he published a denunciation of Rudolf Steiner Rudolf Steiner als Prophet, Ein Mahnwort an das deutsche Volk (Rudolf Steiner the Prophet. A Warning to the German Nation). Thereupon his son, Sigismund von Gleich, published a refutation Wahrheit gegen Unwahrheit über Rudolf Steiner. Widerlegung der Hetzschrift des Generalmajors Gerold von Gleich (Truth against Untruth. A Refutation of the Denunciation of Rudolf Steiner by Major General Gerold von Gleich). Published by Der Kommende Tag, Stuttgart, no date.

  10. See Rudolf Steiner Awakening to Community, Anthroposophic Press, New York 1974. GA 257.

  11. Johanna Mücke. See List of Names.

  12. See Correspondence and Documents 1901–1925. Rudolf Steiner and Marie Steiner von Sivers, Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1988. GA 262.

  13. See Rudolf Steiner The Last Address, Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1967. GA 238.

  14. See Rudolf Steiner Rosicrucianism and Modern Initiation, Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1965. GA 233a.

  15. See Rudolf Steiner Anthroposophy — An Introduction, Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1961. GA 234.

  16. See Rudolf Steiner Speech and Drama, Anthroposophical Publishing Company, London 1960, GA 282; Pastoral Medicine, Anthroposophic Press, New York 1987, GA 318; Kursus für die Priester der Christengemeinschaft über die Apokalypse des Johannes (Lectures for the Priests of the Christian Community on the Apocalypse of John), Dornach GA 346 (not available); Karmic Relationships, Volume 4, Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1957, GA 238.

  17. See Rudolf Steiner Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts. Anthroposophy as a Path of Knowledge. The Michael Mystery, Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1973. GA 26.

  18. See Rudolf Steiner The Course of my Life, Anthroposophic Press, New York 1970. GA 28.

  19. Since the destruction of the Goetheanum by fire, it had been necessary to fall back on the old carpentry workshop which had served as a hall for lectures and artistic performances from 1914 onwards.

  20. See Rudolf Steiner Mystery Knowledge and Mystery Centres. Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1973. GA 232.

  21. Reports of these meetings will be included in GA 259. See Note 2.

  22. See Rudolf Steiner Aufbaugedanken und Gesinnungsbildung, Dornach 1942. To be included in the Complete Works in the series ‘Zur Geschichte der anthroposophischen Bewegung und Gesellschaft’ (The History of the Anthroposophical Movement and Society).

  23. Report to be included in GA 259. See Note 2.

  24. See Rudolf Steiner Awakening to Community, op cit.

  25. See Marie Steiner's Foreword. In Was in der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft vorgeht 1926, No.39, she remarked in a footnote: ‘To avoid misunderstandings it should be said that the impression of a heap of rubble was gained entirely from the impossible tax burdens in Germany, the delays in customers' payments and the daily increase in the rate of monetary devaluation. Added to this was the sight of everything packed into a pile of crates. The company's intrinsic worth was such that under normal conditions it soon began to flourish once more.’

  26. See Erich Zimmer Rudolf Steiner als Architekt von Wohn- und Zweckbauten (Rudolf Steiner. An Architect of Dwellings and other Buildings with Specific Purposes), Stuttgart 1971.

  27. It had been necessary to enlarge the carpentry workshop in order to accommodate the influx of participants.

  28. See Rudolf Steiner Zur Geschichte und aus den Inhalten der ersten Abteilung der Esoterischen Schule 1904–1914 (On the History and from the Content of the Esoteric School 1904–1914). GA 264.

  29. See the lecture given in Berlin on 3 February 1913 ‘Das Wesen der Anthroposophie’ in Schickalszeichen auf dem Entwicklungswege der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft to be included in the Complete Works in the series ‘Zur Geschichte der anthroposophischen Bewegung und Gesellschaft’.

  30. Rudolf Steiner's four Mystery Dramas were first performed during the years 1910 to 1913. See Rudolf Steiner Four Mystery Plays, Steiner Book Centre, Toronto, 1973.

  31. Meeting of Delegates at the end of February 1923. See Note 23.

  32. The three objects of the Theosophical Society are:

    1. To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour.
    2. To encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy and science.
    3. To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man.

  33. See Note 2.

  34. See Rudolf Steiner's essay ‘Lebensfragen der theosophischen Gesellschaft’ (Existential Questions for the Theosophical Society) in Luzifer-Gnosis. Gesammelte Aufsätze 1903–1908. (Luzifer-Gnosis. Collected Essays 1903–1908). GA 34.

  35. Rudolf Steiner had had the suggested Statutes printed and distributed to every participant. See Facsimile 2, Page V–VIII.

  36. See Note 27.

  37. This refers to criticism of Anthroposophy expressed by Hans Leisegang (1890&8211;1951), lecturer at Leipzig University, in his book Die Geheirnwissenschaften (The Occult Sciences), Stuttgart 1924.

  38. See Rudolf Steiner/Ita Wegman Fundamentals of Therapy. An Extension of the Art of Healing through Spiritual Knowledge, Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1983. GA 27.

  39. For the first time in the public lecture in Berlin on 15 March 1917 in Rudolf Steiner Geist und Stoff, Leben und Tod (Spirit and Matter, Life and Death). GA 66, and in the chapter ‘Die physischen und die geistigen Abhängigkeiten der Menschenwesenheit’ ‘Physical and Spiritual Dependencies of the Being of Man’ in Rudolf Steiner Von Seelenrätseln (Of the Riddles of the Soul) GA 21.

  40. Annie Besant, 1847–1933. From 1907, following the death of the Founder-President H. S. Olcott, President of the Theosophical Society.

  41. Charles Webster Leadbeater, 1847–1934. Influential colleague of Annie Besant. Inspired the founding of the order ‘Star of the East’.

  42. Wilhelm Windelband, 1848–1915. Philosopher, 1882–1903 professor in Strasbourg.

  43. See lectures in London on 2 and 3 September, Vienna on 2 October and The Hague on 15 and 16 November 1923 in Rudolf Steiner Spiritual Science and the Art of Healing, Anthroposophical Publishing Company, London 1950. GA 319.

  44. See Rudolf Steiner The Tension between East and West, Hodder & Stoughton, London 1963. GA 83.

  45. This designation for the extension built on to the carpentry workshop for the occasion of the Christmas Conference referred to ‘the chilly draught which blew there permanently’ (Ernst Lehrs Gelebte Erwartung, Stuttgart, 1979).

  46. On the basis of a pencil drawing by Rudolf Steiner.

  47. See Rudolf Steiner Die Konstitution der Allgemeinen Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft und der Freien Hochschule für Geisteswissenschaft — Der Wiederaufbau des Goetheanum. GA 260a. Different parts of this collection are available in English under the following titles: Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts, Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1973; The Life, Nature, and Cultivation of Anthroposophy, Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain, London 1975; The Constitution of the School of Spiritual Science, Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain, London 1964.

  48. On 8 December 1923. See Note 22.

  49. See Note 46.

  50. Rudolf Steiner The Philosophy of Freedom, Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1979. This fundamental work was first published in 1894.

  51. Rudolf Steiner never gave a cycle of lectures in Bremen. The shorthand report definitely states ‘Bremen’, but this might have been a mishearing of ‘Berlin’. In 1904 Rudolf Steiner did give a cycle of lectures in Berlin on German mysticism and its precursors. Three of these, on ‘Platonische Mystik und Docta ignorantia’ (Platonic Mysticism and docta ignorantia) are included in Rudolf Steiner Über Philosophie, Geschichte und Literatur. Darstellungen an der Arbeiterbildungsschule und der Freien Hochschule in Berlin 1901 to 1905. (On Philosophy, History and Literature). GA 51. The references made at this point in the Meeting could be taken to refer to these lectures.

  52. See Paragraph 1 of the Statutes.

  53. In Das Goetheanum No. 21 of 30 December 1923 on Rudolf Steiner's relationship to geometry. Now Chapter One of Rudolf Steiner The Course of my Life, op.cit.

  54. Eduard von Hartmann, 1842–1906. Philosophie des Unbewussten. Versuch einer Weltanschauung, (Philosophy of the Unconscious), Berlin 1896. See also Rudolf Steiner The Course of my Life, op.cit. especially Chapter Nine.

  55. See Rudolf Steiner A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception. Fundamental Outlines with Special Reference to Schiller, Anthroposophic Press, New York 1940. GA 2.

  56. See Rudolf Steiner's letters to Marie Steiner-von Sivers of 18 and 20 February 1911 in Correspondence and Documents. Rudolf Steiner and Marie Steiner von Sivers, op cit.

  57. ‘Schulverein für freies Erziehungs- und Unterrichtswesen in der Schweiz’, later ‘Goetheanum-Schulverein’, Dornach. Founded 1922. From 1924, after the Christmas Foundation Conference, under the directorship of Rudolf Steiner.

  58. See Rudolf Steiner Swiss Teachers' Course, Report by Albert Steffen. English text available in typescript only. GA 306.

  59. Meeting of delegates of the Swiss. Anthroposophical Society on 8 December 1923. See Note 22.

  60. See Note 60.

  61. The international meeting of delegates in July 1923. See Note 22.

  62. Andrew Carnegie, 1835–1919. American industrialist. Amassed an enormous fortune the greater part of which he donated for scientific and social work.

  63. See Rudolf Steiner The Anthroposophic Movement. Its History and Life-Conditions in Relation to the Anthroposophical Society, London 1933. GA 258.

  64. Such reports are included in Rudolf Steiner und die Zivilisationsaufgaben der Anthroposophie. See Note 1. For the thirteen lectures given in Penmaenmawr see The Evolution of Consciousness as Revealed through Initiation Knowledge, Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1966. GA 227.

  65. No further information is available.

  66. See Rudolf Steiner Physiologisch-Therapeutisches auf Grundlage der Geisteswissenschaft. Zur Therapie und Hygiene (Physiology and Therapy based on Spiritual Science). GA 314.

  67. See Rudolf Maier's article ‘Über einen durch Anthroposophie gefundenen Zusammenhang zwischen Licht und Magnetismus’ (On a Connection, Discovered through Anthroposophy, between Light and Magnetism) in Gäa Sophia. Jahrbuch der naturwissenschaftlichen Sektion der Freien Hochschule für Geisteswissenschaft am Goetheanum, Dornach 1926.

  68. See Lilly Kolisko Physikalischer Nachweis der Wirksamkeit kleinster Entitäten (Physical Proof of the Working of Microorganisms), Stuttgart 1923.

  69. During the international meeting of delegates in July 1923.

  70. This refers to the articles Das Goetheanum in seinen zehn Jahren (The Goetheanum in the Ten Years of its Life) and Goethe und Goetheanum (Goethe and Goetheanum) written after the burning of the Goetheanum. They review the artistic intentions connected with the first Goetheanum, and look back on the establishment of anthroposophical work. See Rudolf Steiner Der Goetheanumgedanke inmitten der Kulturkrisis der Gegenwart (The Goetheanum Idea amid the Present Cultural Crisis). GA 36.

  71. ‘House Duldeck’ is situated to the south-west of the Goetheanum.

  72. ‘Rudolf Steiner Halde’, north-west wing.

  73. See Rudolf Steiner Die Entstehung und Entwickelung der Eurythmie (The Appearance and Development of Eurythmy). GA 277a.

  74. See Note 46.

  75. Prof. Dr. med. h. c. Alfred Gysi. See List of Names.

  76. Lecture of 31 December 1922 in Rudolf Steiner Man and the World of Stars and the Spiritual Communion of Mankind, Anthroposophic Press, New York 1963. GA 219.

  77. In order to make his name known to posterity, the Ephesian Herostratos set fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus in 356 B.C.

  78. Alexander the Great, 356–326 B.C. From 336 King of Macedonia. Died in Babylon.

  79. See Rudolf Steiner Ways to a New Style in Architecture, Anthroposophic Press, New York 1927. GA 286.

  80. See Rudolf Steiner World History in the Light of Anthroposophy, op. cit.

  81. See Note 3.

  82. See Note 65.

  83. Rudolf Steiner Eight Lectures to Doctors. English text available in typescript only.

  84. See Note 13.

  85. See Note 46.

  86. See Note 14.

  87. See Note 46.

  88. See Note 46.

  89. The second lecture on 12 April 1909 in Rudolf Steiner The Spiritual Hierarchies. Their Reflection in the Physical World. Zodiac, Planets, Cosmos, Anthroposophic Press, New York 1983. (GA 110)

  90. The lecture of 4 April 1912 in Rudolf Steiner The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and in the Kingdoms of Nature, Steiner Book Centre, Toronto 1981.

  91. Lecture of 16 May 1908 in Rudolf Steiner, The Influence of Spiritual Beings upon Man, Anthroposophic Press, New York 1961. (GA 102)


Notes on the Facsimiles

Size of the sheets: 21 x 27.5 cm

Size of the sheet: 28 x 21.7 cm, folded 14 x 21.7 cm

Size of the sheets: approx. 100 x 150 cm
The originals have been preserved because black sheets of paper were attached to the blackboards. The dates were added later.

Facsimile 1 and Facsimile 4, Blackboard XI: in the Goethaneum, Dornach. All the others are held in the archives of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung in Dornach.