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At the Gates of Spiritual Science

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

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

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At the Gates of Spiritual Science

On-line since: 15th June, 2008


In The Story of my Life Rudolf Steiner describes how at the turn of the century he was invited to give lectures to members of the Theosophical Society. “I explained that I could speak only of what lived in me as Spiritual Science.” Within the German Section of that Society — founded soon after the lectures began — “I was able to expound my anthroposophical activity to constantly increasing audiences. No-one was left in any doubt that I was going to bring before the Theosophical Society only the results of my own clairvoyant research.”

The lectures given in the winter of 1900–1901 were assembled by Rudolf Steiner in the book Mysticism and Modern Thought. He had given in them only the fruits of his own spiritual vision, and these were accepted in the Theosophical Society. “In addressing the theosophical public, which was then the only available public and was continually searching for knowledge of the spirit, there was no longer any reason for me not to present this knowledge in my own way. I subscribed to no sectarian dogma; I remained an individual who believed he was able to speak of what he had himself experienced as the spiritual world.”

This independence — combined with symptoms of decline in the Theosophical Society at that time — led to the expulsion of the German Section in 1913. “We were obliged to found the Anthroposophical Society as an independent body.”

Hence the terms “Theosophy” and “theosophical” in these lectures should be understood as applying to the results of Rudolf Steiner's own spiritual-scientific research — results for which he otherwise used the terms “Anthroposophy” and “anthroposophical.”

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