be attached solely to the mutual exchange between individuals. It is irrelevant
whether someone is a Jew or a German ... This is so obvious that one feels
stupid even putting it into words. So how stupid must one be to assert
Aufsätze zur Kultur- und Zeitgeschichte 1887-1901 (Collected essays)
(GA 31), Dornach 1989, September 1897.
be openly present in a large number of people as an attitude, a way of
thinking, not any more covered up or hidden. The evil ones will praise
the evil as something especially valuable. A certain sensual pleasure in
this evil, this demony ... can already be seen in many people ...
Nietzsche's 'blond beast' is for example only a spectral premonition, pointing
What was Steiner's view of Jewry
and Judaism and their role in human culture, and how is Judaism treated
in Waldorf education and Waldorf schools?
The Temple Legend (GA 93), London 1985, a lecture 11 Nov 1904 in Berlin
THE MAIN POST-GLACIAL CULTURES OF HUMANITY ORIGINATE WITH NOAH
Rudolf Steiner described
a group of "original Semites" from the time preceding the last glacial
age, as the origin of the main post-glacial cultures. In his view,
the end of the last glacial age -- some 8,000 B.C. -- is the time that
is reflected in the myth of the great Flood, or the great Deluge.
While other groups of people
in late "pre-diluvian" times, in Steiner's understanding, still had an
instinctive pictorial clairvoyance, people belonging to the original Semites
had started to lose that faculty and develop the faculty of thought in
a way not found among the other groups of people of the time.
In his view, that made the
original Semites of "pre-diluvian" times its most advanced group. He described
them as the origin of the first high culture of post-glacial or "post-diluvian"
times, developing in Central Asia during the 7th and 6th millennia B.C.
as an original mythical Indian culture. The later (Indian) Vedic scriptures
describe this culture as being inspired and led by someone they refer to
as "Manu", surrounded by the 7 mythical Rishis.
It has for long been assumed
that the historical "Aryans", which one long held theory described as invaders of present day Pakistan and
India around 1,500 B.C. were the origin of both the Indian and a number
of European cultures and languages (the so-called "Indo-European" cultures
Recently the view however
has gradually started to develop, that the "Aryans" in question have a
much older origin than previously assumed. It points to a slowly developing
understanding of the
original mythical Indian culture, some 3,500 - 5,500 years older, which
anthroposophy indicates was the first main post-glacial / "post-diluvian"
culture, under the leadership of the mythical "Manu".
JUDAISM IN ANTHROPOSOPHY
AND WALDORF EDUCATION
Steiner identified the mythical
figure of "Manu" as identical with Noah. Later etymological analysis
of the term "Manu" referred to in the Vedic scriptures, has also identified
this figure as identical with the Noah, whom Genesis describes as
the one who saved and led a number of people from "pre-diluvian" times
to "post-diluvian" / post-glacial times. In his Timaeus and Critias,
Plato places the time of the Flood around 8,500 years B.C. as we would
figure it (see Plato
Prehistorian by Mary Settegast, pp. 15-20).
In the identification of
Noah as Manu, Rudolf Steiner confirmed the description of both
the Vedic scriptures and Genesis as reflecting a reality, which in his
view, was the common origin of the later Semitic and the Indo-European
peoples and cultures. In special lectures, he described the depth and importance
of Genesis (The Secrets of the Biblical Description of Creation. GA 122).
During the beginning of the
20th century, Rudolf Steiner worked within the theosophical tradition.
The theosophical tradition long before the time of Steiner described human
evolution, in connection with the development of our present solar system,
in terms of the formation of a number of successive "root races". The theosophical
notion of "root races" probably arose out of an obsession with the concept
of "race" and "races", which was prevalent during the latter part of the
With regard to the development
of humanity since the last glacial age, theosophy describes this post-glacial
phase as the "Aryan root race". From a present post-Holocaust perspective,
this terminology can seem automatically to implicate an anti-Semitic stance
in anyone using the term.
That is not the case with
Rudolf Steiner, who early on criticized
the use of the concepts "root race" and "sub races of root races" in the
theosophical tradition to describe the development of humanity, and
characterized the use of these terms as a "childhood illness" of the theosophical
the development of humanity in connection with the development of our present
solar system is not described in terms of "root races", but with the term
"Earth epochs", and the development of humanity during post-glacial
times in this long-term perspective is described as the fifth "Earth epoch"
or with the terms the "post-Atlantean epoch" or the "post-Atlantean
For more on this, see here.
In contrast to the seeming
anti-Semitic stance connected with the theosophical terms "root race" and
"Aryan root race", Steiner held a number of lectures, both during his time
as General Secretary of the German branch of the Theosophical Society 1902-1912,
and later within the framework of the Anthroposophical Society, describing
and commenting on the depth and importance of the Hebrew tradition as such,
as the basis of the development of Christianity and beyond.
In these lectures he points
to the importance of Abraham and the continuing importance of Moses
as something that did not end in the past, but will continue into the future.
Furthermore, around the turn of the 20th century, he was deeply and actively
engaged in the Berlin "Association
As integrated or assimilated
as a part of other cultures and nations, people of Jewish origin have,
for two millennia, played an important role in the development of these
cultures and have made an essential contribution to the development of
a universal humanity.
As in human culture in general,
people of Jewish origin have also played a prominent and central part in
the founding of anthroposophy, the first Waldorf school, the Waldorf movement
and the anthroposophical movement world wide, and for more than 90 years
have played and continue to play an important and central part in the development
of anthroposophy and Waldorf education.
At the suggestion of Rudolf
Steiner, Waldorf education pays more attention to the Jewish tradition
than probably any
other form of education which is not explicitly Jewish. The Torah and the
drama it describes as the origin and development the Hebrew culture is
a main subject in grade 3, preceding the description of Nordic mythology
in grade 4 and Greek mythology in grade 5.
One motive for this is to
support and provide the pupils with the picture of the caring God Father
given in the Torah, as a pedagogical therapeutic tool in relation to the
crises of students at this age (around 9) in relation to the world.
With the advent of Christianity
and the subsequent Diaspora,
people of Jewish origin,
belonging to one of the most developed cultures of humanity, have been
central in contributing to the development of other cultures and a consciousness
that not is bound to a specific race or nation, but that is cosmopolitan.
The view by the Nazis that
people of Jewish origin, because of their origin, not should be respected
and have full citizen rights in any country -- as also the opposite view,
that only people of Jewish or other origin, because of their
origin, should have or be able to get full citizen rights in a country
-- are both expressions of a thinking in terms of ethnicity and nationality
that belongs to the past, not the future.
National Socialism developed
as a perversion of a number of cultural impulses and traditions. To these
belong the understanding of evolution as viewed both from the perspective
of natural scientific evolutionary theory and from the perspective of the
esoteric tradition. Anti-Semitism and racism are the most odious results
of these perverted impulses.
National Socialism also developed
as a perversion of the understanding of the relation between the individual
and the state, as developed by the German philosopher Hegel, in a similar
way that the Hegelian philosophy was perverted by State Socialist philosophies
in the East.
One of the forms of perversion
developed by Nazism was an outdated cultivation and worship of "the Nordic
hero" with ritual and half-magical means, based on a reenlivening of an
outdated instinctual clairvoyance of the past.
rejects and condemns everything that Nazism developed in these contexts.
Nazism constituted a total
perversion of the cultural development of humanity and the meaning of the
concept "human", and made the Jewish people into the victims of this perversion
in the Holocaust,
to an extent that has few counterparts in history with its estimated 6
rejects every form of racism and anti-Semitism, including the white Aryan
supremacy propagated by National Socialism and its later offshoots, and
membership in the Anthroposophical Society is incompatible with membership
in any organization advocating nationalist or racist ideals.
For more, see
2004: Robert Mays and Sune Nordwall