Anthroposophy is a human oriented spiritual philosophy that reflects and speaks to the basic deep spiritual questions of humanity, to our basic artistic needs, to the need to relate to the world out of a scientific attitude of mind, and to the need to develop a relation to the world in complete freedom and based on completely individual judgments and decisions.

A more detailed description would possibly point to four basic aspects and levels of anthroposophy:

1. Anthroposophy is a spiritual philosophy, mainly developed by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. It is born out of a philosophy of freedom, living at the core of anthroposophy. For more on anthroposophy and Rudolf Steiner from this perspective, see here, here and here.

2. It is a path of knowledge or spiritual research, developed on the basis of European idealistic philosophy, rooted in the philosophies of Aristotle, Plato, and Thomas Aquinas. It is primarily defined by its method of research, and secondly by the possible knowledge or experiences this leads to.

From this perspective, anthroposophy can also be called spiritual science. As such, it is an effort to develop not only natural scientific, but also a spiritual scientific research on the basis of the idealistic tradition, in the spirit of the historical strivings, that have led to the development of modern science.

On this basis, anthroposophy strives to bridge the clefts that have developed since the Middle Ages between the sciences, the arts and the religious strivings of man as the three main areas of human culture, and build the foundation for a synthesis of them for the future.

The central organization for the cultivation of this in connection with anthroposophy is a School of Spiritual Science, having a center at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. For more on anthroposophy from this perspective, see here and here.

For a discussion of some aspects of the relation between Natural Science and Spiritual Science, from the perspective of the general concept of Science and the Philosophy of Science, see here.

3. Anthroposophy also is an impulse to nurture the life of the soul in the individual and in human society, meaning among other things to nurture the respect for and interest in others on a purely human basis independently of their origin and views.

The main organization for this is the Anthroposophical Society, which exists in a world wide form, as national Anthroposophical Societies, and as groups formed on the basis of subject. For more on this, see here. For the anthroposophical societies in the US and the UK, see here and here.

4. While rooted in a philosophy of freedom, developed as a method of spiritual research and an impulse to nurture a purely human interest in other people, it also has possible practical implications and as such lives as applied or practical anthroposophy in various "daughter movements" of anthroposophy.

The most developed of these daughter movements of anthroposophy are biodynamic farming, Waldorf schools (see European Council for Steiner Waldorf Schools and the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America for the largest Waldorf schools associations), anthroposophical curative education (see European Co-operation in Anthroposophical Curative Education and Social Therapy and the Camphill Association of North America) and anthroposophical medicine.

The main organization originally built for the cooperation between anthroposophical organizations, institutions and companies is the civil association General Anthroposophical Society, having a center in Dornach, Switzerland. The corresponding organization in the U.S. is the Council of Anthroposophical Organizations.

More on anthroposophy:

Rudolf Steiner
On anthroposophy

Jean Yeager
Is anthroposophy a religion?

Rudolf Steiner
Is anthroposophy a religious faith?

Wikipedia on

For more, see the Rudolf Steiner Archive and the Steiner on-line library. Amazon.com lists appr. 2,300 works (April 2014) for a search on 'anthroposophy'.

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Copyright 2004-2014: Robert Mays and Sune Nordwall