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Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

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  • Detlef Hardorp
    Hello dear A-T members, I have just read Peter Staudenmaier s introductory mail and want to comment on one thing (which is why I just joined the list today).
    Message 1 of 67 , Feb 23, 2004
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      Hello dear A-T members,
       
      I have just read Peter Staudenmaier's introductory mail and want to comment on one thing (which is why I just joined the list today).  It concerns an ERROR OF TRANSLATION in the infamous Steiner quote of 1888. The error is also on the PLANS website: A negation is missing in the first sentence!  Here it is in German (the "_nichts_" in red was omitted in the PLANS translation): 
       
      „Es ist gewiss nicht zu leugnen, dass heute das Judentum noch
      immer als geschlossenes Ganzes auftritt und als solches in die
      Entwickelung unserer gegenwärtigen Zustände vielfach eingegriffen
      hat, und das in einer Weise, die den abendländischen Kulturideen
      _nichts_ weniger als günstig war. Das Judentum als solches hat
      sich aber längst ausgelebt, hat keine Berechtigung innerhalb des
      modernen Völkerlebens, und dass es sich dennoch erhalten hat, ist
      ein Fehler der Weltgeschichte, dessen Folgen nicht ausbleiben
      konnten.“
       
      In English, this is correctly translated as follows:
       
      “It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a self-contained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was _nothing_ less than favorable to Western cultural ideas. But Jewry as such has outlived itself and has no justification within the modern life of nations. The fact that it nevertheless has been preserved is a mistake of world history which could not fail to have consequences.”
       
      (You can find the correct translation on page 53 of the pdf file at
       
      Some more general comments:
       
      The second sentence remains open to misinterpretation and problematic.  But the juxtaposition is important!  Steiner's thinking is not linear, but dialectic.  He also makes the following unequivocal statement in the same essay:  “But the Jews need Europe and Europe needs the Jews”, which doesn't exactly put him in the ball park of the third Reich.
       
      These passages were written by the 27 year old Steiner in a literary magazine in a review of Hamerling's "Homunculus".  Steiner is supporting Hamerling against other critics.  It is not always clear where Steiner is defending ideas of Hamerling and where they are his own.  But it is quite clear that Steiner favored assimilation and did not think much of the Zionist movement, which he saw as coming about as a reaction to anti-Semitism.  
       
      It must, of course, always be remembered that this was all before the advent of the Holocaust.  No one can say how Steiner would have viewed the situation had he lived until 1945 or 1948.
       
      Still: Steiner's second sentence remains problematic.  But it must be seen in light of the first, i.e. that Jewry "has often intervened in the development
      of our present conditions in a way that was _nothing_ less than favorable to Western cultural ideas."  And it still does!   If you look at cultural development in West and East alike: much of it is inspired and comes to life through the Jewish element!
       
      As much as I am personally in favour of assimilation: let's not overdo it.  Cultural diversity is an asset that will and should not get totally leveled out through assimilation.  The importance of individual impulses will certainly increase in future.  But other impulses (including the Jewish) will remain.  It has already survived for thousands of years, it is here to stay for some time to come.  That's great, because I love it! 
       
      Detlef Hardorp


      ***************************************

      Subject: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] agreement and disagreement
      Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2004 22:16:34 +0100 (CET)
      From: Peter Staudenmaier <pstauden@...>
      Reply-To: anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com
      To: anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com


      Hello anthroposophy tomorrow list,

      I've just joined your list today (....)

      In closing, for now I would like to offer several quotes from Steiner's
      published works on the topic, chosen from the three phases I outlined
      above:

      "It certainly cannot be denied that Jewry today still behaves as a
      closed totality, and that it has frequently intervened in the
      development of our current state of affairs in a way that is anything
      but favorable to European ideas of culture. But Jewry as such has long
      since outlived its time; it has no more justification within the modern
      life of peoples, and the fact that it continues to exist is a mistake of
      world history whose consequences are unavoidable. We do not mean the
      forms of the Jewish religion alone, but above all the spirit of Jewry,
      the Jewish way of thinking."

      (Steiner in 1888: Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Literatur 1884-1902 p. 152)

       
    • Peter Staudenmaier
      Hi Daniel, you wrote: You have stated publicly that if Ralf Sonnenberg reverses his opinion, so would you. Perhaps I should have a talk with Ralf. That would
      Message 67 of 67 , Mar 1, 2004
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        Hi Daniel, you wrote:

        "You have stated publicly that if Ralf Sonnenberg reverses his opinion, so would you. Perhaps I should have a talk with Ralf."
         
        That would be great! Please do so, and report back to the list if you could. Thanks very much,
         
        Peter
         
         

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