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Bashing Steiner

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  • Frank Thomas Smith
    In defence of Rudolf Steiner By NNA correspondent Wolfgang G. Voegele DORNACH (NNA) - In response to recent campaigns against Rudolf Steiner and the Waldorf
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 27, 2008
      In defence of Rudolf Steiner

      By NNA correspondent Wolfgang G. Voegele

      DORNACH (NNA) - In response to recent campaigns against Rudolf Steiner and
      the Waldorf schools, Walter Kugler, director of the Steiner Archive in
      Dornach, Switzerland, has revised, retitled and republished his book
      "Demonising Steiner" (Feindbild Steiner) which first appeared seven years

      "Rudolf Steiner as some see him and others perceive him" is the new
      title of
      the 128-page volume, which is set to correct a range of false
      judgements and
      also offers insiders some new information.

      The chapter "Steiner versus anti-semitism" is one section that has been
      revised and enlarged. Here Kugler shows how much Steiner's comments -
      cause such offence to modern critics - were wholly in line with debates
      common at the time about the assimilation of the Jews.

      For example, reflecting on the nineteenth century the Jewish historian
      Michael A. Meyer wrote in 1994: "Judaism had lost its justification
      it had no intrinsic content enabling it to survive over time [.] According
      to Hegel, Judaism had ceased to possess any world-historical importance."
      This is precisely the same perspective from which Steiner assessed the
      situation of liberal Judaism. The reader learns that similar ideas had
      governed the work of the "Association for Jewish Culture and Science"
      was founded in Berlin as long ago as 1819.

      According to Kugler, critics have also entirely overlooked Steiner's
      articles in the "Journal Against Anti-Semitism" ("Zeitschrift zur
      Abwehr des

      A completely new chapter in the book is entitled "Occultism: Source of the
      Sciences" which, in line with academic studies on esotericism, shows that
      western esotericism and modern science have a common origin. A sentence by
      the well-known American scientist and journalist Russell W. Davenport -
      "Steiner is no more a mystic than Einstein; he was first and foremost a
      scientist, but one who dared penetrate the secrets of life" - is still as
      topical as ever.

      Another new addition to the book is a section citing commentators who see
      Steiner as one of the twentieth century's greatest lateral thinkers. These
      quotations come from renowned writers, art academics and museum directors.

      The core of the book remains largely the same however. It points to
      important facts in Steiner's biography that critics have overlooked or
      intentionally ignored. A new arrangement and better print quality of
      illustrations also enhance the volume's attractiveness.

      The cover depicts a wave rolling on the shore, as symbol for the
      rhythmically recurring attacks on Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy
      which, at
      regular intervals over the past hundred years, have been launched by
      opponents in an effort to defame Steiner and render him the object of
      disapproval. The fact that public interest in objective accounts is
      increasing has not hindered them in their undertaking.

      In his foreword to the expanded edition, Kugler writes that his hope
      for the
      original edition published in 2000 was that public perception of Steiner
      would gradually become more factual. There had been no lack
      information from
      among the ranks of the anthroposophical movement.

      But a certain type of critic, says Kugler, is not really interested in
      clarification and objectivity. This was thoroughly clear from occurrences
      such as false media reports, for instance in the Frankfurter
      newspaper in July 2007, or the application to have some works by
      Steiner put
      on a list of proscribed publications that pose a risk to young people.
      is really going on is still shrouded in darkness, writes Kugler, but he
      suspects that the aim of such activities is to cast the Waldorf
      schools in a
      bad light.

      The Frankfurter Sonntagszeitung printed an entirely false report which
      implied that tendencies to violence in Waldorf schools were greater
      than at
      state schools. The paper never published a correction.

      Kugler does not specifically name one of the fiercest opponents, Michael
      Grandt - who lodged a formal complaint against the authority which had
      dismissed the application to blacklist Steiner.

      Ten years ago, already, the brothers Guido and Michael Grandt published
      their "Black Book of Anthroposophy" in the attempt to conflate Rudolf
      Steiner with satanism in the public's perception. Fortunately this did not
      succeed, thanks to pro-active publicity work by the anthroposophical
      movement. Michael Grandt has now announced publication of a new book
      in the
      autumn, issued by a well-known publisher with links to the Evangelical
      Church in Germany. This is said to be a companion volume, a "Black
      Book" to
      attack the Waldorf schools.

      Thus the next round of anthro- and Waldorf bashing is imminent. Kugler's
      revised book has therefore appeared with perfect timing.


      Walter Kugler: "Rudolf Steiner. Wie manche ihn sehen und andere
      Stuttgart: Verlag Freies Geistesleben 2008. 128 pages, EUR 9.90, CHF 18.90

      Item: 080627-01DE Date: 27 June 2008

      Copyright 2008 News Network Anthroposophy Limited. All rights
      reserved. See:

      More NNA reports at: www.nna-news.org/en/
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