- 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
the 128-page volume, which is set to correct a range of false
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
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
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
original edition published in 2000 was that public perception of Steiner
would gradually become more factual. There had been no lack
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
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
The Frankfurter Sonntagszeitung printed an entirely false report which
implied that tendencies to violence in Waldorf schools were greater
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
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
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
More NNA reports at: www.nna-news.org/en/