Steiner on the Essence of Jewry

Rudolf Steiner gave some decidedly racist and anti-Semitic lectures. I have translated one strikingly racist lecture [see "Forbidden"]. Here is my translation of a strikingly anti-Semitic lecture.

Both of these lectures are readily available in German editions of Steiner's works, but both have been largely hidden from English-speaking audiences. Just as "Color and the Human Races" should have been included in the series of lectures published as FROM LIMESTONE TO LUCIFER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), but was not, the following lecture should have been included in the series published as FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), but was not.

Who cares? Steiner died long ago, and surely his followers today do not share his racist/anti-Semitic views. Right? Well, the evidence is not good. Instead of openly denouncing the worst of Steiner's lectures, his followers have merely tried to hide them. The two lectures I have translated have been hidden but not disowned by Anthroposophists. Until Anthroposophists clearly and unambiguously denounce these lectures, their views will remain suspect. The problem they face is of their own making. They consider Steiner a great spiritual master, so they hesitate to admit that he could have been wrong about any important subject. If they admitted this, they would open the possibility (unthinkable to them) that Steiner was wrong about many other important subjects as well. This is indeed the recognition they should attain, but they reject it reflexively.

Below you will find my translation, the original German text from which I worked, and my endnotes. I have numbered the paragraphs of both my translation and the original German text, to aid comparison. The bracketed numbers within my translation signify my endnotes.

The lecture opens with a discussion of Christ's death. Steiner begins explicitly discussing the Jewish people and their religion in paragraph 11.

Let me repeat, please — as I said with reference to the other lecture I translated — I am not Steiner's ideal translator. But I have prepared this translation as carefully as I can, and I have incorporated corrections and suggestions offered by German-speakers who have kindly read my manuscript. I thank them for their assistance.


Workers' Lecture GA 353  The History of Humanity and the World

The History of Humanity and the World Views of the Peoples


Well, gentlemen, what issues do you want to raise today?  [1]


Questioner: What caused the Sun to be dark for three hours when Christ died? [2]


Dr. Steiner: Yes, gentlemen, this is of course a very important question: What was it about the death of Christ that caused the Sun to be eclipsed for three hours? This is a question I have studied deeply. I can imagine that it is a troubling question for you [the questioner], because it reflects how certain things no longer seem credible to modern people. In the 19th Century, this matter was simply dismissed by saying: Well, it's just not true, that's a mere picture, and you should not place great value on such things. — Yes, but, gentlemen, that is wrong! When you very carefully study such things through the use of spiritual science [i.e., Anthroposophy], you can deduce that the death of Christ came during a solar eclipse, or at least there was a strong overcast of the Sun, so that there was a darkening in the area where the death of Christ occurred. Denying such things gets us nowhere; instead, we must find the explanations of them.


Now I want you to recall something I have told you before, in past messages, that the time of day, the season, and so on is very important. And remember that people do not have the same understanding of such things today [as the ancient peoples had]. You know that the New Testament says much about the miraculous healings performed by Christ, but how did he heal the sick? It is stressed that he developed a very specific practice of human healing. Healings were much easier to perform in those days than they are today, and this is precisely what people do not consider anymore. Today, to heal — especially as we have evolved in Europe — one must depend on the [powers of the] human body itself. But that was not always the case. When Christ was on earth, and in still more ancient times, you could heal by relying more on the soul. The soul has less power for people today because modern man focuses all his education on abstract ideas. [3] You see, people in the ancient times did not have abstract thoughts. The people back then approached things from within [i.e., intuitively, spiritually]. Anything that we call "logical thinking" — it did not exist back then. So man then was very different in his soul. Today you can speak the weightiest truths to a person, but it will not affect his body because he has detached the soul from the body. Today it is generally believed that the ancient people possessed instinctive clairvoyance because they were less confined to their bodies. But this is not true, they were more rooted in their bodies. They felt everything more through the body and therefore the soul could directly influence the body. When using language, the ancient people immediately formed pictures in their souls. [4] Today, when you pronounce any word, you do not form such a picture. The ancient people had a complete picture in their souls, and this ran like a shiver or a laugh all over the body. And you see, such effects [of the soul on the body] were very helpful in healing. But the forces in the environment of man must be used properly. This is why, when the Bible describes Christ’s healing of patients, it says “When the sun went down, Christ gathered those who were suffering.” He did not do this in full, bright sunshine, for that would have availed the soul nothing. No, the people only came to him in the darkness, in the dusk, because that is when he could do the most for them. [5]


About such things, modern man is completely ignorant. But these things are truly connected with human life. Whether it is bright sunshine or dawn, in spring or autumn, and so on — these have a huge influence. And so do the other phenomena of nature. So we can say: We can discover in the life of Christ, as it developed from his birth until the baptism by John [the Baptist], and then through the three years before he came to death, we see that everything pointed in a certain direction. But the influences that flowed together came not only from the high council [of rabbis] or from the revolutionary changes seen in those days, but also the phenomena in the sky and in all of nature also contributed.


Now I have told you, gentlemen, that the forces of the Moon influence the infant in the womb. Later in a person's life, the forces of the Sun become paramount. I have also said that the stars influence people. All of these influences are out there in nature.


It is quite remarkable how people see things today because of their abstract thinking; they no longer work with natural phenomena. It is now known, for example, that sunspots — yes, there are spots in the sun — after about eleven or twelve years, again and again and again, sunspots appear in large numbers. But when sunspots appear, a kind of unrest is transmitted here to the Earth; we must really consider the disturbing extraterrestrial influence on the Earth caused by sunspots. This influence is real! If it rains, people know that certain activities must be suspended. You cannot do gardening and similar things when it rains [cats and] dogs. Yes, nature has an influence on the conscious life of man. But on the unconscious life of man, the whole surrounding sky with all its stars is very important. [6] And so sunlight has important effects on people, different effects when the light is obscured than when it shines brightly.


One cannot say that such forces limit our freedom. Where deep, spiritual forces operate, man must build upon them in freedom, just as certainly as when you are on the upper floor [of a house] you needn't fear that a hole will open and drop you into the basement. [7] The laws of nature must be taken into account, especially the big ones out there in the wider world.


And we can say: Everything in nature pointed straight to the time in Palestine when, in certain hearts, something of the greatest sadness occurred [i.e., for Christ's followers, the Crucifixion was an occasion of utmost grief]. This greatest sadness was reflected in the forces of nature. These things came together as they should. [8] And we can say: Just as the blood flows in the body and the health of people depends on this blood, what lives in the sunlight will flow into the blood. Yes, it flows into the blood. [9]


Imagine, someone dies. Well, if you examined his blood two months before, you would have seen that it was already becoming lifeless. Likewise, now, the blood in people before death is on its way to becoming lifeless, but what is in the blood came from the power that lives in the sunlight, and things were so arranged that since the time of Christ's birth there is now a dawn in death. [10] So the very phenomena of nature have an intimate connection with Christ's life. And one might say: Just as Christ deliberately chose the twilight to heal the sick, so his unconscious soul chose the eclipse as the time to die. We must think of these things thus, in order to come to a correct understanding. And that's important, gentlemen! One can of course not explain such things in an external, gross way, but they must be clarified in an inner way.


Question: Has the Jewish people fulfilled its mission in human evolution?


Dr. Steiner: Yes, you see, this is a question which, of course, can all too quickly lead to agitation. But what we can say quite objectively about this subject should not produce agitation.


If you look at the Jewish people as it developed in ancient times, we can see that it evolved in a manner that created a strong preparation for Christianity. The Jews, before Christianity came into the world, had a very spiritual religion, but a religion — I have characterized it to you before — that only took the spiritual law of nature into account. If you asked the Jews: Why does the season of spring come? They answered, Because the Lord wills it! — [And if you asked] Why is this a bad person? [They answered] Because the Lord wills it! — [And if you asked] Why does a famine break out in a country? [They answered] Because the Lord wills it! — Everything was brought back to that one God. And thus indeed the Jews did not live in peace with their neighbors, because they were not understood by them. And they did not understand their neighbors, because the neighbors did not accept this one God in the same way, but they saw spiritual beings in all natural phenomena — they recognized many spiritual beings. [11]


Yes, you see, gentlemen, many spiritual beings do dwell in the phenomena of nature, and those who deny this deny something that is real. Denying the reality of these spiritual beings in natural phenomena would like if I now said: There is not a single person now sitting in this hall! — And if I brought a blind man [here] and told him no one is sitting in this hall, and if you [the audience] do not laugh about it so loudly that he hears it, then he will be deceived. — There are indeed illusions of this kind. [The philosopher] Friedrich Nietzsche, who has poor eyesight — he was then a professor in Basel — he has always had very few listeners [at his lectures], yet his lectures are very interesting to young audiences who are not particularly diligent. He was always absorbed in thought, so he walked up to the podium and delivered his lectures [without looking at the audience]. And once it happened that there was no one inside the hall to listen! He noticed this only when he went out, because he had such bad eyesight. — And a blind man would also be sure that there is no single person in the room here. So people can be badly deceived, because they are made blind by modern education and everything that happens today, which produce these kinds of blinding mental effects.


But on the other hand, it is important for people to realize that they have much to do with all these spirits of nature. [12] But there is in man a power that conquers all that, these spirits of nature. And this is the recognition of the one God of humanity. And the Jews were the first to recognize, in a strong manner, one God of humanity, and they denied all other spiritual beings in that dwell in natural phenomena. Thus they recognized the one, Yahweh or Jehovah — this recognition was greatly meritorious. Yahweh is so simple [to understand]: [his name means] I am. [13]


Well, this has been very important for world history, locating one deity but denying all other spiritual beings. Think of it: If there are two peoples who go to war [against each other], and each recognizes one God, but only one of these peoples can win. The winning nation says: Our God has let us conquer. — If the other people had won, it would have also said: Our God has made us win. But if there is one God, and one people are defeated, then it is the God himself who defeated you! So when the Turks took their God and the Christians their God, both peoples have the one God, and one of these peoples ask the one God to bring them the victory — and the other people pray for the one God to let them win. So they both require the same God to defeat himself! One must be clear: There is not just a single spiritual entity [i.e., monotheism is wrong]. But this absurdity [two peoples praying for opposite results from the same God] occurs in everyday life: one person wants it to rain, so he prays for rain; the other person wants the sun to shine, so he prays for sunshine on the same day. But, of course, that's not possible! [14] If you notice this, you will find clarity in these matters. But people generally do not notice. People often perceive thoughtlessness in big things, but they live in the thoughtlessness that they allow themselves in small things. A man would probably not put both salt and sugar in his coffee, but he selects just one. But overall — this is indeed what causes great confusion — people usually do not have a clear intention. So the Jews have what is called monotheism, which is the commitment to the One God.


Now I've recently told you that Christianity actually embraces three deities: it has the Father God, who lives in all natural phenomena, the son of God, who lives in human freedom, and it has the spirit of God, who brings man the consciousness that he has a spiritual life independent of the body. This means three things were understood [in Christianity]. Otherwise, we would have to conclude that the one God lets people die physically but at the same time he also resurrects them. But if you have three persons of God, death occurs under one god, the passage through death under another, followed by resurrection under yet another. So Christianity was forced to conceive a spiritual deity in three persons. In three persons — that is hard to understand today, but that is how the Christian God was conceived and it is how that God is still presented. Deity was shown in three figures.


Now, because the Jews conceived of only one God, who could not be pictured, they have been forced to try to understand this God internally, with their intelligence. But we detect in this their extreme degree of human selfishness, for man cuts himself off from everything outside himself if he comprehends the spiritual only through his own person. And this has spawned, in fact, the egoism of the Jewish people, which is undeniable, but the Jews are thus more able to take in those things that are not pictorial, even as they are less able to deal with the pictorial. If a Jew is a sculptor, he produces nothing really special, because he does not have that talent. He does not have this pictorial sense, it does not work for him. [But] if a Jew becomes a musician, he is usually an excellent musician, because that is not a figurative art, it does not represent outward reality. So you can find among the Jews great musicians, but even when the arts flourished among them, you would not find a great sculptor or even painter! The Jews paint completely differently from Christians or even non-Christians, [for instance] the Oriental painter. They [the Jews] paint in such a way that the colors of a picture have no great significance, but the idea expressed by the picture is crucial. That is what characterizes Judaism in particular: the non-pictorial [approach], a wholly human egoistic [or self-referential] approach to the world. [15]


But as easy as it looks, it is not so easy to maintain a commitment to the One God. People tend to become pagans if they are not committed to the One God. The Jews are the least pagan people. In Christianity, there is a train of paganism, even if only slightly. [16] You can see this if you look sharply. Take for example the forms of Christian worship ceremonies. As I have told you, the monstrance actually represents the sun and the moon. [17] — But this is forgotten. So the man who is not properly educated in this respect, prays to the monstrance itself, although it is only an external symbol. People tend very easily to worship the external. And so it is actually the truth that in the course of the centuries, Christianity has been very pagan. By contrast, Judaism has always reacted against paganism. [18]


Let’s take a very specific subject that will clarify what I am saying. The Christians of the West who came from Greece, Rome, and Central Germany, they were really quite unable to reproduce the old [herbal] medicine because they could no longer see the spiritual beings who live in the herbs. It was impossible for them to look at the herbs and perceive the spiritual within them. But all herbs have the spiritual in them. The Jews from the East, Persia, and so on, thought they could see only their Jehovah in the herbs. If you look at the evolution of medicine during the Middle Ages, the Jews played a tremendously large role. The Arabs are best at the development of other sciences, and the Jews have played a big role in the development of medicine. And when the Arabs have turned their attention to medicine, they have done this with the help of the Jews. But now medicine has [deteriorated to] become what it is today. [19] Medicine today is indeed mentally retarded, because, I want to say, it has remained monotheistic. And if you think about medicine today, you can see that with few exceptions everything traces back to only a few principles! We no longer perceive the individual nature spirits [20], but we only have the remedies coming from Judaism. So today’s medical mind is filled with abstract thoughts, an abstract Jehovah-influence, which is actually still inside modern medicine. [21]


It would seem natural if the number of Jewish doctors in the different European countries was proportional to [the Jewish] the population. I am not saying — don't misunderstand me! — that we should fix this by law. I would never propose that. But in the natural course of things, one would expect to find Jewish doctors in proportion to the Jewish population. But this is not the case. Most countries have a far greater number of Jews who become doctors [than is proportional]. This traces back to the Middle Ages. The Jews are drawn to medicine because it is in suited to their abstract thinking. Abstract, Jehovistic medicine fits their way of thinking. Only Anthroposophy, which recognizes the diverse nature spirits, perceives the forces of nature in the different herbs and minerals, so [only Anthroposophy] can establish such knowledge on a firm foundation.


So the Jews have worshiped the one Jehovah and they did not stray into the multiplicity of spirits. Now it is of course true that the Jews have always been different from other peoples, and differences of this kind often cause dislike and antipathy — and indeed they evoked resentment and antipathy. Today we can generally recognize that [the Jews] have striven hard not to disperse — their culture does not allow this. Instead, for centuries they have tried to hold together. But in the future this must change and be replaced by true spiritual knowledge. [22] Then the relationship between the Godhead and the many spirits will be understood, arising from the [correct] consciousness of man. [23] Then no people will need to proceed without true spiritual consciousness. Therefore, I have found it wrong from the outset that the Jews, who no longer need to do so, have founded the Zionist movement. [24] To set up a Jewish state would be a major step backward, a wildly reactionary move, sinning against everything that is necessary today in this [spiritual] field.


You see, a very prominent Zionist whom I knew once explained his ideals to me, to go to Palestine and establish a Jewish kingdom there. He very strongly supported the idea of this Jewish kingdom, and he still does today — he now holds a very prestigious position in Palestine. I said [to him]: Such a thing is no longer timely, because today for the first time every person can, without distinction of race or class, form ties with all others. [25] Today we should only undertake actions that will enable people to form ties without distinction. [26] So you cannot expect me to support the Zionist movement. That would separate a part of humanity from the rest! For this reason alone, we should have no such movement today. Strictly speaking, that would be a terribly backward move. But of course such people [i.e., Zionists] reply with strange statements such as "But as it turns out, people rarely work to promote the general [welfare of] humanity. Instead, but they want things to occur on the basis of race."


This conversation I have mentioned took place before the Great War of 1914 to 1918, and you see that war came about precisely because instead of pursuing great universal human principles, people wanted to isolate themselves, to develop their own racial forcesAnd so what the Jews want is the kind of thing that led to the greatest disaster of the 20th Century. And we can say that since everything which the Jews accomplished [in the past] can now be done in a spiritually conscious way by other people, therefore the best thing the Jews could do now would be to merge into the rest of humanity, to mix with the rest humanity, so that the Jews as a people would simply disappear. [27] That is what would be an ideal. Many Jewish habits oppose this today — and above all their hatred of other people. And that is precisely what must be overcome. These things will not be overcome if everything stays as it has been. Jews get offended if you say [things like], "You are not good sculptors." They may reply that not every race has to be good at sculpture, but they can use their natural talents in other areas! — So the Jews are just not suited to sculpture, and indeed in the Ten Commandments they have been told: "Thou shalt make no picture of thy God" because they have no talent for representing the super-sensible [i.e., the spiritual]. So for them everything always comes back to the personal level. [28]


Truly, it is easy to imagine: If I make a picture, or even just describe a picture as we often do in spiritual science, others can store it in memory, learn from it, and comprehend it. But if I do not make a picture, then I only display myself, and I have created nothing outside of myself. [29] This leaves things purely personal. And that's how things are with Judaism. Everything for Jews is personal. People need to learn to see the spiritual in others. Jews today are still dominated by their racial nature. They marry only among themselves. [30] So we find them focusing on their racial concerns and not gaining in spirituality. And this is what we need to know to answer the question whether the Jews have fulfilled their mission. Judaism has fulfilled its mission because it kept itself separate as a people and this produced a certain form of monotheism. Today, however, we need [something different]: spiritual wisdom. So the mission of the Jews has been completed. And therefore the Jewish mission is no longer needed in human development, so the Jews should raise themselves by blending with other peoples in other lands.


Question: Why was it the fate of this people [the Jews] to go into exile?


Dr. Steiner:  It is important to bear in mind the true nature of this “exile.” At the time when Christ died, the Jews lived among a very different people, namely, the Romans. Now, imagine that the Roman conquest of Palestine had been complete; suppose the Romans killed everyone they wanted to be rid of and drove away the rest. Suppose that the Jews at that time had wanted or felt an urge to intermarry with other peoples — what would have happened? Well, the Romans would have conquered Palestine and many Jews would have been put to death; [while] others — as is true today in every country — would have been expelled and would have continued their lives outside of Palestine. [31]


But the Jews did not have the intention nor the urge to intermarry with other peoples; instead, wherever they went, even if there were only a few of them, they lived exclusively among themselves. They dispersed far and wide; and because they lived wholly among themselves, marrying only among themselves, the Jews were always seen as a foreign element. The idea of an exile would otherwise not have arisen. It was this innate urge in the Jews that gave rise to the idea of their exile. [32] This is part of the intrinsic nature of Judaism. And today posterity is surprised that the Jews were dispersed, were forced to live as strangers. [33] This kind of thing has happened almost everywhere. [But] other peoples intermarried and so were not noticed [as strangers, outsiders]. By their basic nature, Jews cling together. In this regard we must say that because [some groups of] human beings cling together, attention has been attracted to things that would not, otherwise, have been noticed. [34]


It is so sad, heartbreaking, to read how the Jews lived in the ghettoes in Medieval times, in parts of the towns where only they were allowed to dwell. They were not allowed to go into the other parts of the towns; the gates of the ghettoes were locked, and so on. But things like this are discussed because it was seen that the Jews in the ghettoes clung together strongly, living exclusively among themselves. [35] Other peoples have endured equally terrible things, although in a different way. The Jews stayed in their ghettoes, clinging together, and people [36] knew that the Jews were not allowed to move out of their quarters. But just think. — Other people have been forced to work from early morning until late evening every day, and they could not come into the towns, either, although there were no gates to keep them out. They, too, have suffered greatly. [37] So we must admit that such things are often based entirely on outer appearance ... they are based, like so many things in world history, upon outer appearance. [38]


The time has come when such things must be revealed in the light of reality. [39]  And here we come to the idea that when a destiny has to be fulfilled it is — to use an Eastern term — karma, it is an inner destiny. The inner qualities of the Jews themselves have shaped the story of Jewish exile; the Jews are a tenacious people, they have kept to one another in foreign lands; and this is why, later, the exile of the Jews has been so noticeable and is discussed today. [40]


On the other hand, the natural consequence is that the Jews are considered different from other peoples and they are accused of all sorts of things for reasons that are unclear. [41] It is not uncommon that if, in some region where people are superstitious, a man is murdered by an unknown assailant, and if an unpopular Jew lives nearby, the rumor goes round that at Easter-time the Jews need human blood for their rites — therefore they killed the man ... The reason why such things are said is because the Jews are differentiated from the others; but the Jews themselves have done a great deal to cause this state of affairs. [42]


In considering these things today, it is essential to stress universal human realities, not the principle of race. [43]


Question: What was the significance in world history of the seventy souls among the ancient Israelites? [44]


Dr. Steiner: Well, gentlemen, here is the thing: Peoples of various characters have lived on the Earth since ancient times. From the present age onwards, this diversity will no longer have real meaning, for as I have said, universal humanity must become the essential principle. [45] But if we study the earlier periods in the evolution of humanity, we find the population of the Earth divided into many different peoples. The Spiritual is a living reality in the phenomena of nature; the Spiritual is also a living reality in the peoples of the Earth. In every people there is a guiding folk spirit. [46] As I have said in my book, THEOSOPHY, “folk spirit” is not an abstract term. When one speaks today of the French people and the others, what does modern materialistic thinking tell us? It suggests an accumulation of some 42 millions of human beings in the West of Europe — a pure abstraction; the traits and characteristics of the people in question are a very secondary consideration. [47] But this is wrong! Just as the seed lives in the plant, so something seed-like exists, living in the spirit of a people, where it unfolds. A spirit, a real being, lives and works in the whole people. [48]


I have told you that the mission of the Jews was to spread the belief in the one Godhead, and it should be clear that it was necessary for them, as a people, to be prepared for this mission. [49] Hence when the Jewish people originally came into existence, numerous folk spirits — [the folk spirits who] worked in various [other] peoples — united to work upon the Jewish people. Thinking of the different peoples, we say: Indians [have the] Indian folk spirit; Egyptians [have the] Egyptian folk spirit; Greeks the Greek folk spirit; Romans their folk spirit; and so on. Each folk spirit belonged to a particular people. But if we take the Jewish people, then, in that corner of the Earth, called Syria, where the Jews dwelled, the influences and intentions of all the folk spirits concentrated upon this one people. [50]


Let me try to make this clear by a simple analogy. — Imagine that each one of you is in your own family circle, attending to your family's affairs. Each of you has a particular sphere of activity. So it was in the case of these folk spirits. — But now suppose you want to contribute to, say, the cause and interests of all workers as a group. In that case you will not remain in your own family circle but you will hold a meeting with other workers and discuss among yourselves what proposal should be acted upon by all of you, acting as a whole. And so we may say: In the peoples aside from the Jews, each folk spirit worked in his own sphere, as it were; but what the folk spirits achieved through the Jewish people came out of the united a spiritual work [of many folk spirits]. This influence worked with different degrees of strength among the members of the Jewish people. The Bible gives an indication of this when it speaks of seventy folk spirits entering into the people of Israel. [51] All the folk spirits cooperated. This powerful influence made the Jews, in a certain respect, a cosmopolitan people and it accounts for the tenacity that has remained characteristic of them. No matter where they might be, they were always able to gather together and preserve Judaism, because they had everything within them. [52]


It is very remarkable how Judaism has everything within it. Gatherings of Freemasons, Oddfellows, and the like, possess no new spiritual knowledge but they have an antiquated kind of knowledge that they no longer understand. Among such groups, you will find in the very words of their rites, elements that come from all kinds of peoples: Egyptian rites and words, Assyrian and Babylonian words and signs — but especially elements from the Jewish Kabbala and so forth. [53] In this respect Judaism is truly cosmopolitan; it adapts itself to everything but also preserves its original thrust, which still lives within it. The same is true of the Hebrew language, which is very rich, in both spiritual and physical content. Every Hebrew word is always full of meaning. Peculiarly, the Jews wrote only the consonants [in words]; later, the vowels were indicated by means of signs. [54] The vowels themselves were not written, so everybody could pronounce Hebrew words in his own way. One man might say "J-e-h-o-v-a," and another might say "J-e-h-e-v-a," and a third "J-e-h-a-v-e,"  a fourth "J-o-h-a-v-e." — The vowel sounds were pronounced as they felt [to each speaker]. And that is why such a designation as the name “Jehova” was created by the priests in this form, and it was called the “unutterable Name” ... because it was not permissible to make arbitrary use of the vowels. [55]


The great tenacity that characterized Judaism showed how the several folk spirits worked upon this one people. When you see Jews in different countries, you will need very keen perception to distinguish those Jews who actually mingle with the other peoples. You know, of course, that the most important statesman of the nineteenth century was a Jew. [56] Jews who have really merged into the other peoples cannot be distinguished from them. In a sentence spoken by a Jew, an experienced person will immediately recognize the typical Jewish style [57] — if, that is, there is no imitation, which is common practice today. But the Jews seldom imitate. It is noticeable that a Jew invariably takes his start from something that is fixed or recorded inwardly as a concept. [58] This is very characteristic and it comes from the joint activity of all the folk spirits. To this day, when a Jew says something, he assumes his statement is unquestionably valid. He relies on his own individual judgment. This is really very interesting! Suppose a number of people — three, four, five — are together; one is a Jew, the other four are not. The men are representatives of various communities. (I am not telling you about an imaginary situation but one which I have actually experienced) ... In this gathering, the people have diverse views. Now these five men, of whom only the fifth is a Jew, begin to speak. The first one says: "It is very hard to get all these people to agree; the only thing to do is to persuade a minority and then work upon the majority so that a compromise can be reached." (That, after all, is how compromises are made — by people talking among themselves.) The second man says: "Yes, but I have lived among the people who make up the minority and I know how difficult it is to persuade them!" The third, a member of the minority, says: "We don't want anything to do with it; it just won't work!" The fourth man says: "After all, one has to take one side or the other." When these four have spoken, the Jew begins: "All this is futile! Concept of compromise: compromise consists in reaching a balance among different opinions so that some people give way." — You see, the Jew comes out with an abstraction: “concept of compromise”; he does not start from any particular point, but leaving out the article, so he says "concept of compromise" [instead of the concept of compromise] ... thereby demonstrating his inborn tenacity. [59] When somebody says: "What, exactly, is this concept of compromise?" ... he already has a mental picture of some kind. [60] But the Jew does not begin in this way. Instead he says: "concept of compromise!" — This is an example of the Jehovistic conception: "Jehovah says" ... [61] The Jew gives no thought to how this works out in a particular instance, but he expresses what he has registered and fixed as a concept, and he lays this down as a principle. That is why the Jew always thinks he can develop everything out of a concept. As long as the Jews keep tenaciously among themselves, things will naturally remain as they are. But after the Jews have merged into other peoples, they will lose the habit of saying: "concept of compromise!” ... and they will then be in agreement with others. All this is connected with the way in which the folk spirits have worked upon them. [62]


Mr. Dollinger: What is the significance of the Sephiroth tree to the Jewish people? [63]

Dr. Steiner: We will start with that the next time. 

This lecture, sometimes referred to as "The Essence of Judaism", has not been as thoroughly hidden from English-speaking audiences as "Color and the Human Races". It appeared in a 1950 publication from the Rudolf Steiner Publishing Company: STAR WISDOM, MOON RELIGION, SUN RELIGION (a short book that now, in 2012, is extremely hard to find). The lecture was dropped, without explanation, from a later and larger book: FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999). 

A translation from STAR WISDOM, MOON RELIGION, SUN RELIGION appears on the Rudolf Steiner Archive website: "Characteristics of Judaism" [click on the title]. You can compare the translation there to mine. I believe you will find that they are substantially in agreement.

[R.R., 2011.]

What is the effect of Steiner's teachings about Jews? Do those teachings have any practical impact in the world today? It is hard to say for sure. But let's try a thought experiment. Imagine yourself a young Jew. Further, imagine that you attend a Waldorf school in which the teachers accept Steiner's teachings on all matters. How would you feel if you learned that your Waldorf teachers think that, because you are Jewish, you are abnormally materialistic; you are incapable of spiritual insight; your God is a lowly spirit; your religion is a foolish “moon” religion; the only reason your people existed was to prepare the way for a religion better than your own; your people should not have their own homeland; your Jewish way of thinking is inherently wrong; your people are responsible for the central ills of modern life; your people are unusually selfish and hateful; you are inherently unable to be a good artist; you and your people live in Jewish ghettoes by preference, because you only want to marry your own kind; your people should cease to exist; and so on — the things Steiner taught about Jews. 

Would you think that your teachers love you well? What messages would you carry home to your parents?

Here is a message I posted at the Waldorf Critics website


Allow me, please, to offer a practical suggestion (and then, perhaps, I will be able to tiptoe back to my real life).

Every Waldorf or Steiner school should print up a zillion copies of the "forbidden" lectures ["
Forbidden" and "Also Forbidden"], along with statements saying "Rudolf Steiner gave these lectures. We find them abhorrent. We accept Steiner's teachings on all other matters, but on the matters of racism and anti-Semitism, we utterly and completely reject Steiner's views."

Then they should give these lectures and this statement to everyone who comes around expressing an interest in their form of education. AND, of course, they should then demonstrate their complete repudiation of racism and anti-Semitism in every act and class and discussion within and around their schools until the end of time.

If they did this, a major reason for opposing Waldorf education would be eliminated.

(The reason they are unlikely to accept this recommendation is that it would open a Pandora's box for them. If Steiner was wrong about these things, what else was he wrong about? Anthroposophists want to think that Steiner was a virtually infallible spiritual guide, a great spiritual master, who used "exact clairvoyance" [see "
Exactly"] to learn almost everything that can possibly be known about almost everything. Following my recommendation (which, of course, is rancid because it comes from me) would open the possibility that Steiner was wrong about a great many things, and this would cut the ground out from under their feet and demolish the basis for Waldorf education.)

This book, published by the Rudolf Steiner Press in 1999

contains the lectures Rudolf Steiner delivered to workmen

between March 1, 1924, and June 25, 1924 —

with one exception. The lecture about Jews and Judaism,

delivered on MAy 8, 1924, is missing.

Here are excerpts that fill in some of the history and background of anti-Semitism. (I downloaded these materials on July 25, 2011.)

Just as racism often involves racial hatred but is, in fact, a larger phenomenon that may often exist without the emotional component of hatred, anti-Semitism generally includes hatred of Jews but it is broader than that and may exist without any overt hatred being expressed. Perhaps the best concise definition is prejudice against Jews or making unjust, generalized judgments about Jews.*

In the following excerpts, you may note descriptions of several anti-Semitic beliefs that find echoes in the lectures and writings of Rudolf Steiner. Steiner and his followers have generally stopped short of hatred of Jews, but there can be little doubt that Steiner's teachings include clear strains of anti-Semitism.


The term anti-Semitism was coined in 1879 by the German agitator Wilhelm Marr to designate the anti-Jewish campaigns underway in central Europe at that time. Although this term now has wide currency, it is a misnomer, since it implies a discrimination against all Semites. Arabs and other peoples are also Semites, and yet they are not the targets of anti-Semitism as it is usually understood....

Anti-Semitism has existed to some degree wherever Jews have settled outside of Palestine. In the ancient Greco-Roman world, religious differences were the primary basis for anti-Semitism....

Although Jesus of Nazareth and his disciples were practicing Jews and Christianity is rooted in the Jewish teaching of monotheism, Judaism and Christianity became rivals soon after Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate [the Roman governor of Judaea]....

Christianity was intent on replacing Judaism by making its own particular message universal. The New Testament was seen as fulfilling the “Old” Testament (the Hebrew Bible); Christians were the new Israel, both in flesh and in spirit....

As Christianity spread in the first centuries ce, most Jews continued to reject that religion. As a consequence, by the 4th century, Christians tended to regard Jews as an alien people who, because of their repudiation of Christ and his church, were condemned to perpetual migration (a belief best illustrated in the legend of the Wandering Jew). When the Christian church became dominant in the Roman Empire, its leaders inspired many laws by Roman emperors designed to segregate Jews and curtail their freedoms when they appeared to threaten Christian religious domination. As a consequence, Jews were increasingly forced to the margins of European society.

From the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum []:

The word antisemitism means prejudice against or hatred of Jews ... In 1879, German journalist Wilhelm Marr originated the term antisemitism, denoting the hatred of Jews, and also hatred of various liberal, cosmopolitan, and international political trends of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries often associated with Jews. The trends under attack included equal civil rights, constitutional democracy, free trade, socialism, finance capitalism, and pacifism.

...Among the most common manifestations of antisemitism throughout history were pogroms, violent riots launched against Jews and frequently encouraged by government authorities. Pogroms were often incited by blood libels — false rumors that Jews used the blood of Christian children for ritual purposes.

...In the last third of the nineteenth century, antisemitic political parties were formed in Germany, France, and Austria. Publications such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion generated or provided support for fraudulent theories of an international Jewish conspiracy. A potent component of political antisemitism was nationalism, whose adherents often falsely denounced Jews as disloyal citizens.

The nineteenth century xenophobic "voelkisch movement" (folk or people’s movement) — made up of German philosophers, scholars, and artists who viewed the Jewish spirit as alien to Germandom — shaped a notion of the Jew as "non-German." Theorists of racial anthropology provided pseudoscientific backing for this idea. The Nazi party, founded in 1919 and led by Adolf Hitler, gave political expression to theories of racism. In part, the Nazi party gained popularity by disseminating anti-Jewish propaganda....

With the Nazi rise to power in 1933, the party ordered anti-Jewish economic boycotts, staged book burnings, and enacted discriminatory anti-Jewish legislation. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws racially defined Jews by “blood” and ordered the total separation of so-called "Aryans" and "non-Aryans,” thereby legalizing a racist hierarchy ... [G]enocide would become the singular focus of Nazi antisemitism.

The most authoritative dictionary in the English-speaking world is THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY, the famous OED. The definition of “anti-Semitism” in the OED makes no reference to hatred: 

“anti-Semitism - Theory, action or practice directed against Jews. Hence anti-Semite, one who is hostile or opposed to Jews; anti-Semitic.”  [OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY (Oxford University Press, 1998), Vol. 1, A - Bazouki, p. 533.]

Was Steiner opposed to Jews? Well, he opposed the continued existence of the Jewish people and he opposed the establishment of a Jewish homeland. He opposed what he called Jewish thinking as well as the results he attributed to such thinking. He disparaged the Jewish religion ("the Moon religion") and its God, as well as dismissing at least some portions of Jewish culture and art. This is a fairly wide swath of opposition. Did Steiner oppose Jews? He did, in almost every way conceivable. Of course, in the view of his followers, he did this for Jews' own good. Jews will be much better off, Steiner taught, when they cease to be Jews.

ELFTER VORTRAG Dornach, 8. Mai 1924

Arbeitervorträge - GA 353 Die Geschichte der Menschheit und die Welta

G353-1968-SE179 – Die Geschichte der Menschheit und die Weltanschauungen der Kulturvölker


Nun, meine Herren, was haben Sie sich für heute als Fragen zurechtgelegt


Fragesteller:    Was verursachte beim Tode Christi, daß die Sonne drei Stunden verfinstert war?


Dr. Steiner: Ja, meine Herren, das ist natürlich eine sehr bedeutungsvolle Frage: Was verursachte beim Tode Christi, daß die Sonne verfinstert war - Sehen Sie, diese Frage hat mich auch, wie Sie sich denken können, sehr, sehr viel beschäftigt. Ich kann mir denken, daß es auch für den Fragesteller eine ganz wichtige Frage ist, weil sie ja doch zeigt, daß eigentlich solche Dinge für den heutigen Menschen nicht mehr recht glaublich sind. Deshalb hat ja auch das 19. Jahrhundert die Sache sehr einfach dadurch zur Lösung gebracht, daß es gesagt hat: Nun, es ist eben einfach nicht wahr, das ist ein bloßes Bild, und man braucht auf solche Dinge keinen großen Wert zu legen. - Aber so ist die Sache doch nicht. Gerade wenn man ganz sorgfältig alles dasjenige verfolgt, was man aus der Geisteswissenschaft wissen kann, so kommt man doch darauf, daß es sich beim Tode Christi um eine Sonnenfinsternis handelt, wenigstens um ein starkes Bedecktsein der Sonne, so daß während der Zeit, in der der Tod eingetreten ist, eine Verfinsterung der Gegend vorhanden war. Und man kommt nicht einfach dadurch über solche Dinge hinweg, daß man sie ableugnet, sondern man muß sie natürlich erklären.


Nun möchte ich Sie da auf etwas aufmerksam machen, was ich schon öfter in Ihrer Gegenwart erwähnt habe: Sie finden überall in älteren Nachrichten, daß stark Rücksicht genommen wird auf die Tageszeit, Jahreszeit und so weiter. Das merken die Menschen heute gar nicht. Sie werden ja wissen, daß im Neuen Testament viel von den Heilungen Christi erzählt wird, über die Art und Weise, wie er Kranke geheilt hat. Und es wird da ein großer Wert darauf gelegt, daß er auch eine ganz bestimmte menschliche Praxis in der Krankenheilung entwickelte. Die Heilungen waren in der damaligen Zeit wesentlich leichter als heute, und das ist es gerade, was die Menschen heute nicht mehr berücksichtigen. Heute muß man ja die Menschheit, die sich schon einmal so entwickelt hat, namentlich in Europa, einfach vom Körper aus heilen. Aber das war nicht immer der Fall. Man konnte ganz gut noch zu der Zeit, als Christus auf der Erde war, und in älteren Zeiten erst recht, von der Seele aus heilen. Bei dem heutigen Menschen hat die Seele eben nicht mehr diesen starken Einfluß, weil er seiner ganzen Erziehung nach ja abstrakte Gedanken hat. Solche Gedanken, sehen Sie, wie sie heute alle Menschen haben, die gab es eben in der damaligen Zeit noch nicht. Da wurde der Mensch innerlich von dem, was er dachte, ergriffen. Irgend etwas, was man «logisches Denken» nennt, das gab es in der damaligen Zeit nicht. Und so war der Mensch ganz anders in seinem Seelenleben. Heute können Sie zu dem Menschen das Allergewichtigste sprechen - es wirkt nicht auf seinen Körper, weil er die Seele abgezogen vom Körper hat. Man glaubt, die alten Menschen waren dadurch instinktiv hellsichtig, daß sie freier waren von ihrem Körper. Das ist aber gar nicht wahr; sie steckten mehr in ihrem Körper drinnen, sie fühlten mehr alles mit ihrem Körper und konnten daher auch einen reinen Einfluß von der Seele aus auf den Körper ausüben. Wenn ein bestimmter Name ausgesprochen wurde, dann stand bei dem älteren Menschen gleich das Bild vor der Seele. Heute, nun, da spricht man irgendein Wort aus, und man hat nicht ein Bild. Die älteren Menschen hatten gleich ein vollständiges Bild, und dieses Bild durchrieselte sie entweder mit einer Gänsehaut oder mit einem Lachreiz oder irgend etwas: es ging gleich alles in den Körper über. Diese Dinge aber, sehen Sie, wurden sehr stark benützt zum Heilen. Man konnte sie aber nur benützen, wenn man richtig die Kräfte benützte, die in der Umgebung des Menschen sind. Daher heißt es einmal, als vom Krankenheilen bei Christus die Rede ist: «Als die Sonne untergegangen war, versammelte er die Leidenden.» Also er hat sie nicht versammelt bei vollem, hellem Sonnenschein; da hätte seine Zusprache auf die Seele nichts genützt. Erst als die Menschen in der Dunkelheit, in der Dämmerung zu ihm kamen, da nützte das etwas.


Über solche Sachen geht der Mensch heute ganz hinweg. Aber es ist eben durchaus so, daß diese Dinge mit dem menschlichen Leben zusammenhängen. Ob heller Sonnenschein ist oder Dämmerung, ob Frühling, Herbst und so weiter, das hat einen riesigen Einfluß. Und so auch die andern Erscheinungen der Natur. So daß wir sagen können: Wir beobachten das Leben Christi, wie es sich entwickelt hat von seiner Geburt bis zu der Johannes-Taufe, und dann durch die drei Jahre, bis er zum Tod gekommen ist: alles hat sich in einer gewissen Weise zugespitzt. Aber nicht bloß dasjenige, was der Hohe Rat dazumal beschlossen hat, nicht bloß dasjenige, was gemacht hat, sagen wir die Revolution der Leute dort und so weiter, söndern auch die Erscheinungen am Himmel und in der ganzen Natur, die haben mitgewirkt.


Nun habe ich Ihnen gesagt, meine Herren: Einfluß auf den Menschen, insofern er zunächst im Mutterleibe ist, dann geboren wird, haben die Mondenkräfte. Später haben Einfluß auf den Menschen die Sonnenkräfte. Ich habe Ihnen davon gesprochen, daß auch andere Sternenkräfte Einfluß haben auf den Menschen. Einfluß auf den Menschen haben alle Erscheinungen, die draußen in der Natur sind.


Sehen Sie, es ist manchmal ganz merkwürdig, wie sich die Menschen heute, weil sie aus ihrem abstrakten Denken gar nicht herauskommen, abplagen mit Naturerscheinungen. Es ist zum Beispiel heute bekannt, daß die Sonnenflecken - es sind ja Flecken in der Sonne - nach etwa elf bis zwölf Jahren immer wieder und wiederum in großer Zahl erscheinen. Aber trotzdem man weiß, däß in der Zeit, in der die Sonnen-flecken erscheinen, immer irgendwie etwas Unruhiges auf der Erde vorgeht, kann man sich doch nicht dazu bequemen, nun den außer-irdischen Einfluß auf die Erde, der sich in den Sonnenflecken ausdrückt, wirklich zu berücksichtigen. Aber dieser Einfluß ist einmal da! Nicht wahr, wenn es regnet, so folgt auf der Erde durch das Bewußtsein des Menschen, daß gewisse Dinge unterlassen werden müssen. Sie können zum Beispiel nicht, wenn es Schloßhunde regnet, Gärtner-arbeiten und dergleichen machen; die müssen unterlassen werden. Ja, da hat die Natur einen Einfluß auf das bewußte Leben des Menschen. Aber für das unbewußte Leben des Menschen hat der ganze Umkreis der Welt mit der Sternenwelt eine große Bedeutung. Und so kommt das Sonnenlicht, das ja für den Menschen eine Bedeutung hat, ganz anders zu ihm, wenn es stellenweise verdunkelt ist, als wenn es durch und durch erhellt ist.


Man kann nicht sagen, daß durch solche Dinge die Freiheit beeinflußt wird; aber wo irgendwie tiefere, geistige Wirkungen in Betracht kommen, da muß der Mensch mit seiner Freiheit auf diese Wirkungen geradeso bauen, wie er darauf baut, daß er ja nicht sagen kann, wenn er im ersten Stock oben ist: der Boden soll ein Loch kriegen, damit ich durch diesen Boden hinunter ins untere Geschoß kommen kann. Die Naturgesetze müssen eben berücksichtigt werden, auch die großen, die draußen in der Welt sind.


Und so kann man sagen: Es hat sich in der Natur alles zugespitzt in der Zeit gerade, in der sich in Palästina in gewissen Herzen dasjenige, was geschehen ist, abgespielt hat, bis zur größten Traurigkeit. Aber damit ging einher die größte Traurigkeit in der Natur. Diese zwei Dinge stimmten eben durchaus zusammen; sie stimmten in der Wirklichkeit zusammen. Und dann kann man sagen: Geradeso wie im Körper das Blut fließt und des Menschen Gesundheit von diesem Blute abhängt, so fließt wiederum ins Blut hinein dasjenige, was im Sonnen-lichte lebt. Es fließt ja ins Blut hinein.


Denken Sie sich, irgend jemand stirbt. Nun, könnten Sie zwei Monate vorher sein Blut untersuchen, dann würde sich Ihnen zeigen, daß es schon auf dem Wege ist, leblos zu werden. Ebenso nun, wie das Blut vor dem Tode des Menschen auf dem Wege ist, leblos zu werden, so war dasjenige, was im Lichte lebt, vorher schon, zur Zeit von Christi Geburt schon, auf dem Weg, sich so zu entwickeln, daß eben eine Dämmerung war mit dem Tode. Also es standen eben einfach die Naturerscheinungen in einem innigen Zusammenhang mit Christi Leben. Und man möchte sagen: Geradeso wie der Christus bewußt die Dämmerung gewählt hat, um Kranke zu heilen, so hat sein Unbewußtes in der Seele die Sonnenfinsternis gewählt, um zu sterben. So muß man sich diese Dinge vorstellen; dann kommt man schon zu einer richtigen Erklärung. Und das ist wichtig, meine Herren! Man kann sich natürlich nicht in äußerlicher, grober Weise diese Sachen erklären, sondern man muß sie in intimer Weise erklären.


Fragestellung: Hat das jüdische Volk seine Mission in der Menichheitsentwickejung erfüllt?


Dr. Steiner: Ja, sehen Sie, das ist eine Frage, die natürlich, wenn man sie bespricht, leider allzuschnell in die Agitation hineintreibt. Dasjenige aber, was man ganz objektiv in dieser Beziehung sagen muß, hat nichts zu tun mit irgendeiner Agitation.


Wenn man das jüdische Volk ansieht, wie es sich in alten Zeiten entwickelt hat, so muß man sagen, es hat sich in einer Weise entwickelt, die außerordentlich stark die christliche Entwickelung vorbereitet hat. Die Juden haben, bevor das Christentum in die Welt getreten ist, eine sehr geistige Religion gehabt, aber eine Religion - ich habe sie Ihnen schon charakterisiert -, die eigentlich nur auf das geistige Naturgesetz Rücksicht genommen hat. Hat man den Juden gefragt: Woher kommt der Frühling, so hat er gesagt: Weil Jehova es so will! - Warum ist das ein schlechter Mensch Weil Jehova es so will! - Warum bricht in einem Lande eine Hungersnot aus Weil Jehova es so will! - Alles wurde zurückgeführt auf diesen einen Gott. Und dadurch lebten ja die Juden mit ihren Nachbarvölkern nicht in Frieden; sie wurden von ihnen nicht verstanden. Und sie verstanden auch diese Nachbarvölker nicht, weil die Nachbarvölker eigentlich nicht diesen einen Gott in derselben Weise anerkannt haben, sondern die geistigen Wesenheiten in allen Naturerscheinungen - viele geistige Wesenheiten - anerkannt haben.


Ja, sehen Sie, diese vielen geistigen Wesenheiten in der Natur sind halt einfach vorhanden, und diejenigen, die sie leugnen, leugnen etwas Wirkliches. Es ist geradeso, wenn man diese geistigen Wesenheiten in den Naturerscheinungen leugnet, als wenn ich jetzt sage: In diesem Saale sitzt kein einziger Mensch! - Das kann ich natürlich sagen, und wenn ich einen Blinden hereinbringe und Sie nicht gerade anfangen darüber so laut zu lachen, daß er es hört, dann kann er es glauben. -Es gibt ja auch auf diesem Gebiet Täuschungen. Friedrich Nietzsche, der sehr schlecht gesehen hat - er war damals Professor in Basel -, hat immer sehr wenig Zuhörer gehabt; trotzdem dieVorlesungen sehr interessant waren, waren die jungen Zuhörer nicht besonders fleißig. Er war immer in Gedanken versunken, ging hinauf aufs Podium und hielt seine Vorträge. So geschah es auch wieder einmal - und es war kein einziger drinnen! Er hat es aber erst bemerkt, als er hinausging, weil er so schlecht sah. Und einem Blinden wäre auch klarzumachen, daß hier kein einziger Mensch im Saal ist. So macht man den Menschen klar, daß nirgends geistige Wirkungen sind, weil man sie zunächst durch die Erziehung und alles, was heute geschieht, für die geistigen Wirkungen blind macht.


Aber auf der andern Seite ist es auch wieder für den Menschen wichtig, daß er einsieht, er hat zwar viel zu tun mit all diesen vielen Natur-geistern. Aber es gibt in ihm eine Macht, die all das, was diese Natur-geister im Menschen bewirken, besiegt. Und dadurch kommt der Mensch zu dem einen Menschengott. Und die Juden kamen eben zunächst in einer ganz starken Weise zu dem einen Menschengott und leugneten alle übrigen geistigen Wesenheiten in den Naturerscheinungen. Dadurch erwarben sie sich zunächst zur Anerkennung des einen Menschengottes, des Jahve oder Jehova, ein großes Verdienst. Jahve hieß ja einfach: Ich bin.


Nun, diese Sache ist für die Weltgeschichte sehr wichtig geworden, die eine Gottheit, mit der Leugnung aller übrigen geistigen Wesenheiten. Denken Sie sich: Es gibt zwei Völker, die führen miteinander Krieg; jedes erkennt den einen Gott an, und eines von diesen Völkern kann nur siegen. Das siegende Volk, das sagt: Unser Gott hat uns siegen lassen. - Hätte das andere Volk gesiegt, so hätte das auch gesagt: Unser Gott hat uns siegen lassen. Aber wenn es der eine Gott ist, der das eine Volk siegen läßt und das andere Volk besiegen läßt, so ist es ja der Gott selber, der sich besiegt! Also wenn die Türken ihren Gott haben und die Christen ihren Gott, und beide Völker den einen Gott haben, und das eine Volk bittet: Der eine Gott möge uns den Sieg bringen -, und das andere Volk betet: Der eine Gott möge uns den Sieg bringen -, so verlangen sie ja beide von demselben Gott, daß er sich selber besiegt! Man muß sich klar sein: Es handelt sich nicht um ein einziges geistiges Wesen. Das tritt aber schon im alltäglichen Leben hervor: Der eine will, daß es regnet, betet um Regen, der andere will, daß die Sonne scheint, betet um Sonnenschein am selben Tag. Ja, das geht nicht! Würde man das bemerken, so würde schon mehr Klarheit in diesen Dingen herrschen. Aber man bemerkt es halt nicht. In großen Dingen gibt sich der Mensch einer Gedankenlosigkeit hin, lebt in der Gedankenlosigkeit, die er sich in kleinen Dingen gar nicht gestatten würde. Er würde wahrscheinlich nicht zugleich Salz und Zucker in den Kaffee tun, sondern er zuckert ihn bloß, macht bloß das eine. Aber im Großen - darauf beruhen ja auch die großen Verwirrungen -, da sind die Menschen nicht so, daß sie sich nur einer Klarheit hingeben wollen. So haben also die Juden das, was man den Monotheismus nennt, also das Bekenntnis zu dem einen Gotte, aufgebracht.


Nun habe ich Ihnen kürzlich einmal gesagt, daß das Christentum eigentlich die drei Gottheiten ins Auge gefaßt hat; es hat den Vater-gott, der in allen Naturerscheinungen lebt, den Sohnesgott, der in der menschlichen Freiheit lebt, und es hat den Geistgott, der dem Menschen zum Bewußtsein bringen soll, daß er ein von seinem Körper unabhängiges Geistiges hat. Damit also sind drei Dinge begriffen. Sonst muß man dem einen Gott zuschreiben, daß er den Menschen sterben läßt aus dem Körper, daß er ihn auch wieder auferweckt aus demselben Entschluß heraus. Währenddem, wenn man drei Personen hat, fällt das Sterben dem einen Gott, das andere, das Durchgehenlassen durch den Tod, dem andern, das Auferwecktwerden im Geiste wieder einem andern zu. Also das Christentum war genötigt, die geistige Gottheit in drei Personen sich vorzustellen. In drei Personen - das ist nur heute so, daß man das nicht versteht, aber das heißt ursprünglich dreigestaltet, und man hat sich vorgestellt: die Gottheit trat eben in drei Gestalten auf.


Nun ist das Judentum genötigt gewesen, weil es nur diesen einen Gott sich vorstellte, überhaupt von diesem einen Gott sich gar kein Bild zu machen, sondern diesen einen Gott ganz nur mit dem Inneren der Seele, mit dem Verstande zu begreifen. Aber es ist auch leicht einzusehen, daß sich damit eigentlich der menschliche Egoismus im höchsten Grade verdichtete; denn der Mensch wird fremd alledem, was außer ihm ist, wenn er das Geistige nur in seiner eigenen Person sieht. Und das hat in der Tat einen gewissen Volksegoismus im Judentum hervor gebracht, das ist nicht zu leugnen; aber die Juden sind dadurch auch mehr geeignet, dasjenige, wäs nicht bildlich ist, in sich aufzunehmen, während sie weniger geeignet sind, das Bildhafte in sich aufzunehmen. Wenn ein Jude Bildhauer wird, dann kommt eigentlich nichts Besonderes dabei heraus, weil er dazu noch nicht veranlagt ist. Er hat nicht diese bildhafte Veranlagung; die geht ihm nicht ein. Wenn ein Jude Musiker wird, so wird er meistens ein ausgezeichneter Musiker, weil das nicht bildhaft ist; das stellt man nicht äußerlich dar. So können Sie unter den Juden große Musiker finden, aber Sie werden kaum in der Zeit, in der die Künste geblüht haben, unter ihnen große Bildhauer finden, nicht einmal Maler! Die Juden malen ganz anders als meinetwillen die christlichen oder auch nichtchristlichen, die orientalischen Maler. Sie malen so, daß eigentlich die Farbe auf einem Bild, das von einem Juden gemalt wird, gar keine große Bedeutung hat, sondern das, was es ausdrückt, was man eigentlich durch das Bild erzählen will. Das ist dasjenige, was das Judentum besonders charakterisiert: das Nichtbildhafte, das ganz und gar im menschlichen Ich Vorsichgehende in die Welt zu bringen.


Aber sehen Sie, so leicht es ausschaut, es ist nicht so leicht, dieses Bekenntnis zu dem einen Gotte festzuhalten, sondern die Menschen werden eigentlich sogleich Heiden, wenn man ihnen dieses Bekenntnis zu dem einen Gotte nicht scharf aufdrückt. Die Juden sind am allerwenigsten Heiden geworden. Im Christentum dagegen herrscht leicht ein Zug zum Heidentum. Sie können das, wenn Sie scharf zusehen, überall bemerken. Nehmen Sie zum Beispiel diese Verehrung, die das Christentum hat für Zeremonien. Nicht wahr, ich habe Ihnen gesagt: Die Monstranz stellt eigentlich die Sonne dar und darinnen den Mond. - Das weiß man gar nicht mehr. Aber der Mensch, der in dieser Beziehung nicht aufgeklärt ist, betet eigentlich die Monstranz an, also ein Außer-liches. Die Menschen neigen sehr leicht dazu, das Außerliche anzunehmen. Und so ist es eigentlich wirklich geschehen, daß im Verlaufe der Jahrhunderte sich das Christentum sehr heidnisch gebildet hat. Dagegen hat immer das Judentum eine Gegenwirkung entfaltet.


Nehmen Sie das nur einmal auf einem ganz bestimmten Gebiete an, wo es am leichtesten einleuchten kann: Die Christen des Abendlandes, also die Christen, die aus Griechenland, Rom und Mitteldeutschland kamen, die waren eigentlich ziemlich unfähig, die alte Medizin fortzupflanzen, weil sie in den Heilkräutern nicht mehr das Geistige sehen konnten. Es war ihnen unmöglich, in den Heilkräutern noch das Geistige zu sehen. Aber überall haben das Geistige, das heißt ihren einen Jehova gesehen diejenigen Juden, die aus dem Morgenland, von Persien und so weiter gekommen sind. Wenn Sie die Entwickelung der Medizin im Mittelalter betrachten, dann haben die Juden einen ungeheuer starken Anteil daran. Die Araber haben gerade an der Entwickelung der andern Wissenschaften, die Juden an der Entwickelung der Medizin einen starken Anteil. Und was die Araber an Medizin gebracht haben, haben sie auch wiederum mit Hilfe der Juden ausgearbeitet. Aber dadurch wiederum ist die Medizin das geworden, was sie heute geworden ist. Die Medizin ist zwar geistig geblieben, aber sie ist, ich möchte sagen, monotheistisch geblieben. Und heute können Sie sehen, wenn Sie die Medizin beobachten: mit Ausnahme von ein paar Mitteln, ganz wenigen, wird eigentlich allen übrigen Mitteln alles zugeschrieben! Man weiß nicht mehr, wie das eine Mittel wirkt, geradesowenig wie man im Judentum gewußt hat, wie die einzelnen Naturgeister sind. So ist auch da in der Medizin ein abstrakter Geist, ein abstrakter Jehova-Dienst eingezogen, der heute eigentlich noch immer in der Medizin drinnen ist.


Es wäre zum Beispiel sehr natürlich, daß in den verschiedenen Ländern Europas nicht mehr Juden Arzte wären, als sie prozentual zu der Bevölkerung sind. Ich will nicht sagen - bitte, mich nicht mißzuverstehen! -, daß man das durch ein Gesetz festsetzen sollte; das fällt mir durchaus nicht ein. Aber die natürliche Anschauung müßte das ergeben, daß entsprechend der Anzahl Juden auch jüdische Arzte da wären. Aber das ist gar nicht der Fall. In den meisten Ländern sind eine viel größere Anzahl Juden Ärzte. Das stammt noch aus dem Mittelalter; sie fühlen sich noch zu der Medizin sehr hingezogen, weil es ihrem abstrakten Denken entspricht. Dieser abstrakten Jehova-Medizin, der ist eigentlich ihr ganzes Denken angepaßt; sie entspricht ihnen. Und erst hier in der Anthroposophie, wo man wieder zurückgeht auf die einzelnen Naturgeister, da erkennt man auch wieder, was in den einzelnen Kräutern und Steinen an Naturkräften enthalten ist. Da bringt man das wieder auf einen sicheren Boden.


Die Juden haben also den einen Jehova verehrt und dadurch die Menschen davon abgehalten, sich zu verlieren in die Vielgeistigkeit. Nun ist es natürlich so, daß die Juden sich dadurch auch immer von den andern Menschen unterschieden haben, und dadurch vielfach - wie immer derjenige, der sich unterscheidet, Abneigung und Antipathie hervorruft - die Abneigung und Antipathie hervorgerufen haben. Aber im ganzen kann man sagen: Heute handelt es sich darum, sich zu sagen, daß eine solche Weise, die Kultur nicht auseinandertreiben zu lassen, sondern zusammenzuhalten, wie es jahrhundertelang bewirkt worden ist durch die Juden, in der Zukunft nicht mehr notwendig sein wird, sondern in der Zukunft muß das ersetzt werden durch eine starke geistige Erkenntnis. Dann wird auch das Verhältnis zwischen der einigen Gottheit und den vielen Geistern sich vor der Erkenntnis, vor dem Bewußtsein des Menschen darstellen. Dann braucht nicht im Unbewußten ein einziges Volk zu wirken. Daher habe ich es von Anfang an bedenklich gefunden, daß die Juden, als sie nicht mehr recht aus und ein gewußt haben, die zionistische Bewegung begründet haben. Einen Juden-staat aufrichten, das heißt, in der wüstesten Weise Reaktion treiben, in der wüstesten Weise zur Reaktion zurückkehren, und damit sündigt man gegen alles dasjenige, was auf diesem Gebiet notwendig ist. 


Sehen Sie, ein sehr angesehener Zionist, mit dem ich befreundet war, der legte mir einmal seine Ideale auseinander, nach Palästina zu gehen und dort ein Judenreich zu gründen. Er tat selber sehr stark mit an der Begründung dieses jüdischen Reiches, tut heute noch mit und hat sogar in Palästina eine sehr angesehene Stellung. Dem sagte ich: Solch eine Sache ist heute gar nicht zeitgemäß; denn heute ist dasjenige zeitgemäß, dem jeder Mensch, ohne Unterschied von Rasse und Volk und Klasse und so weiter sich anschließen kann. Nur das kann man eigentlich heute protegieren, dem sich jeder Mensch ohne Unterschied anschließen kann. Aber jemand kann doch nicht von mir verlangen, daß ich mich der zionistischen Bewegung anschließe. Da sondert ihr ja wiederum einen Teil aus vdn der ganzen Menschheit! - Aus diesem einfach naheliegenden Grunde kann eigentlich eine solche Bewegung heute nicht gehen. Sie ist im Grunde genommen die wüsteste Reaktion. Natürlich erwidern einem dann solche Menschen etwas Merkwürdiges; sie sagen: Ja, in der Zeit hat es sich doch herausgestellt, daß die Menschen so etwas wie allgemein Menschliches gar nicht wollen, sondern fordern, daß sich alles aus dem Volkstümlichen heraus entwickeln soll.


Dieses Gespräch, das ich Ihnen jetzt erzählt habe, hat stattgefunden vor dem großen Kriege 1914 bis 1918, sehen Sie, und daß die Menschen nicht mehr wollen die großen allgemein-menschlichen Prinzipe, sondern sich absondern, Volkskräfte entwickeln wollen, das hat eben gerade zu dem großen Krieg geführt! Und so ist das größte Unglück dieses 20. Jahrhunderts gekommen von dem, was die Juden auch wollen. Und so kann man sagen: Da alles dasjenige, was die Juden getan haben, jetzt in bewußter Weise von allen Menschen zum Beispiel getan werden könnte, so könnten die Juden eigentlich nichts Besseres vollbringen, als aufgehen in der übrigen Menschheit, sich vermischen mit der übrigen Menschheit, so daß das Judentum als Volk einfach aufhören würde. Das ist dasjenige, was ein Ideal wäre. Dem widerstreben heute noch viele jüdische Gewohnheiten - und vor allen Dingen der Haß der andern Menschen. Und das ist gerade dasjenige, was überwunden werden müßte. Die Dinge werden nicht überwunden, wenn alles beim alten bleibt. Und wenn sich die Juden zum Beispiel beleidigt fühlen, wenn man sagt: Ihr seid keine Bildhauer, ihr könnt da nichts leisten - so kann man sich sagen: Es müssen doch nicht alle Leute Bildhauer sein! Sie können doch durch ihre persönlichen Fähigkeiten anderswo etwas leisten! - So sind die Juden eben nicht zur Bildhauerei geeignet; sie haben ja auch in die Zehn Gebote das eine aufgenommen: «Du sollst dir von deinem Gotte kein Bild machen», weil sie eben überhaupt in der bildlichen Anschaulichkeit nichts Ubersinnliches darstellen wollen. Dadurch wird man gerade auf das Persönliche zurückgewiesen.


Nicht wahr, Sie können sich das sehr einfach vorstellen: Wenn ich ein Bild mache, auch nur ein geschildertes, wie es oftmals in der Geisteswissenschaft geschieht, so kann sich der andere dieses Bild merken, sich erbauen, daran erkennen - was er eben will. Wenn ich aber kein Bild mache, dann muß ich immer bei der Wirkung selber persönlich dabei sein; dann sondert sich das nicht ab von mir. Daher nimmt es einen persönlichen Charakter an. Das hat auch das Judentum; alles, was bei den Juden ist, nimmt auch einen persönlichen Charakter an. Die Menschen müssen dazukommen, in dem andern Menschen das Geistige zu sehen. Heute beherrscht noch alle Dinge der Juden das Rassenmäßige. Sie heiraten vor allen Dingen untereinander. Sie sehen also noch das Rassenmäßige, nicht das Geistige. Und das ist es, was notwendig wäre zu sagen auf die Frage: Hat das jüdische Volk seine Mission in der menschlichen Erkenntnisentwickelung erfüllt - Es hat sie erfüllt; denn es mußte früher ein einzelnes Volk da sein, das einen gewissen Monotheismus bewirkte. Heute muß es aber die geistige Erkenntnis selber sein. Daher ist diese Mission erfüllt. Und daher ist diese jüdische Mission als solche, als jüdische, nicht mehr notwendig in der Entwickelung, sondern das einzig Richtige ist, wenn die Juden durch Vermischung mit den andern Völkern in den andern Völkern aufgehen.


Fragestellung: Wie konnte über dieses Volk das Schicksal kommen, daß sie ins Exil mußten?


Dr. Steiner:  Ja, sehen Sie, meine Herren, da muß man die ganze Art, den ganzen Charakter dieses Exils ins Auge fassen. Das Judenvolk, das zur Zeit Christi gelebt hat, unter dem der Christus gestorben ist, lebte ia mittendrin unter einem ganz andern Volk, unter den Römern. Und nun denken Sie sich, die Römer hätten eben einfach Palästina erobert, hätten die Menschen, die sie haben töten wollen, getötet, die andern ausgewiesen, und die Juden hätten schon dazumal die Absicht oder den Trieb dazu gehabt, mit den andern Völkern sich zu vermischen - was wäre geschehen Nun, die Römer hätten Palästina erobert, ein Teil der Juden würde getötet worden sein; andere wären, wie man heute sagt -was ja alle Länder tun -, ausgewiesen worden und hätten draußen irgendwo leben können.


Nun haben die Juden nicht die Absicht und nicht den Drang gehabt, sich mit den andern zu vermischen, sondern überall, wo nur ein paar Juden waren, haben sie ausschließlich miteinander gelebt. Nun sind sie nach allen Seiten zerstreut worden; dadurch allein, daß sie nur miteinander gelebt, ineinander geheiratet haben, ist es ja bemerkt worden, daß sie als Juden selber Fremde sind. Sonst hätte man gar nicht bemerkt, daß sie irgendwie im Exil sind. Es war also durch diesen Trieb der Juden, daß man bemerkte: die sind im Exil. Das liegt im Charakter des Judentums. Und die Nachwelt, die staunt nun darüber, daß die Juden vertrieben worden sind, in der Fremde leben mußten. Ja, aber das ist doch fast überall geschehen! Nur haben sich die andern Menschen mit den übrigen vermischt und man hat es nicht bemerkt. So liegt es im Charakter des Judentums, daß es zäh überall zusammengehalten hat. In dieser Beziehung muß man schon sagen: durch das Zusammenhalten der Menschen werden Dinge, die sonst nicht bemerkt werden, eben bemerkt.


Gewiß, es ist bejammernswert, herzbedrückend, wenn man liest, wie die Juden das Mittelalter hindurch in den Ghettos gelebt haben, also in den Vierteln der Städte, wo sie sich aufhalten durften. Sie durften nicht in die andern Viertel der Städte kommen; die Tore der Ghettos wurden sogar geschlossen und so weiter. Aber sehen Sie: davon spricht man, weil die Juden im Ghetto zusammengehalten haben, weil man das bemerkt hat! Und andern Menschen ist es ebenso schlecht gegangen, nicht gerade in dieser Weise, aber in anderer Weise. Die Juden, nicht wahr, die blieben in ihren Ghettos und hielten dort zusammen, und man wußte: die dürfen nicht heraus. Aber andere Menschen, die vom frühen Morgen bis zum späten Abend alle Tage arbeiten mußten, die konnten auch nicht heraus, wenn auch keine Tore da waren; denen ist es gerade so schlecht gegangen! So daß man sagen muß: Solche Dinge beruhen vielfach einzig und allein auf dem Schein, beruhen nur auf dem Schein, wie in der Weltgeschichte eben vieles auf dem äußeren Schein beruht.


Heute ist die Zeit, wo man in alle diese Dinge mit der Wirklichkeit hineinleuchten muß. Und da kommt man schon darauf: Wo ein Schicksal sich erfüllt, da ist es eigentlich so, daß es wirklich, wie wir es mit einem orientalischen Ausdruck nennen, ein Karma, ein inneres Schicksal ist. Dieses Exilgeschick, das hat sich bei den Juden durch den eigenen Charakter so gemacht; sie sind zäh, und sie haben sich erhalten in der Fremde. Das macht es, daß man es in der späteren Zeit so stark bemerkte und heute noch davon redet.


Das hat es natürlich auf der andern Seite hervorgebracht, daß man sie unterscheidet von den andern und ihnen so alle möglichen Dinge zu-schreibt, von denen man nicht die Ursachen weiß. Nicht wahr, wenn irgendwo in einer abergläubischen Gegend ein Mensch ermordet wird und man nicht darauf kommt, wer der Täter ist, und dort ein unbeliebter Jude lebt, so sagt man: Die Juden brauchen zur Osterzeit Menschen-blut, sie haben den Menschen getötet. - Ja, das sind natürlich solche Dinge, die gesagt werden, weil man den Juden von den andern unterscheidet. Aber die Juden haben ja selber furchtbar viel dazu beigetragen, daß man sie von den andern unterscheidet.


Heute ist es sehr notwendig, daß man diesen Dingen gegenüber streng nicht dieses Rassenmäßige, nicht dieses Volksmäßige, sondern das allgemein Menschliche hervorhebt.


Frage: Was für eine Weltbedeutung hatten die siebzig Seelen der israelitischen Urfamilie, die die Menschheit zusammensetzen?


Dr. Steiner: Nun, meine Herren, da ist die Sache so: Auf der Erde sind von altersher mannigfaltige Völker. Diese mannigfaltigen Völker verlieren von der jetzigen Zeit an ihre Bedeutung. Das habe ich ja eben gesagt: es sollte das allgemein Menschliche geltend werden. Wenn wir aber nun zurückgehen in der Entwickelung der Menschheit, so finden wir die Erdenbevölkerung geteilt in die verschiedensten Völker. So wie in den Naturerscheinungen Geistiges lebt, so lebt auch in den Völkern Geistiges. In jedem Volke ist einfach ein leitender Volksgeist da. Deshalb habe ich in meiner «Theosophie» gesagt: Das ist nicht bloß ein abstraktes Wort, der Volksgeist! Nicht wahr, was ist heute für den materialistischen Menschen das französische Volk Nun, das sind so und so viel, zweiundvierzig Millionen Menschen, die auf einem Haufen in Westeuropa zusammen sind. Und dann erst, wenn man das ganz Abstrakte nimmt, dann studiert man die Eigentümlichkeiten dieses Volkes. Aber so ist es nicht! Sondern geradeso wie ein Keim vorhanden ist für die Pflanze, so ist für das Geistige eines Volkes etwas Keimhaftes vorhanden, das sich dann entwickelt. Es lebt ein wirklicher Geist im ganzen Volke.


Nun, wenn Sie gerade das nehmen, meine lieben Freunde, was ich jetzt gesagt habe, daß die Juden schon eine Zeitlang in der menschlichen Geschichtsentwickelung die Mission gehabt haben, die eine Gottheit zu verbreiten, dann werden Sie begreifen, daß dieses Judenvolk auch volksmäßig dazu vorbereitet sein mußte. Daher ist es schon so gekommen, daß sich die verschiedenen Volksgeister, die sich einzeln sonst um die Völker bekümmert haben, ursprünglich, als das Judenvolk in der Welt entstanden ist, um das ganze Judenvolk bekümmerten. Nicht wahr, wenn wir die Babylonier nehmen, dann kommen wir zu den Assyriern, den Ägyptern, den Griechen, den Römern; dann sagen wir uns also: Inder = indischer Volksgeist, babylonischer Volksgeist, assyrischer Volksgeist, ägyptischer Volksgeist, griechischer Volksgeist, römischer Volksgeist und so weiter. Die sind also voneinander verschieden, diese Volksgeister, und jeder einzelne Volksgeist hat sich nur um dieses Volk bekümmert (es wird gezeichnet). Wenn wir aber das jüdische Volk nehmen, dann haben wir das so, daß auf dem Fleck Erde in Syrien, wo sich das Judenvolk entwickelt, all diese Volksgeister ihren Einfluß ausüben auf das Volk, so daß eigentlich der Wille all dieser Volksgeister in dem einen Judenvolk schon lebte.


Ich möchte Ihnen das mit einem Bilde klarmachen. Denken Sie sich einmal, Sie gehen jeder in Ihre Häuslichkeit, verrichten dort diejenige Sache, die Sie in Ihrer Häuslichkeit zu verrichten haben. Jetzt wird also jeder von Ihnen, der Herr Dollinger, der Herr Erbsmehl, der Herr Burle und so weiter in einem besonderen Kreis drinnen sein. Das war bei diesen Volksgeistern der Fall. Nun aber, sagen wir, Sie wollen die Interessen der Arbeiterschaft vertreten: Da bleiben Sie nicht in Ihrem Haus, da halten Sie eine Versammlung ab, da kommen Sie zusammen, besprechen miteinander dasjenige, was dann von Ihnen ausgeht, von Ihrer Gemeinschaft ausgeht. So kann man sagen: Dasjenige, was diese Volksgeister bewirkten bei den andern Völkern, das machte jeder für sich in den Volkshäusern; was sie bewirkten durch das Judentum, das taten sie, indem sie eine geistige Versammlung abhielten - es wirkte auf den einen Juden mehr, auf den andern Juden weniger. Das drückt die Bibel aus, indem sie sagt: In das israelitische Volk fahren von siebzig Volksseelen die Volksgeister; die haben alle Einfluß. - Aber dieser Einfluß, der so stark war, der hat die Juden schon in einer gewissen Weise zu einem kosmopolitischen Volk gemacht, daß sie so zäh geblieben sind. Sie konnten überall zusammenkommen und dort das Judentum bewahren, weil sie auf diese Weise alles in sich hatten.


Es ist auch merkwürdig, was das Judentum alles in sich hat! Wenn Sie zum Beispiel in solche Gesellschaften hineingehen, in solche freimaurerische Odd Fellows-Gesellschaften, die nicht neues geisteswissenschaftliches Wissen haben, sondern die altes Wissen haben auf eine Weise, die sie selber nicht mehr verstehen, da werden Sie bis auf die Worte überall von allen möglichen Völkern etwas finden, ägyptische Sachen, Zeremonien, Worte, assyrische, babylonische Worte und Zeichen, Zeremonien und so weiter; aber am allermeisten finden Sie das Jüdische drinnen, sogenannte Kabbala und so weiter. Das Jüdische ist wirklich in dieser Richtung kosmopolitisch, paßt sich allem an, aber behält auch sein Ursprüngliches, weil es eben sein Ursprüngliches schon in sich hat. Daher ist es auch mit der hebräischen Sprache so, weil in der hebräischen Sprache überall ursprünglich viel drinnen liegt, sowohl Geistiges wie Physisches, daß immer mit einem hebräischen Worte sehr viel gesagt ist. Und die Juden haben ja die Eigentümlichkeit, nur die Mitlaute zu schreiben; die Selbstlaute wurden dann später durch Zeichen ergänzt. Diese Selbstlaute schrieb man eigentlich gar nicht auf das Papier. Jeder konnte sie für sich sagen, so daß der eine sagte: Jehova, der andere Jeheva, ein dritter Jehave, ein vierter Johave. Die Vokale waren verschieden, je nachdem empfunden wurde. Und daher nannte man so etwas, was die Priester festgesetzt hatten auf eine Weise, wie den Jehova-Namen, den «unaussprechlichen Namen», weil man nicht mehr die Vokale gebrauchen durfte, wie man sie wollte.


Das Judentum hatte also schon etwas durch seine Zähigkeit, was hinwies auf die Art, wie die verschiedenen Volksseelen an dieser einzigen Nation teilgenommen hatten. Wenn Sie die Juden dann auf den verschiedensten Gebieten sehen, dann müssen Sie schon ein scharfes Auge haben, den Juden - diejenigen Juden, die sich vermischt haben, mitgewirkt haben unter den andern - noch zu erkennen. Sie wissen ja, daß der bedeutendste Staatsmann des 19. Jahrhunderts ein Jude war. Also Juden, die in den andern aufgegangen sind, die unterscheidet man schon wirklich gar nicht mehr. Derjenige, der ein Kenner ist, weiß in einem Satze, den ein Jude spricht: da ist jüdische Stilisierung drinnen -wenn es nich t nachgemacht ist; natürlich machen die heutigen Menschen sehr viel nach. Aber die Juden machen wenig nach. Man kann es bemerken, wie der Jude überall von dem ausgeht, was man innerlich in Gedanken fixieren kann. Das ist eine Eigentümlichkeit. Und das hängt zusammen mit dieser Versammlung der Volksseelen, die da eigentlich alle mitgewirkt haben; so daß der Jude auch heute noch glaubt, wenn er irgend etwas sagt, das müsse unbedingt gültig sein. Nicht wahr, er geht aus von dem, was beschlossen wird von dem einzelnen. Es ist sehr interessant! Nehmen Sie an, es sind eine Anzahl von Leuten zusammen, drei, vier, fünf Leute; die andern sind nicht Juden, einer ist Jude. Nun handelt es sich darum, daß das, sagen wir, die Vertreter sind von irgendeiner Gemeinschaft. Ich erzähle Ihnen nicht Dinge, die ich erfinde, sondern die ich erlebt habe. In dieser Gemeinschaft herrschen verschiedene Meinungen. Nehmen Sie nun an, diese fünf Menschen, unter denen der eine ein Jude ist, die sprechen. Der eine wird sagen: Ja, es ist sehr schwer, diese Menschen alle unter einen Hut zu bringen; da muß man denjenigen, die die Minorität sind, so zureden, der Majorität so zureden, damit ein Kompromiß zustande komme. - Kompromisse werden ja auf die Weise gemacht, daß die Leute so untereinander reden. Der zweite Nichtjude wird sagen: Ja, aber ich habe da gelebt unter diesen Leuten, die da in der Minorität sind; ich weiß, wie schwierig es ist, die Leute zu überzeugen! - Der dritte, der Vertreter der Minorität ist, sagt: Wir haben schon gar keine Lust mehr, daran teilzunehmen, das geht alles nicht! - Der vierte sagt: Man muß eben doch sehen, daß man von dieser oder jener Seite ausgeht. - So die vier Nichtjuden. Jetzt fängt der Jude an: Das ist alles nichts! Begriff des Kompromisses: Der Kompromiß besteht darin, daß die Leute mit verschiedenen Meinungen sich ausgleichen und daß sie klein beigeben. - Er bringt abstrakt: Begriff des Kompromisses -, geht nicht aus von dem oder jenem, er fängt an: Begriff des Kompromisses - läßt den Artikel aus, darinnen auch seine ursprüngliche Zähigkeit beweisend. Wenn einer sagt: Welches ist der Begriff des Kompromisses und so weiter - dann hat er schon in sich eine Anschauung; dann will er das anschauen. Aber so fängt der Jude nicht an, sondern er sagt: Begriff des Kompromisses! - Damit wird die Jehova-Anschauung hingestellt: Jehova sagt -. Man denkt nicht nach: Wie ist das im einzelnen, sondern das, was festgestellt ist im Begriff, das wird einfach aufgestellt. Daher denkt der Jude immer, er könne alles aus dem Begriff heraus entwickeln. Solange die Juden zusammen zäh unter sich sind, wird natürlich das so sein; wenn sie aber aufgegangen sein werden unter den andern Menschen, werden sie nicht sagen: Begriff des Kompromisses -, sondern sie werden eben auch so sein müssen wie die andern Menschen. Das ist eben dies, was damit zusämmenhängt, daß die Volksseelen auf sie wirken.


Herr Dollinger: Was für eine Bedeutung hat der Sephirotbaum für das jüdische Volk


Dr. Steiner: Damit wollen wir dann das nächste Mal beginnen.

To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, 
use the underlined links, below.

◊◊◊ 8. THE WORST SIDE ◊◊◊

The racial teachings deep in Anthroposophy that surface sometimes at Waldorfs

Problems in the doctrines

A lecture that exculpates?

One of Steiner's suppressed lectures



Two fundamental legends embraced by Steiner

Ties to Nazism? Allegations and denials

From SkepticReport [external link]

Steiner’s strange version, tied to his racial teachings

Anthroposophical racism, recapped

You may also want to consult the following pages:

America : death

blood : and race

decay : Attila and leprosy

differences : Steiner on

n-word : the worst word, used in a Steiner school

"Negro" : Steiner on

races : Steiner on

RS on Jews : Anthro anti-Semitism

RS on Races : title search


[1] Steiner was addressing workmen who were raising the Anthroposophical headquarters, the Goetheanum. He often took questions and gave his answers extemporaneously. Thus, some of these “lectures” were more nearly informal chats. [To read another lecture he delivered to these workmen, see "Forbidden". To walk through a Steiner lecture with paragraph-by-paragraph commentary, see "Lecture".]

The texts of Steiner's lectures as we have them now are often disjointed and disorganized. This can be excused, perhaps, in cases when he was speaking without notes. We should also remember that the texts we have for such talks were not prepared by Steiner himself but by devoted followers who made transcripts while he spoke. As a result, there may be some errors of transcription.

[2] An eclipse of the Sun (the Moon passing in front of the Sun) lasts only a brief while. Indeed, the period when the Sun is totally obscured by the Moon is measured in minutes and it does not produce great darkness on the Earth. 

"The light of totality [i.e., total eclipse] is much brighter than that of the full moon but is quite different in colour. The duration of totality is brief, typically lasting two to five minutes." — "eclipse." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 29 Jul. 2011. 

Of course, an omnipotent God could cause an eclipse to last for hours, but Steiner does not argue that such a God exists or that He did these things. Steiner is correct, however, that the Bible speaks of the Sun becoming dark. 

"It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining." — Luke 23:44-45. 

Rather than saying that God caused the Sun to go dark, Steiner says that 

"Christ...chose the eclipse as the time to die." 

This suggests that the eclipse in question was a typical passage of the Moon across the face of the Sun. 

[3] Steiner generally deplored intellectual thought and, indeed, use of the brain. [See, e.g., "Steiner's Specific" and "Materialism U."]

[4] Note that Steiner is not denying that ancient peoples were clairvoyant; he taught that, indeed, ancient peoples had instinctive clairvoyant powers. His point, here, is that ancient peoples had souls that were more deeply integrated with their bodies, thus they had access to spiritual knowledge — they were clairvoyant — and did not distract themselves with abstract, intellectual thinking.

In preference to intellect, Steiner touted the value of imagination, which he said allows people to create true mental pictures of “imaginations.” Correct imagination, he taught, is a form of clairvoyance. [See, e.g., "Steiner's 'Science'" and "Clairvoyance".]

[5] On another occasion, Steiner said 

“It is...important that the deeds of Christ Jesus are always seen in relation to the physical sun, which is the external expression of the spiritual world that is received at the point where Christ’s physical body is walking around. When Christ Jesus heals, for instance, it is the sun force that heals. However, the sun must be in the right place in the heavens: ‘That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons.’ It is important to indicate that this healing power can flow down only when the external sun has set but still works spiritually.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN: THE EVOLUTION OF INDIVIDUALITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1990), pp. 65-6. 

Steiner’s basic proposition in all this is that Christ is the Sun God. [See "Was He Christian?" and "Sun God".] The powers that flow into us from the Sun come, spiritually, from Christ. When Christ came to Earth and assumed human form, he became our Prototype, showing us how we should be. When he was Crucified, his blood flowed into the Earth and thus his spiritual essence united with the Earth. He doesn’t say any of this very clearly to the poor workmen comprising his audience.

[6] Astrology forms an integral part of Steiner's teachings. See, e.g., "Astrology" and "Star Power".

[7] By "freedom," Steiner generally meant something quite different from the liberty affirmed in Western democracies today. [See "Freedom" and 

"Democracy".] Primarily, he meant spiritual freedom from temptation and error. Here he is saying that man, with a purified soul, is not wholly controlled by forces outside himself. Rather, "free" man builds on those forces and need not fear that he will fall into a lower condition. (The image of falling into a basement is, presumably, an attempt at humor.)

[8] That is, they led to the fulfillment of nature by Christ: the Crucifixion and its aftermath considered as a victory. 

[9] Steiner had many things to say about blood. [See "Blood".] At the Crucifixion, Steiner said, Christ's blood flowed into the Earth and thus Christ, the Sun God, united Himself with the Earth. [See "Sun God".] Here, he is saying that the blood in our bodies is affected by solar forces (which in Steiner's vision means influences coming to us from the realm of the Sun God, Christ).

[10] Again, this is the Crucifixion considered as a victory. Because of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, death has been defeated; death now leads to a higher spiritual life.

[11] Steiner is speaking of gods and, to a far lesser degree, nature spirits. Judaism is monotheistic. Steiner taught that polytheism — not monotheism — is true. [See, e.g., "Polytheism" and "The Gods".] Monotheism is, in Steiner's teachings, a distant ideal, not a present reality. Thus the Jews can be praised for creating the ideal of monotheism, but their actual religious beliefs are wrong, Steiner said.

[12] Here Steiner is mainly discussing nature spirits, which are lowly discarnate beings who have no real spirit in them. [See "Neutered Nature".]

[13] Steiner praises Jews for developing the concept of monotheism, but he also says they were wrong to close their eyes to all the other spiritual beings. Mankind does have one god, in a sense, Steiner taught. This may be seen as the Godhead — the supreme spiritual force. [See "God".] Viewed differently, our supreme god is Christ, the Sun God. [See "Was He Christian?"] So Steiner praises Jews for espousing monotheism, but he also denies that their god — Jehovah — is really the One and Only God of the universe. According to Steiner, Yahweh or Jehovah is a rather lowly god, residing on the Moon. [See, e.g., "Old Testament" and "Lunacy".] Thus, the Jews' monotheism is wrong — Jews fail to see all the other gods, and they mistakenly think their lowly god is the One God. 

Steiner says that the name Yahweh means “I am”, and elsewhere he tied this to the idea that humans have an “I” — a divine spiritual identity. [See, e.g., "Commandments".] This is to the good. But Christ, the Sun God, is much higher that Yahweh, according to Steiner. Christ descended from the Sun and manifested for three years in the body of Jesus. Judaism prepared the way for Christianity, but the Jews did not understand what they had done, according to Steiner, and thus they failed to leave their inferior religion and embrace Christ. This is a common anti-Semitic contention. Whereas Christ is god of the Sun, Steiner said, Jehovah is a Moon god. 

◊ “Yahweh [i.e., Jehovah] resides on the Moon.” — Rudolf Steiner, SLEEP AND DREAMS (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 43. 

◊ "From the Moon, Jahveh [i.e., Jehovah] reigned over the heart and soul of the Jewish people..." — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS: Esoteric Studies, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 203. 

◊ "As you know, we distinguish the Jews from the rest of the earth's population. The difference has arisen because the Jews have been brought up in the moon religion for centuries [i.e., they worship the Moon being, Jehovah] ... The Jews have a great gift for materialism, but little for recognition of the spiritual world." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 59. 

That second sentence summarizes two of the most basic smears used by anti-Semites: Jews are uncommonly materialistic and they are nearly blind to real spirituality.

[14] In an effort to discredit monotheism, Steiner here makes a singularly silly argument. Two people may ask God for different blessings, but this does not mean that there is no one-and-only God. God may choose to answer one prayer and not the other. This will disappoint the second supplicant, but it proves nothing about the existence or nature of God.

Steiner usually made his polytheism plain. [See "Polytheism".] Thus, he often said that the three persons of the Christian triune god are, in fact, three separate gods. He also argued that early Christians, coming out of the Jewish monotheistic tradition, took an intermediate position, seeing the three gods as different aspects of the same god. He will discuss some of this in the following passage of the lecture we are examining.

[15] This is a fairly typical example of anti-Semitism. Steiner differentiates Jews from others, and he attributes certain characteristics to all Jews. Thus, all Jews tend to lack pictorial abilities. There are no great Jewish sculptors or painters, but there are some great Jewish musicians, since Jews have a talent for music.

The lack of pictorial ability is a severe deficiency, from Steiner's perspective. True thinking, he said, is pictorial: It is imagination or clairvoyance, the production of spiritual true pictures in the mind. [See "Clairvoyance" and "Thinking".] Jews, according to Steiner, lack this ability and thus they lack true spiritual insight. Instead, Jews think abstractly, intellectually, which is a dead end. [See, e.g., "Materialism U."]

[16] Steiner was not afraid of the word "pagan" [see "Pagan"] any more than he was afraid of the word "occult" [see "Occultism"], and indeed his teachings can be characterized as both pagan and occult. Here, he seems to define "pagan" as believing in more than one god. Elsewhere, he taught that there is such a thing as "pagan Christianity" and he identified such figures as King Arthur as pagan pre-Christian Christians. 

[17] In Roman Catholicism, the monstrance is the receptacle in which the consecrated Host is kept. [See, e.g., "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"] Elsewhere, Steiner says more clearly that Roman Catholics no longer remember the pagan roots of their ceremonies, and specifically they do not recognize the symbols of the Sun and Moon found in the monstrance. According to Steiner, every star and planet is the seat of a god, so the symbols of Sun and Moon actually refer to the gods of those "planets" — Christ and Jehovah.

[18] Odd though it may seem, Steiner is criticizing Judaism for failing to be pagan — i.e., polytheistic. And he is also saying that, although they don't remember it, Christians are at root pagans, for their faith is, at root, polytheistic. Few Christian theologians would agree.

Steiner sometimes referred to Anthroposophy as Christian, and most Anthroposophists consider themselves to be, in some sense, Christians. After all, they attach extreme importance to Christ (the Sun God). However, Steiner also sometimes drew clear lines between Anthroposophy and Christianity. Here he is saying that Christians have forgotten that they are essentially pagans or polytheists. Anthroposophy, according to Steiner, does not make this error.

[19] Elsewhere, Steiner says more clearly that Jewish thinking lies behind the materialism and other faults of modern culture. Here he is saying that modern medicine is as bad as it is because of the Jewish influence. Thus, Steiner created his own alternative medicine, Anthroposophical medicine. [See "Steiner's Quackery".]

"[T]he ancient Jewish people...did not wish to learn anything in addition to what the human being brings with him as a capacity because of the fact that he was an embryo ... Old Testament thinking [led to] the atheistic science of the modern age." — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHALLENGE OF THE TIMES (Anthroposophic Press, 1941), pp. 28-33. 

Jews stand behind the worst tendencies in our world, since they are spiritually no more than infants, Steiner alleged: Their kind of thinking leads to such abominations as atheism and modern science.

[20] Here Steiner is speaking of nature spirits as essentially benevolent. His doctrines about nature spirits — like those about so many things — are complex and open to varying interpretations. Essentially, Steiner said that nature spirits are lowly beings who are, to some degree, helpful to humans and, to some degree, hostile to humans. [See "Neutered Nature".]

[21] Steiner is saying that Jews are wrong to see only Jehovah in the natural world, and their fallacious form of thinking — abstract, materialistic — is at the root of much that is wrong in the modern world, particularly modern medicine. 

Note how, in the next paragraph, Steiner sets up Anthroposophy as directly opposite to the influences of Judaism.

[22] Steiner argued that the Jewish people should cease to exist as a separate people, and their way of thinking should be supplanted by Anthroposophy — that is, true spiritual knowledge. We will see more of this as the lecture progresses.

[23] Steiner identified the Godhead as the ground of being, the primordial creative force. But he also identified the Godhead as the ultimate fulfillment of spiritual evolution, when humanity will become God. [See, e.g., "Tenth Hierarchy".]

[24] Zionism was the movement to establish a Jewish homeland; today it is the effort to preserve that homeland. Because, Steiner says, there is no longer any good reason for the Jewish people to exist as a separate entity, there is no need to establish a Jewish homeland. In his extremely circuitous way, Steiner is answering the question about the historical mission of the Jews. He says, in essence, that the Jews prepared the way for Christ, and having done so, they should now disperse, melting into other, more spiritually advanced populations.

[25] Steiner did not consider himself a racist of anti-Semite, and his followers do not consider him one. A statement like this seems to bolster this view. However, realize that Steiner means that humanity will continue evolving until there are no longer any separate races or peoples. This will happen through the agency of the most spiritually advanced race, the European white race. People who currently are incarnated in lower races and peoples (such as the Jewish people) will, ideally, evolve to higher races in future incarnations. Evil people will, meanwhile, evolve downward, and disappear from the human family. Thus, someday, we will all be white and then, all being equal, there will no longer be any races or peoples as such. [See, e.g., "Love and the Universal Human".]

We might also note the contradiction in Steiner's argument. He criticizes Zionists for wanting to distinguish one part of humanity from the rest. Yet it was Steiner who said, in the previous paragraph, 

"Now it is of course true that the Jews have always been different from other peoples." 

[26] One way to form such ties, of course, is to love and marry one another. Here, Steiner is advocating the mingling of peoples so that eventually there will no longer be separate peoples. However, on other occasions, he made his antipathy to race-mixing quite clear. [See, e.g., "Blood".] In this passage, from 1924 —  when racism and nationalism were rampant — the free intermingling of peoples advocated by Steiner was rare, at best.

[27] The German word "Judentum" means Judaism, and in this sense Steiner is speaking of the end of the Jewish way of thinking, Jewish culture, Jewish religion. But he is also distinctly speaking of Jews as a people: "Judentum als Volk" — Judaism as a people.

Steiner presents himself as an enlightened leader who opposes racism. Yet racism is clearly present in his teachings. (To be charitable, we might say that — like many others — he recognizes that racism is wrong, but he does not perceive the racism in his own thinking.) Steiner rejects the possibility that Jews, blacks, and others can be accepted as fully equal human beings in the world today. "Lower" nations and races will rise to the level of white European humanity  — and, beyond that, to the level of "universal humanity" — only when they cease to exist as separate peoples. Their racial, ethnic, and cultural characteristics must be erased before they can be recognized as truly, fully human. [See "Steiner's Racism", "Races", "Differences", "'Negro'", and "RS on Jews".]

[28] That is, Jews have little capacity to understand the levels of existence above the physical plain. So instead of picturing spiritual realities, they turn inward on themselves, referring only to themselves.

Note that Steiner assigns blame to the Jews themselves — they hate other peoples. This is another typical mark of anti-Semitism in particular and racism in general: blame the victim. Thus, humans would live together peacefully, merging into a single happy human family, except for such impediments as the Jews' "hatred for other peoples."

The idea that the Bible forbids Jews to make images of god because Jews are lousy artists — this is an extraordinary bit of Biblical commentary.

[29] Steiner is returning to the theme of pictorial or imaginative (or clairvoyant) thinking. Creating true pictures is a high spiritual activity, and Jews are deficient in it, he said. They see only themselves, not anything outside themselves.

[30] Again, the Jews are at fault. Hating others, selfish, turned inward and insular, they cause much difficulty for good humanity and for human evolution toward spirituality.

[31] Steiner gives a remarkably scrambled account. The question presumably had to do with the exile of the ancient Hebrews when they became captives in Egypt. Steiner speaks instead about the domination of Palestine by the Romans, a later development, and then mixes this with even more recent events, the scattering of the Jews throughout the many countries existing in Steiner's time ("today in every country").

[32] This makes little sense. Jews were exiles because, having no homeland, they lived in foreign lands, not because they preferred to marry their own kind.

Note, again, that — in Steiner's view — the Jews are responsible for their own difficulties ("this innate urge in the Jews that gave rise...").

[33] Here Steiner takes one of his typical swipes at historians and other modern thinkers who, he repeatedly said, had no real knowledge. [See, e.g., "Summing Up".]

[34] That is, if outsiders meld into the population of a country, they soon are not looked on as outsiders.

[35] People rarely live in ghettoes by choice. As victims of prejudice, they are restricted to ghettoes. Steiner finds the Jews' plight "heartbreaking," but he will proceed to minimize it, saying that "other peoples have endured equally terrible things...."

[36] By "people," of course, Steiner means non-Jews living outside the Jews' self-imposed ghettoes ("Jews stayed in their ghettoes, clinging together...).

[37] Steiner again minimizes Jewish suffering, claiming that others people have endured similar fates ("They, too, have suffered greatly"). "Great" suffering becomes commonplace and unremarkable if it is a general, frequent condition of many peoples.

[38] Steiner has said that Jews behave in a certain way because of their innate nature. Now he adds the perhaps less damning idea that people are discriminated against on the basis of appearance. Is such discrimination the fault of the people who discriminate or those who are discriminated against? Perhaps both, although much of the blame must fall on the victims of discrimination, Steiner suggests, since they created the appearances that are held against them:

"[I]t was seen that the Jews in the ghettoes clung together strongly...." 

[39] Steiner is returning to his claim that he presents a true picture of reality, one that others have not perceived.

[40] Karma is a central Anthroposophical concept. [See "Karma".] According to Steiner, we create our own karma — our own actions determine our future destiny. Thus, Steiner is saying that it has been Jews created their own destiny, to live apart from other peoples, to be confined to ghettoes. They did it to themselves, in other words. As Steiner will say a few sentences down, 

"[T]he Jews themselves have done a great deal to cause this state of affairs."

[41] This is perhaps the most philo-Semitic Steiner makes here, saying that Jews have been falsely accused of various crimes — or if not falsely accused, then accused for reasons that are unclear or false.

[42] So Jews are sometimes unjustly accused, but it is at least partly their own fault, Steiner says.

[43] Steiner reaffirms his posture as liberal and enlightened. [See note 27, above.] Having said that Jews are selfish, hateful, self-defeating, and genuinely different from others — having, that is, made numerous racist statements about Jews — Steiner suddenly says that we should see beyond race. 


"And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already." [Exodus 1:5]

[45] Steiner is returning to his doctrine that in the future racial differences will disappear because all remaining humans will have risen to a condition of purity — spiritual whiteness. Here is says that the move toward that condition must begin now.

[46] Steiner taught that each nation, people, and race has a joint soul, a group soul that may also be called a folk spirit. All the individual souls within that group derive from the shared group soul. (He also said that animals only have group souls, while humans have both group souls and individual souls. Thus, for instance, all dogs share a single soul and they do not have individual spiritual identities.)

[47] That is, modern, materialistic, abstract thinking — the sort of thinking Jews excel at — can count the number of people in a group, but it cannot tell us much if anything about the spiritual essence of that group.

[48] Group souls are actually spiritual beings, Steiner says. All the members of a particular group share spiritual connections to one special spiritual being or god, and thus they possess characteristics derived from that being, characteristics that are innately different from the characteristics of other nations, peoples, and races. In Steiner's teachings, virtually anything nonphysical is deemed spiritual, and virtually anything spiritual is deemed to be a spirit. So, the "spirit" of the German nation, for example, is not a generalized abstraction. It is an actual, living spiritual being, a god. And individual Germans embody, to one degree or another, the essence of the god of Germany.

[49] This is not precisely what he said. Go back to earlier passages in the lecture.

[50] This is one of the differences between Jews and other peoples, according to Steiner. Their mission was crafted for them through the united efforts of the group souls of other peoples.

[51] The Bible says nothing of the sort. Look again at Exodus 1:5. That verse says that the total number of children fathered by Jacob was 70.

[52] That is, they received influences from all the different folk spirits, which made them cosmopolitan — i.e., conversant with (and able to live within) many different lands and cultures, while preserving their own unique characteristics. Anti-Semites often characterize Jews as cosmopolitan, attributing to them all the sins and falsehoods of big cities in contrast to the purity of simple country life.

Steiner also returns to the idea that Jews keep to themselves, even as they spread throughout the nations: Jews look inward, he has said — they have their Jewish essence within themselves, and this is all that they really want.

[53] Steiner had a great interest in secret societies, and he apparently joined some, such as the Freemasons. [See "Double Trouble".] Indeed, he arguably created some, in the inner councils of his Theosophical and later Anthroposophical efforts. (There is a distinct tradition of secrecy within the Waldorf school movement. [See "Secrets".]) Here he says that today's secret societies tend to retain ancient practices and terminology without retaining the knowledge originally invested in them. (Presumably he means secret societies other than his own.) In saying that such societies are "especially" influenced by the Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), he endorses the common anti-Semitic idea that Jews are busily at work, secretly, behind the scenes, steering societies for their own hidden purposes.

[54] That is, Steiner says that originally written Hebrew omitted all vowels. Thus, for example, "book" would be written "bk." Later, symbols were used to show the place of vowels, as in "b**k."

[55] In reality, the name of God was considered unutterable because God is so far above human comprehension and so supremely holy. The Ten Commandments warn against misusing the name of God, and in Jewish tradition more generally any reference to God was required to be extremely humble and circumspect.

[56] British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.

Here Steiner begins to contradict his contention that Jews stick to their own kind.

[57] Here Steiner again stresses the otherness of Jews.

[58] Steiner returns to his contention that Jews use abstract, logical thinking, not the superior imaginative/clairvoyant thinking that leads to spiritual advancement. Thus, a Jew has a fixed idea and he will not deviate from it — he is immune to higher truths coming from beyond himself.

[59] Steiner is saying that the Jews use abstract thinking, which is related to dropping the article from a term, which is related to Jewish tenacity.

[60] That is, sensible non-Jews form pictures in their minds (imaginations...), but Jews do not. Jews have abstractions in their minds.

[61] Steiner is making connections back to his earlier pronouncements about the God of the Jews, Jehovah, and the monotheistic error of Jewish thinking — the Jewish practice of attributing everything to their one god. Steiner ties this to the tendency that he attributes to Jews: dropping the articles from terms. Implicitly, Steiner is saying that a Jew does not think "a god" or "one of the gods" says thus and so; a Jew thinks "God" says thus and so: "Jehovah says".

[62] Steiner tries to bring his conclusion back to the question he is presumably answering, about the "seventy souls among the ancient Israelites." But precisely how the joint activities of 70 folk spirits led Jews to drop the articles from their sentences may remain, for most readers, somewhat hazy.

[63] The Sephiroth Tree is the Jewish Tree of Life. [See "RS on Jews".]