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.

The History of Humanity

and the World Views of the Peoples


Workers' Lecture GA 353


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 forces! And 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.

[End of lecture]

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.

Use this link to go to the second half of

"Also Forbidden"


[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".]