Posts Tagged ‘method’

Rudolf Steiner as a resource

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

An important question is how to combine honest scholarship with a desire to deepen one’s knowledge of Rudolf Steiner. One can adopt a statement by Steiner as a hypothesis, and try to gather evidence to confirm or contradict it. However, there’s always a danger with that kind of reasoning that one overlooks the contrary evidence. One can try to take Steiner’s statements as self-sufficient truths; there are dangers here too.

One method that I have developed increasingly in my courses on church history is to try to immerse myself in the material and discover its inner dynamic. For example in the case of Arius and Athanasius, I can feel the deep importance of what each is trying to uphold. I can describe the seeming contradiction between them. Arius has a vision of the cosmic logos, the creator-god at work in the world, part of the created order. Athanasius understands that the experience of Jesus Christ opens a window on the being of God himself.

With that dynamic in mind, and with the question whether there is some way that both could be right – ie that both are describing a different aspect of the logos, I can search in Steiner’s descriptions of the spiritual world to find concrete data that fills the space within the paradox. This doesn’t ‘solve’ the problem, but it gives me more to work with.