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insights into the ES via Steiner

May 18, 1998 12:10 PM
by Marshall Hemingway III

I just received the Spring/Summer 1998 catalogue of The Anthroposophic Press.
I noticed a review of the following book which seems to cover some of the
topics discussed here on this List over the years - the ES, the split over
Eastern and Western Schools in the Theosophical Society, the Krishnamurti
business, communications from the Masters (which the reviewer puts in quotes),
etc. (The division over whether to emphasize Eastern or Western esotericism
resulted in an earlier split with the founding of the Hermetic Society by Anna
Kingsford and Edward Maitland in 1884.) I have inserted the full book review
in case anyone is interested in getting it. (Added Note: I'm not an
anthroposophist, so I'm not plugging anything here).

Rudolph Steiner
edited and introduced by Hella Wiesburger, translated by John Wood
Anthroposophic Press, 464 pgs. ISBN 0-88010-434-1 $23.96

In this collection of letters, lectures and documents from the period
1904-1914 we are given a rare glimpse of the birth of the anthroposophical
movement out of the theosophical movement of the late 19th century, as well as
a valuable collection of Steiner's first esoteric teachings.

Part I provides an account of the First Section of the Esoteric School. The
Esoteric School of Theosophy was founded by H. P. Blavatsky in 1888. The
German Section, centered in Berlin, officially came into being on October 20,
1902, with Steiner as General Secretary and Marie von Sivers as Secretary. In
1904 Steiner was officially nominated as the first Arch-Warden of the German
Section and given full authority to run the school. The collected letters
included here show how Steiner was asked for esoteric instructions immediately
after the founding of the German Section. Contained here are the specific
exercises and advice that Steiner gave his students, as well as early lectures
and teachings concerning the "Masters" and their relationship to the evolution
of mankind.

Part II covers the history of the separation of the Esoteric School into an
Eastern and a Western School in 1907. We are given a clear picture of why
Rudolph Steiner eventually could no longer work within the framework as it
existed then, and the events that led to the split between the Theosophical
Society under the leadership of Annie Besant, and the German Section, or
Esoteric School under Steiner's leadership.

Part III, "The Relationship between the Movement, the Esoteric School and the
Society," includes notes on seven lectures concerning the theosophical
movement. The book concludes with extensive supplemental material, including
an index of names with biographical notes on key people.

The text is important for the historian interested in the development of
Steiner's teaching and the origins of the anthroposophical movement, as well
as anyone interested in the advice and admonitions by Steiner to his early
students. For anyone interested in esotericism - and particularly the
esotericism of Rudolph Steiner - this volume must be considered a primary


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