Written in 1917 (CW 21)
“As the mortal part of the sentient human being manifests itself through rhythmic occurrences in the body, so does the immortal spirit-kernel of the soul reveal itself in the inspiration-content of intuitive consciousness.” —Rudolf Steiner (“Principles of Psychosomatic Physiology”)
The Case for Anthroposophy consists of Owen Barfield's selections from Riddles of the Soul (Vom Seelenrätseln), one of the most important written works by Rudolf Steiner, who said that the first essay was written not with a pen, but with “soul spades that want to rip away the planks that board up the world—i.e., clear away the limits to knowledge set by natural science—but want to do so through one’s inner work of the soul.”
In the second essay, Rudolf Steiner goes head-to-head with Max Dessoir, a typical materialist and foe of the spirit; Dessoir’s response to Steiner's essay is included as an appendix. Steiner also describes for the first time how the three soul forces (thinking, feeling, and volition) relate to the three organizations of the body: the nervous–sensory system; the rhythmic system; and the metabolic–limb system.
While not an easy text, The Case for Anthroposophy offers a unique exploration of inner and outer frontiers, as well as the ways in which bridges are built to connect them. This book was always an important work for early students of Spiritual Science, who worked deeply to penetrate Rudolf Steiner’s esoteric teaching.
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Introduction by Owen Barfield
I. Anthropology and Anthroposophy
II. The Philosophical Bearing of Anthroposophy
III. Concerning the Limits of Knowledge
IV. Concerning Abstraction
V. Concerning the Nature of Spiritual Perception
VI. Reply to a Favourite Objection
VII. Principles of Psychosomatic Physiology
VIII. The Real Basis of Intentional Relation
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The Chadwick Library Edition is an endeavor to republish—mostly in new or thoroughly revised English translations—several written works of Rudolf Steiner. The edition is named for the late horticulturist Alan Chadwick, whose life and work has served as inspiration to the small group from which the idea originated. Our extensive experience with special bindings led to the selection—for this “trade edition” of 750 books—of a leather spine binding, cloth sides, and a light slipcase. For the hand-numbered edition (100 books), the binding is full leather with a hand-gilt top of the pages in a fine, stiff, cloth-covered slipcase. The leather is blue calfskin, and the title stamping on the spines is in genuine gold leaf. All of this will be carried out by hand at one of the finest binders, Ruggero Rigoldi.
The Case for Anthroposophy is a translation from German of extracts selected by Owen Barfield from Vom Seelenrätseln (GA 21).
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.
Owen Barfield (1898–1997), the British philosopher and critic, has been called the “First and Last Inkling,” because of his influence and enduring role in the group known as the Oxford Inklings. The Inklings included C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. It was Barfield who first advanced the ideas about language, myth, and belief that became identified with the thinking and art of the Inklings. He is the author of numerous books, including Poetic Diction: A Study in Meaning; Romanticism Comes of Age; Unancestoral Voice; History in English Words; and Worlds Apart: A Dialogue of the 1960s. His history of the evolution of human consciousness, Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry, achieved a place in the list of the “100 Best Spiritual Books of the Century.”