Written in 1904 (CW 9)
Theosophy is a key work for gaining a solid footing in spiritual reality as described by Rudolf Steiner. It is organized into four parts. First, Steiner builds a comprehensive understanding of human nature: physical bodily nature; soul qualities; spirit being, or “I”-being; and the higher spiritual aspects. This leads us to Steiner’s description of the human being as sevenfold: 1) Material, physical body; 2) Ether body, or body of life forces; 3) Sentient soul body; 4) Mind soul; 5) Spirit-filled consciousness soul; 6) Life spirit; and 7) Spirit body.
In the next section, Steiner offers an extraordinary overview of the laws of reincarnation and the principles of karma, as we pass from one life to the next. This prepares us for the third section, in which he shows the various ways in which we live—during life on earth and after death and in the three worlds of body, soul, and spirit.
Finally, we are given a succinct description of the path of knowledge, along which each person can begin to understand the marvelous and harmonious complexity of the psycho-spiritual worlds in their fullness.
The Chadwick Library Edition represents 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 is being carried out by hand at one of the finest binders, Ruggero Rigoldi.
Theosophy is a translation of « Theosophie, Einführung in übersinnliche Welterkenntnis und Menschenbestimmung » (GA 9).
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.
Henry Babad Monges (1870–1954) was born in Texas. As a student of architecture, he received M.S. degrees from the U. C. Berkeley and also graduated from the California School of Design with a teaching certificate. At twentythree, Monges joined the Theosophical Society; twenty-one years later, he resigned over his dissatisfaction with the society’s leadership. In 1915, Henry married Madeleine (Maud) Breckenridge. That year, he also encountered Anthroposophy, to which he dedicated the rest of his life. Henry was instrumental in establishing Anthroposophy and the Anthroposophical Society in North America. In 1922, Henry and his wife Maud began publishing anthroposophic works from their home in Highland, New York, which led to founding Anthroposophic Press (now SteinerBooks). Henry worked tirelessly for the remainder of his earthly life to make Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy known in North America. He died in New York City at the age of eighty-five.
Thomas O’Keefe discovered Anthroposophy while studying philosophy at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2007. He founded the newsletter Deepening Anthroposophy in 2012, has been a student at the Seminary of the Christian Community in North America, has done editing and translating work for SteinerBooks, Temple Lodge Publishing, Wynstones Press, Occident Verlag, and Inner Work Books, and has been a coworker at the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Research into Anthroposophy in Arlesheim, Switzerland. He currently works as the editorial director of Chadwick Library Edition, a project that aims to publish new or revised translations of twelve of Rudolf Steiner’s core written works in special hardcover editions.
David Ecklund studied eurythmy at the American Eurythmy School near Mt. Shasta, California, and at the Eurythmeum in Stuttgart, Germany. He has worked as a teacher of eurythmy, languages, and Anthroposophy on three continents. His other adventures include planting a hundred-thousand trees, co-founding Youth Initiative High School and Thoreau College (both in Viroqua, Wisconsin), acting at the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre in Alaska, coaching C-suite executives in the tech industry, volunteering at Camphill communities in Eastern Europe, and starting a family. He is deeply grateful for the opportunity to work as a translator for the Chadwick Library Press, where he has contributed to the translation and revision of many of Rudolf Steiner’s books, most notably, producing new translations of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity and Theosophy.
Clifford Venho is a poet, translator, author, editor, and movement artist. He was born in New York City and studied English and creative writing at the State University of New York at New Paltz. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Dewdrop, Modern Literature, Chronogram Magazine and La Piccioletta Barca, among others. His translation of Novalis' Hymns to the Night was published by Mercury Press (2015). He is also a translator at Chadwick Library Edition, focusing on the translation of works by Austrian philosopher and spiritual thinker Rudolf Steiner. His essays on Shakespeare, the art of eurythmy and Rudolf Steiner have appeared or are forthcoming in The Decadent Review and Being Human. He teaches courses in eurythmy and poetry at Eurythmy Spring Valley, New York.