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The Spiritual Foundation of Morality - Rudolf Steiner Anthroposophy lecturesThe Spiritual Foundation of Morality
Francis of Assisi and the Christ Impulse
3 lectures by Rudolf Steiner


In The Spiritual Foundation of Morality, Rudolf Steiner describes how preaching cannot establish morality in modern consciousness. Only by delving into the hidden foundations of life can we find its moral sources.

Originally, morality was a gift of the gods, the original inspired state of human nature, but errors, deviations, a falling away have occurred as the human being became estranged from his divine source in the course of evolution. Nevertheless, something divine still underlies human nature and provides the basis for the human experience of morality.

In ancient times, some version of the caste system ruled throughout the Indian cultures of Asia, reflecting an awareness of karmic dispensation within their religious and social structures. When this had fallen into decadence, a new forwarding impulse came with Buddha and his teaching of equality and compassion, a  teaching which was particularly suited to the evolving personal consciousness in Europe. And thus, "some centuries into the Christian era," on the shores of the Black Sea, an occult school was established where Buddha's teaching was interpenetrated with the Christian impulse. Two streams flowed out of this school: a more Buddhist stream of equality and brotherhood, and a self-sacrificing stream of Christic morality. St. Francis came from this school, strongly permeated by both Buddhistic and Christ forces.

St. Francis exemplifies morality as the middle path. We see a warrior nature transformed into the expression of mercy, compassion, and love. Rudolf Steiner shows the transformation of virtues through the evolution of consciousness and, above all, through the incarnation of Christ in the Mystery of Golgotha. Francis sought to live a Christ-like life, seeking an intense personal relationship to Christ and the Cross. Since the advent of Golgotha, morality—if it is true morality—works to build up Christ's presence as a moral force in human consciousness.


Trans: M. Gardner
3 lectures, Norrkoping, Sweden, 28 - 30 May 1912, GA155
Anthroposophic Press
96pp; paperback
ISBN: 0 88010 425 2


Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) called his spiritual philosophy 'anthroposophy', which he defined as 'the consciousness of one's humanity', and the disciplined methods of studying this he termed ‘spiritual science’.  As a highly developed clairvoyant and spiritual initiate, he spoke from his direct cognition of the spiritual world. However, he did not see his work as religious or sectarian, but rather sought to found a universal 'science of the spirit'.

His many published works (written books and lectures) - which include his research into the spiritual nature of the human being, the evolution of the world and humanity, and methods of personal development - invite readers to develop their own spiritual faculties.  He also provided indications for the renewal of many human activities, including education - both general and special - agriculture, medicine, economics, architecture, science, philosophy, religion and the arts. He wrote some 30 books and delivered over 6000 lectures across Europe, and in 1924 founded the General Anthroposophical Society which today has branches throughout the world.

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