Various Items (english)

Racist / Anti-Semitic Tendencies in Anthroposophy?

The “scientific research” methods of present day opponents of anthroposophy

In connection with the repeated, rehashed claims that Rudolf Steiner’s writings contain racist and anti-Semitic comments, various opponents of Anthroposophy have recently put in the pillory yet again the following statement: “Judaism as such has long since lived itself out and no longer has legitimacy within modern national life. The fact that it has nevertheless preserved itself is a flaw of world history, the consequences of which could not be avoided”. This passage is taken from an essay written by Steiner in 1888 about Robert Hamerling’s epic poem, Homunkulus, in which he defends Hamerling against the accusations raised concerning anti-Semitism following publication of the epic.

Taken in context, the cited comment refers to nothing more than the idea of a self-contained national entity—rejected by many Jews at that time—versus the complete assimilation of the Jewish nation “into modern national life” which many Jews had accomplished previously, over the course of centuries. Already in March 2000, Der Europäer corrected the misinterpretation of this and other passages by Steiner.*

The methods employed by most opponents at that time and also today can be described with the following analogy: Someone writes down the name “Douglas”; someone else comes along and claims that this name must be “taken out of circulation” because every person called by this name would be offended—for the name contains the elements D, O and G which undisputedly spell “DOG”! Using precisely this method, passages of Steiner’s writings are arbitrarily cited out of context and presented as offensive. There is no difference in the level of operation. Those who work with such methods cannot claim scientific credibility or the right to censor Steiner’s writings.

* See (in German)   «Neuere Tendenzen zu geistiger Rückständigkeit…», Thomas Meyer, März 2000)