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Mystics of the renaissance and their relation to modern thought (1911) by Rudolf Steiner PDF

Mystics of the renaissance

Mystics of the renaissance


And their relation to modern thought, including Meister Eckhart, Tauler, Paracelsus, Jacob Boehme, Giordano Bruno, and others




The matter which I am laying before the public in this book formed the content of lectures which I delivered last winter at the Theosophical Library in Berlin. I had been requested by Grafin and Graf Brockdorff to speak upon Mysticism before an audience for whom the matters thus dealt with constitute a vital question of the utmost importance. Ten years earlier I could not have ventured to fulfill such a request. 

Not that the realm of ideas, to which I now give expression, did not even then live actively within me. These ideas are already fully contained in my Philosophy of Freedom (Berlin, 1894. Emil Felber). But to give expression to this world of ideas in such wise as I do today, and to make it the basis of an exposition as is done on the following pages — to do this requires something quite other than merely to be immovably convinced of the intellectual truth of these ideas. It demands an intimate acquaintance with this realm of ideas, such as only many years of life can give. Only now, after having enjoyed that intimacy, do I venture to speak in such wise as will be found in this book.

Anyone who does not approach my world of ideas without preconceptions is sure to discover therein contradiction after contradiction. I have quite recently (Berlin, 1900. S. Cronbach) dedicated a book upon the world conceptions of the nineteenth century to that great naturalist, Ernst Haeckel, and closed with a defense of his thought- world. In the following expositions, I speak about the Mystics, from Master Eckhart to Angelus Silesius, with a full measure of devotion and acquiescence. 

Other "contradictions," which one critic or another may further count up against me, I shall not mention at all. It does not surprise me to be condemned from one side as a "Mystic" and from the other as a "Materialist." When I find that the Jesuit Father Miiller has solved a difficult chemical problem, and I therefore in this particular matter agree with him unreservedly, one can hardly condemn me as an adherent of Jesuitism without being reckoned a fool by those who have insight. Whoever goes his own road, as I do, must needs allow many a misunderstanding about himself to pass. That,  however, he can put up with easily enough. For such misunderstandings are, in the main, inevitable in his eyes, when he recalls the mental type of those who misjudge him.

I look back, not without humorous feelings, upon many a ''critical" judgment that I have suffered in the course of my literary career. At the outset, matters went fairly well. I wrote about Goethe and his philosophy. What I said there appeared to many to be of such a nature that they could file it in their mental pigeon-holes. This they did by saying: ''A work such as Rudolf Steiner's Introduction to Goethe s Writings upon Natural Science may, without hesitation, be described as the best that has been written upon this question." When, later, I published an independent work, I had already grown a good bit more stupid. For now, a meaningful critic offered the advice: 

Author: Rudolf Steiner
Publication date:1911
Translator: Bertram Keightle
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