Christology and interpretations

From Anthroposophy

The nature of the Christ as a spiritual being is a complex question, given the multiple names and elements of information that are supplied in the Gospels, and by Rudolf Steiner's commentaries on the Gospels. A wealth of information 'snippets' are to be integrated into a cohesive frame, and to a certain extent Rudolf Steiner did supply that, but like everything also that frame has its limits and leaves many questions.

Several extended frames or versions of Christology have been put forth by people who studied all the information available and have tried to put that into a logical comprehensive and consistent framework. The difficulty is that the information supplied by the Gospels and Rudolf Steiner has to be collated and interpreted, and it is this interpretation that is the challenge and issue, because most often it is based on intellectual rational thinking and not clairvoyance (such as was the case of Rudolf Steiner's teachings).

Some questions that are typically part of the comprehensive Christology framework are:

  • how are we to interpret the 'macroscopic I' as is explained in 1912-01-09-GA130, what does it mean for the structure of the Christ?
  • how did the Son or second Logos descend down from Trinity down to our solar system?
  • how are we to understand that Christ lies at the origin of the creation of our solar system (beginning of Gospel of John)? .. and how does that relate to Creation by the three Logoi?
  • how come that Rudolf Steiner mostly starts the story of Christ on Old Sun and often calls Christ the Sun God? .. what does that imply for the phases before such as the Old Saturn planetary stage and its creation by the zodiac and Thrones?
  • how does the nature of the Mystical Lamb relate with the Logos and the other hierarchies such as the First Hierarchy?
  • why did the Christ have to come down to incarnate in a physical human being, versus having a cosmic impact on the aura and spirit of the Earth?

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These questions, and more, need clear and consistent answers for all puzzle pieces to fall into eachother.

This topic page puts forth various authors and their versions of such 'interpretative frameworks' for Christology.

The reason for this page is that we adhere to the value of conscientiousness, and take Rudolf Steiner's advice at heart that it's not because something is logical (as rational intellectual thought and reasoning), that it therefore corresponds to spiritual reality (as multiple illustrations from his clairvoyant research and investigations have shown). Therefore, we should not accept what reads as or appears logical, rather it is a good exercise for our personal discernment and imaginative and intuitive assessment to apply scrutinity to the thought forms presented.

Christology interpretations framework

1939 - Tomberg

Many people feel that Valentin Tomberg added a genuine perspective on Rudolf Steiner's christology in the 1930s. An example are the 1939 Rotterdam lectures now published in 'The Four Sacrifices of Christ and the Appearance of Christ in the Etheric'.

Tomberg has been subject of tensions and debate, most early on during his life with Willem Zeylmans (contra) and most recently with Willy Seiss (pro). We need to take abstraction of all this and not go into that, in order not to waste mental and emotional energy and get side-tracked.

See also: Polarization and polemics within the anthroposophical movement

Therefore we consider here the contents and the messages in Tomberg's work such as the reference given.

1948 - Rebholz

Basis is Maximilian Rebholz's essay 'Die Christologie Rudolf Steiners' published in 8 sections between May-48 and Jun-49.

1967-71 - Kürten

Oskar Kürten was inspired by the unique contribution of Maximilian Rebholz and followed in his footsteps with a very systematic study of all reference of RSL lectures available. He published three works. One is on the Jesus Mystery, which is not the scope here; the two other are on the 'Sun Spirit' and on 'Son, Logos and Trinity' (see references below).

1976 - Lorenzen

Iwer Thor Lorenzen's 'The 'I' Principle in Man, Earth and Cosmos' is an impressive example of genuine and original christology.

Lorenzen had this document ready on his desk when he died, it was the last thing he had worked on, and it's probably a culmination of life long study on the subject. Unfortunately it never got published in German, though there is a long story related to this. The Free Man Creator initiative took up the deciphering and checking of references and a clean English version now exists, awaiting publication.

Discussion

This page was made as an invitation for perspectives and opinions, please feel free to comment and contribute and the page will be adapted accordingly.

Note that the 'observations' below are nothing but that, and no judgement of the overall value of the work of any author, or certain elements that may be of great value taken by themselves.

1939 - Tomberg

In 'The Four Sacrifices of Christ and the Appearance of Christ in the Etheric', Valentin Tomberg lays out a scheme with a certain logical-intellectual appeal due to a symmetry based on the seven planetary stages of our solar system evolution. In this view, the Christ was already there with a sacrifice on Old Saturn for the sake of humanity's development, whereas Rudolf Steiner never mentioned this. On the contrary, as far as the development of Man is concerned: in 1903-10-30-GA089 the Second Logos is mapped to the Old Sun stage and the life-giving addition with the ether body, and the (also pre-Golgotha) sacrifices are all for the sake of the 'I' development of Man.

In the context of the development of Man, the Logos entered the stream of evolution of this solar system at the Old Sun stage, before that the Logos was in descent upto that stage. See also Christ Module 9: Trinity and Logoi and Creation by the three Logoi.

Note however that Tomberg does correctly ask the question why any planetary stage of evolution is characterized by a turn from a descent into an ascent. This is a valid question, and the answer is only given implicitly in Steiner's lectures (see Laws of the cosmic fractal (page to be added still). Whereas Tomberg rightly sees this characteristic of evolution, he does link this to the being of Christ without any further underlying support or rationale, causing confusion into the nature of the Christ being.

1976 - Lorenzen

First of all: Lorenzen is someone who has given this subject deeper contemplation that most or many authors that we have read. Here is someone with an in depth understanding who has done the contemplative work to 'work the contradictions' and 'integrate perspectives'. His writing is impressive in that he presents a comprehensive vision as a result of bold thinking. That however does not mean it is all corresponding to reality, and here we need to be very conscientious in our assessment.

Lorenzen's approach starts from looking into the meaning of the conscious I experience, and what that meant not just for man but all of the hierarchies and their evolution. In his frame (table 3 in Chapter 4), the Trinity itself evolved along with the First Hierarchy within our solar system evolution, specifically the Old Saturn stage only had the Father principle, and the Son principle developed during the Old Sun stage, followed by the Holy Spirit principle in the Old Moon stage. Thus the Earth stage now has the Trinity at the highest level.

This gives the planetary stages within our solar system more or a higher importance also for the highest spirits in creation. The implications of this way of seeing - if we take it correctly - are that the three Logoi, as presented in the GA089, are a recent development from this solar system.

The start of creation of our solar system induces an implicit assumption that the Logoi, as primordial principles, existed already before that, and gave birth to all that existed in what preceeded our solar system. We can use 1905-08-12-GA091 to put this in perspective.

As a general remark, it is important is to realize neither GA089 or GA091 were available to these authors, as they were only published in 2001 and 2018!

Nevertheless, Lorenzen takes some steps that confirm what I have come to independantly before. For example under table 3 in Chapter 4, the fact that the sacrifice of each consecutive hierarchy at each planetary stage is at the level of super-spiritual consciousness. A more correct way of putting it might be it is the shedding of buddhi, as explained in the famous lectures of 1904-11-09-GA091 and 1904-11-10-GA091, as explained in Christ Module 7 - Cosmic dimension.

The atheistic Christ myth theory

From wikipedia, on the 'Christ myth theory'

proponents of the Christ myth theory:

  • Christian Heinrich Arthur Drews (1865-1935)
    • from wikipedia:

      Drews was intrigued by the alleged influence of ancient astronomy on the origins of religion, developed by the French Volney and Dupuis and promoted throughout the 19th century. He included modern considerations on astromythical topics in some pages of his major books. The Appendix to his 1912 book The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus was an essay on the astral speculations of the Ancients in relation to Psalm 22. Hoffers notes that, in the 1921 book on The Gospel of Mark as a Witness against the Historicity of Jesus, Drews demonstrates "how Mark reflects an astromythical triple journey along the zodiac". In 1923 Drews published a general introduction into astral mythology, Der sternhimmel in der Dichtung und Religion der Alten Völker und des Christentums, eine Einführung in die Astralmythologie (The Celestial Sky in the Poetry and Religion of the Ancients and Christianity: an Introduction to Astral Mythology), and its special influence on early Christianity."

  • Andrzej Niemojewski (1864-1921)
    • God Jesus: The Sun, Moon and Stars as Background to the Gospel Stories (1996, original in DE 1910 as 'Gott Jesus im Lichte fremder und eigener Forschungen samt Darstellung der evangelischen Astralstoffe, Astralszenen und Astralsysteme')

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Iwer Thor Lorenzen: The 'I' Principle in Man, Earth and Cosmos
  • Oskar Kürten:
    • 'The Sun Spirit Christ According to Rudolf Steiner' (1967) - original: 'Der Sonnengeist Christus in der Darstellung Rudolf Steiners'
    • 'God the Son, the Logos and the Trinity' (1971) - original: 'Der Sohnesgott, der Logos und die Trinität'
  • Valentin Tomberg: 'The Four Sacrifices of Christ and the Appearance of Christ in the Etheric'
    • A series of seven lectures given by Valentin Tomberg during the summer of 1939 in Rotterdam

Various other

  • Edouard Schuré: 'L'évolution divine : du sphinx au Christ' (1911)
  • Friedrich Hiebel: 'Bibelfunde und Zeitgewissen : die Schriftrollen vom Toten Meer im Lichte der Christologie Rudolf Steiners' (1959)
  • Gerhard Wehr:
    • Christusimpuls und Menschenbild (1974)
    • Der innere Christus. Zur Psychologie des Glaubens (1993)
    • Der Christus ist der Geist der Erde (1989)
  • Willi O. Sucher: 'Cosmic christianity : the stars during the three years of Christ's ministry and practical viewpoints with regard to evolution' (1982)
  • Berthold Wulf:
    • 'Das Erdenleben Christi und die Lebensstufen der Erde : Das Evangelium und die Evolution' (1983)
    • Die Geistigkeit des Kosmos und der innere Weg des Menschen : Dreiunddreissig Kapitel Christologie (1983)
  • Rudolf Bubner: 'Christologie und Evolution ; Entwicklungsschritte vom Reich der Menschen zum Reich des Christus' (1985)
  • Friedrich Benesch:
    • 'Christus in der Gegenwart : Beiträge zur Christologie 1' (1995)
    • 'Das verborgene Gottesreich auf Erden. Beiträge zur Christologie 2' (1996)
  • Jonael Schickler: 'Metaphysics as Christology : an odyssey of the self from Kant and Hegel to Steiner' (2005)
  • Kitty Steinbuch: De christologie van Rudolf Steiner : een wegwijzer (2016)

Rudolf Steiner

  • Christologie : Anthroposophie, ein Weg zum Christusverständnis (1986, selection by Heten Wilkens)