Navigating anthroposophical resources

From Anthroposophy

The student of spiritual science has a wealth of resources available, sometimes it takes time to discover or find some orientation in this wide landscape. There are indexes, lexicons, audio versions of the lectures, original typoscripts and unpublished lectures, blackboard drawings, reference search engines, library databases, etc


Anthroposophical resources center around Rudolf Steiner's contribution consisting of the Gesamtausgabe or Collected Works (green), however in the last century a tremendous addition of secondary literature has extended and enriched this (blue). For this however there is little or no overview. This is why the Free Man Creator project started the SoSoG initiative (Standing on the Shoulders of Giants), to provide a selected overview on secondary literature. Currently only anthro libraries give an extensive overview.

The schema below gives a navigation aid for the different types of resources available:

The GA/CW is at the bottom left. However lectures have not been published always in GA/CW format but often as thematic selections. This is definitely the case for secondary literature which is theme or topic-based, with the exception of 'study guides' specific to a certain GA volume (eg for Outline Esoteric Science, or the agriculture course). Good study materials are the study essays, such as eg Maximilian Rebholz' work, or more recently the booklets by Peter Selg. The two green boxes on the right represent 'access tools', more on those in the next section below.

Indexes and Lexicons

The table below provides an overview of indexes and lexicons. It is most probably not exhaustive, but still gives an overview of some pioneer work and milestone references. For online links see the Study Tools page

The pioneers were Adolf Arenson, who discussed with Rudolf Steiner in 1918 and published his 'Leitfaden' in 1925, and Carlo Picht. Apparently the turbulence in the anthroposophical society, in Germany, and the world in period from the 1930's until after the second world war, caused a period with few remaining milestones or advances in this area.

We have to wait for the 1950-60s for the second pioneers: Hans Schmidt and Hella Wiesberger, and this also meant the start of the Gesamtausgabe project.

For English reference resources - besides Allen's 140 page bibliography in 1956, we have to wait until the 1970s with Haslett and Babbel/Giddens.

Probably the most important multi-volume reference work - that was used for decades afterwards - was published by Emil Motteli in the 1980s. Examples of exceptional efforts in the period 1990-2010 were by Christian Karl and Urs Schwendener. The latter are also available online now.

With the advance of technology - computing and internet - things quickly changed as database and full text search enabled new ways of working. These were put online too, James Stewart's database started in 1982 and went online as early as 1992, in Germany Michael Schmidt (steinerquellen later steinerdatenbank) and Thierry Cassegrain (Uranosarchiv) were pioneers to bring Steiner's work online (also the work that had not been published in the GA), and Wolfgang Peter started his german wiki site in 2004.

What is next?

With the initiative GA2025, to have all of the Gesamtausgabe published by 2025, hopefully the contribution of Rudolf Steiner will be fully available.

We now have all materials available digitally with search tools and databases, so students have an overview that never existed before. Please do stand still on this point and appreciate the priviledge.

At the same time two things are missing or do not really exists, but they are being worked:

- an integrated edition of the Collected Works: preferably digital and in english, integrated meaning consolidated contents-wise. Here wiki projects like anthrowiki and this site, merged with the contents of lexicons like those by Schwendener and Motelli, fit in.

- a comprehensive overview on anthroposophical secondary literature and spiritual scientific literature at large, because we are one century later and there is so much more today than in 1925. This has to be living, and include and 'connect in' the work being done today.

The Free Man Creator initiative works on both these fronts.

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