Lecture 8 of 17.
Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, March 27, 1917:
In the course of these lectures I shall be obliged to draw your attention again and again to a characteristic of our inquiry that must pervade every aspect of Spiritual Science today. We must endeavour to ensure that the concepts, ideas and representations that we form and with which we live, are not only firmly grounded in logic, but also in reality. We must strive for ideas that are steeped in reality. In the matter of our inquiries which have a specific end in view — I will indicate this presently — it will not be superfluous to remind you that an idea may be true in a certain sense and yet fail to reach down to reality. Of course what we really mean by ideas steeped in reality will only emerge gradually, but one may arrive at an understanding of such ideas by means of simple analogies. I propose therefore by way of introduction to use an analogy to illustrate my meaning.
Original Notes:Note 1. Numerals in brackets in the texts refer to Notes by the translator at the end of each lecture.Note 2. In Spiritual Science the first level of higher consciousness is given the name of “Imagination” or “Imaginative Knowledge”. It is the result of inwardly strengthened thinking, giving rise to a consciousness filled with living images or pictures.
NOTES BY TRANSLATORNote 1. Cardinal Acton — Charles Januarius Acton (1803–47) Cardinal 1842. Uncle of the famous historian, Lord Acton (1834–1902).Note 2. The dating of the Synoptic Gospels by Protestant theologians is as follows: Matthew, A.D. 70–75; Mark, circa A.D. 65; Luke, A.D. 50–55; and John, post A.D. 100. Roman Catholic theologians give the following dates: Matthew, post A.D. 70; Mark, A.D. 65–75; Luke, A.D. 70–80; John, A.D. 100.Note 3. Louis Claude de Saint-Martin (1743–1803). Under the pseudonym of “The Unknown Philosopher” wrote on occultism and mysticism. Influenced by Pasqually, Swedenborg and Boehme. Alleged to have founded a Martinist Rite, a modification of the Rite des Elus Coëns. Was a firm opponent of the prevailing materialism of his day and emphasised the need for faith and good works. In later life withdrew from Lodge activities into mysticism.Note 4. Gnosticism. The word is derived from the Greek gnosis — knowledge. The name “Gnostics” is used to designate widely different sects which flourished in the second and third centuries. They speculated on problems of human destiny and professed to teach a knowledge of God and man. Our knowledge of Gnosticism was for long confined to criticisms by its opponents: Justin, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius, St. Epiphenius and others. The leading exponents of Gnosticism were the Ophites, Simon Magnus, Carpocrates, Basildes, Marcion and Valentinus. Many documents are lost or were destroyed as heretical. Today our knowledge is based upon the Pistis Sophia (fourth century), the Bruce Codex (fifth century), the Codex Berulensis (now lost), the Manichaean writings found at Turfan in Chinese Turkistam (early in this century), the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic writings in Coptic translation discovered in 1945 at NagHammadi in Egypt, the ancient Chenoboskion. Valuable for further study are: The Gnostics and their remains, ancient and mediaeval, C. W. King, 1887, with descriptive plates of talismans, gems, sigils, etc; The Secret Book of the Egyptian Gnostics, Jean Doresse (from the French), 1960. Very important: The Gnostic Religion, Hans Jonas, Paperback 1963.In Zeitgeschichtliche Betrachtungen, Erster Teil, lectures VIII and IX, Dr. Steiner tells us that Gnosis was a wisdom knowledge, a “survival of ancient wisdom derived from the old clairvoyant insight into the spiritual world. It was suppressed by dogmatic Christianity from motives of hostility to Mystery wisdom, for Gnosis declared that Christ had descended upon earth through the realms of the spiritual Hierarchies and incarnated in the physical body of Jesus which had been prepared for 30 years to receive the Christ Being.”Note 5. The eighth Ecumenical Council or the fourth Council of Constantinople, 869, condemned Photius who was responsible for the Greek schism (see filioque). A note in the German edition says that it was the abuse of the Pauline distinction between the “psychic” man and the “spiritual” man which decided the Church of Rome to reject the idea of trichotomy.Note 6. Filioque controversy. Filioque (“and the Son”) was an addition by the Western Church to the Constantinopolitan Creed, namely, that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son (called the double Procession of the Holy Ghost). This was the origin of the Greek schism and the chief ground of attack upon the Church of Rome by the Orthodox Church, which follows the Byzantine rite. Photius refused to accept the insertion of filioque in the Nicene Creed and the Photian schism finally triumphed in the Orthodox Church. The addition of filioque was first met with at the third Council of Toledo 589, and was defended by Patriarch Paulinus at the Synod of Friuli 796. When introduced into the monastery at Jerusalem by Frankish monks in 847 it met with immediate opposition from Eastern monks. It was adopted at Rome after A.D. 1000 and declared to be a dogma of faith in the fourth Lateran Council 1215.Note 7. In this context it is interesting to note that, in 1926, at an International Psychological Conference, Pavlov declared that we must abandon the misleading term “soul”. “The proper study of psychology is physiology”, he declared.Note 8. The Sadducees adhered to the letter of the law. They were the dominant priestly party and were subservient to the Roman procurators of Judaea.