Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, April 24, 1917:
“In conclusion I should like to say in defence of the Stoics that they strove for a league of nations, embracing the whole of mankind, which would end war and racial hatred. I need hardly say that in this respect the Stoics rose superior to the often inhuman prejudices of their time — and even of later generations.”
NOTES BY TRANSLATORNote 1. Clement of Alexandria (301–232 B.C.) was head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria, a training school for catechumens. In the conflict between pistis (faith) and gnosis (knowledge) he favoured the latter and was close to the Gnostics in that he supported Platonism and the allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures. He believed in the idea of the “Disciplina Arcani”, the withholding of higher knowledge from those unfitted to receive it, which was common to all ancient Mystery teaching. Origen (A.D. 186–253) became head of the Catechetical School. Nurtured in neo-Platonism through the influence of Ammonius Saccus. Adjudged to be a heretic by the fifth Ecumenical Council. He accepted the theory of pre-existence, free will and the necessity of grace. He also used symbol and allegory in his exegesis. He wrote commentaries on nearly every work in scripture. His crowning work was Contra Celsum who attacked Christianity on moral and intellectual grounds. Book VI of Eusebius Ecclestical History is devoted to him. See also Appendix I in the perceptive commentary of A. P. Shepherd and Mildred Robertson Nicoll, in The Redemption of Thinking (Hodder & Stoughton).Note 2. The systematic destruction of pagan temples began under Constantine. Out of expediency the emperors remained neutral in the conflict between Christian and pagan cults. But the Christian monks not only incited the populace to pillage, but were themselves the first to burn and pillage the temples and to ransack trophies, statues and anything of value. It was during the outburst of iconoclasm that the famous library in the temple of Serapis was destroyed in A.D. 391.Note 3. Irenaeus, born in Asia, heard St. Polycarp in his youth. The date of his death is unknown. His chief work was Adversus Haereses, c.179, an attack upon the Gnostics and the principal heresies.Note 4. Herman Grimm (1828–1901), son of Wilhelm Grimm who with his brother Jacob collected and edited the Nursery and Household Tales. Herman was an art historian who wrote works on Goethe, Dante, Shakespeare, Raphael and Michelangelo.Note 5. Hebbel (1813–63), poet and dramatist. Tragedy, according to Hebbel arises out of conflict. Innovators, leaders of new movements, men of original mind, representatives of new principles, though they may lead to the amelioration of society, are doomed to destruction. This was the tragedy of Christ. The first and last representative of a movement, he declared, is either tragic or comic.Note 6. Franz Brentano (1838–1917). An Austrian philosopher, ordained 1864, but was unable to accept the doctrine of papal infallibility and relinquished his clerical status. Professor of Philosophy in Wurzburg 1872 and taught at the University of Vienna 1874–95. Aristoteles and seine Weltanschauung (1911) was a re-assessment of Aristotelian philosophy. Brentano attempted to revise Aristotle's logic and psychology from the standpoint of empiricism. Brentano believed in the existence of a personal and immortal soul. (See D. Kraus, Franz Brentano, 1919, and H. O. Eaton, The Austrian Philosophy of Values, 1930.)Note 7. Brooks Adams (1848–1927), also wrote The Dream and the Reality, 1917. Predicted that by the mid-twentieth century the two great Powers in the world would be America and Russia. American prosperity would contribute to the decay of American democracy because great wealth exercises power without responsibility.