The Christology of Rudolf Steiner

Author: Martin Samson

Samson, Martin, 2023 The Christology of Rudolf Steiner, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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This thesis is the systematic presentation of Rudolf Steiner’s Christology. In the first part of the thesis, I have offered three lenses through which the theological academy can approach Steiner’s ideas. These lenses give insights into Rudolf Steiner’s scholarly, theological and systematic methods. While developing this project, it became evident that one of the significant hindrances to reading Steiner’s theological and Christological content is that he did not order his works on Christology. This thesis approaches this task from two aspects: first, by discussing Steiner and his methods, and second, by ordering and systematising Steiner’s christological insights. This thesis argues that Steiner’s theological approach is best understood as an ‘analytic-mystical’ theology and that this can stand alongside new approaches to theology emerging in the twenty-first century. Throughout the thesis I use autobiographical narratives as a method to allow the reader to reflect upon the relevance of Steiner’s insights through my life narratives and memories. My review of secondary literature is placed throughout the thesis to highlight where Steiner’s ideas meet contemporary and other theological consideration.

Chapter one provides the spiritual biographical lens where I present Steiner’s academic and intellectual development through an analytical philosophical approach to mystical or metaphysical theology. This approach answers the question: who was Rudolf Steiner, and how can a reader approach his work? Acknowledging that Steiner was not a theologian who explicitly constructed a theological model, I have, in chapter two, developed a second lens through which I approach his theological work. I have defined both his hermeneutical key and conceptual theological model. Presenting the systematic aspect of his Christology will be the focus of chapter three as the third lens to consider. In chapter four, I apply Steiner’s esoteric insights and methods to the connection he offers between Christianity and reincarnation and how this might influence christological doctrine.

Part two offers three chapters on the pre-earthly work of Christ, the incarnation, and eschatological aspects, including soteriology and the pleroma of Christ. Throughout the thesis, there is an attempt to balance the terminology and language used by Rudolf Steiner in his theosophical and anthroposophical imagery with theological and scientific language usages. I have used christological language and grammar that is readable by both the academy and a person of faith more generally. This process has been a journey of choosing between complex anthroposophical detail, theological and scientific thought and reformulation, all of which add to the complexity and length of the thesis.

Keywords: Rudolf Steiner, Christology, Anthroposophy

Subject: Theology thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2023
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Nicola Hoggard Creegan