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Title A very moral minority: an investigation of the influence of Rudolf Steiner's esoteric Weltanschauung (worldview) on the purpose and principles of Waldorf education
Publication Date
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher Macquarie University

Bibliography: pages 316-340.

1. Introduction  – 2. In search of the stone of love - the development of Rudolf Steiner's Esoteric world view (Weltanschauung)  – 3. Worlds apart - scholarly perspectives relating to Steiner's Esoteric Weltanschauung  – 4. The foundations of a moral community  – 5. The Waldorf school - an education for the new age of light  – 6. Modern Waldorf school education - looking for the angel  – 7.

Waldorf or Steiner Schooling is recognised worldwide as the brainchild of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), noted as one of Germany's leading twentieth century spiritual researchers and mystics. The doctrine and meditative discipline of Anthroposophy or Anthroposophical Spiritual Science, carefully crafted by Steiner from ancient Christian beliefs and the teachings of Rosicrucianism have been acknowledged as forming the basis of the work carried out in the Waldorf School (Freie Waldorfschule) opened in the German township of Stuttgart in 1919. Prior to this study there had been no attempt to enter the so-called "enchanted wood" (Ahern, 1984, p. 101) of Steiner's esoteric worldview and synthesize it in a way that would make it possible to define the linkages between it and Waldorf education. The research therefore set out to draw together the complex strands of Steiner's particular form of esoteric scholarship and identify its linkages with the purpose of education and the key principles relating to the methodological praxis and teaching content he devised for the original school.  – The initial focus of the research was to establish the broad parameters of Steiner's theories using original sources as far as practicable. This was followed by an exploration of the nexus between what transpired to be a radically different perspective on reality, the social system he believed would counter the rise of socialism in the post-war years and the educational practices he devised to bring his ideas to fruition. In order to establish the persistence of Steiner's ideological groundwork and its application in the Waldorf school classroom the research investigated contemporary practices through reviewing the literature in relationship to selected aspects of the curriculum and pedagogy. The study placed particular emphasis on the primary years of schooling.  – Steiner's epistemology and theories dedicated to unveiling the spirit in human consciousness were shown to "fit" the currently accepted model of esotericism as defined by Faivre (1994). They were also demonstrated to provide the foundation for Steiner's educational philosophy. The principal objective of education as Steiner perceived it was to prepare the child's bodily "temple" for possession by the spirit which would lead to a lifetime of moral thought and action in the image of the Christ archetype. As such, Steiner saw education as a "salvation" and current teachers in Waldorf schools have referred to their task as preparing the child to become a vessel of the Solar Christ. The methodological practices Steiner devised for the Waldorf School were found to be…

Subjects/Keywords Steiner, Rudolf  – Views on education; Steiner, Rudolf  – Influence; Waldorf method of education; Education  – Philosophy; Anthroposophy; Weltanschauung; esoteric; Rudolf Steiner; Waldorf education; purpose; principles
Contributors Macquarie University. Department of Education
Language en
Rights Copyright disclaimer: http://www.copyright.mq.edu.au ; Copyright Sheila Kathleen Curson 2013. ; Tables in Appendix III and IV were suppresed due to copyright reasons
Country of Publication au
Record ID handle:1959.14/288479
Other Identifiers mq:30962; 2120096
Repository macquarie-phd
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2020-09-17