Document Type




Format of Original

33 p.

Publication Date



University of California Press

Source Publication

Nova Religio

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1525/nr.2008.11.3.4


With its origins in modern Theosophy, Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy is built around a racial view of human nature arranged in a hierarchical framework. This article examines the details of the Anthroposophical theory of cosmic and individual redemption and draws out the characteristic assumptions about racial and ethnic difference that underlie it. Particular attention is given to textual sources unavailable in English, which reveal the specific features of Steiner’s account of “race evolution” and “soul evolution.” Placing Steiner’s worldview in its historical and ideological context, the article highlights the contours of racial thinking within a prominent alternative spiritual movement and delineates the central role of a racially configured conception of evolution within Anthroposophy past and present.


Published version. Nova Religio, Vol. 11, No. 3 (February 2008): 4-36. DOI. © 2008 by University of California Press. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by the Regents of the University of California/on the University of California Press for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on JSTOR ( or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center, Used with permission.