Revelation (Greek: αποκάλυψις apokalypsis; Hebrew: גלה galah) in the religious sense refers to the unveiling of hitherto hidden spiritual facts given through supersensory experience. The revelations are conveyed either by visions or, more rarely, by auditions and usually give prophecies for the future.
Two currents of revelation existed in humanity before the Mystery of Golgotha. The ancient pagan culture had a revelation spread over the whole earth, the content of which was the primordial wisdom about nature and the universe. This revelation took place through the head organisation. On the other hand, there was the ancient Hebrew, Jewish people with their folk religion. Here the revelation took place through the rest of the human organisation. Man himself formed the content of this revelation. The later Gnostic conception of the Mystery of Golgotha was a remnant of the ancient pagan wisdom. The Jewish revelation spilled over into Roman Catholic Christianity and was proclaimed in the churches of the Occident. The last remnants of ancient pagan wisdom flowed into the natural science that blossomed with the modern age. This resulted in the inability of natural science to comprehend man and the inability of theology to comprehend nature. The consequence of this was that agnosticism became more and more widespread.
„The old pagan culture, which proceeds in various ways from the mysteries of antiquity, as I have described it in my "Occult Science in Outline", bears in a certain respect a uniform character. What is this unified character? This unified character consists in the fact that there is a primordial wisdom of humanity, that a primordial revelation has actually taken place over the whole Earth. Why was this primal revelation able to take place? It could take place because in the old times of earthly development the human head, if I may say so, was not yet so far advanced as it is in our time or as it was at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. It was still alive in the sense I explained to you yesterday. He was still filled with the possibility of having dreams that were not connected with that which alone gives the earth experience and the earth experience. He was able to evoke in himself again what man had in old dream experiences - that is, in a dimmed consciousness compared to ours - in the old lunar time [...]
There was a wisdom that dealt with nature, but also with the nature of the cosmos. The ancient Hebrew revelation was placed in this life of humanity. If you bring the ancient Hebrew revelation before your soul, it has a certain peculiarity. It is quite different from the pagan revelations of wisdom that spread around it. To a certain extent, it disdained to contain within itself the wisdom about nature and the universe. Basically, it contained only one thing about nature and the universe: God created them with man, and man must serve God in the world. The entire ancient Hebrew revelation is aimed at showing man how he can serve his Yahweh-God. What is appealed to in this ancient Hebrew revelation? - That which is not appealed to is what the old heathen revelation has: the main organisation, which could still evoke memories of the old moon time. This could not be appealed to in the Hebrew revelation. It had to appeal to the rest of the human organisation. But remember what I said yesterday: This other organisation of man can understand and absorb precisely because it is solar, that which comes from the Moon. That which comes from the moon is that which leads in the extreme to illusions, to that which can reveal itself within the human being. But this is the content of the ancient Hebrew revelation. It is first of all only acted upon by man. In this ancient Hebrew revelation, the human being is completely at the centre [...]
The rest of the ancient wisdom was revealed in the Gnostic conception of the event of Golgotha. That which was owed to the Jewish revelation became more and more the content of the Catholic grasp, the Roman Catholic grasp of the Mystery of Golgotha. And now, in order to grasp anything at all of the Mystery of Golgotha, the diversions had to be made through these two world currents [...]
The Jewish proclamation was fresher and more intense. But it had no worldly wisdom. It spoke only of man and of commandments to man. It placed the human being at the centre of the world view. It was propagated in the churches of the West. The last remnants of pagan wisdom, whose origins were no longer recognised, remained as concepts for what is now scientific experience. With the last remnants of old pagan wisdom, Galileo, Giordano Bruno and Copernicus understood what was available in the form of new experiences of the world. No wonder that this had to gradually become something very unsatisfactory. One had only known how to apply the last abstract remnants of old pagan wisdom to that which one obtained through the new means of natural science. And from what was known about man from the Jewish revelation, there was no bridge to this wisdom. And so it went on, and so it has lived on into our own day. On the one hand, we have a science that works only with the very last fragments of the old pagan wisdom and that finds no means of understanding the human being, which therefore culminated in the 19th century in renouncing the understanding of the actual human being and only understanding what apparently results when one sees the human being as the last consequence of the animal series. Not to comprehend man, but to comprehend the highest animal and call that man, that became the ideal of this science working with the last fragments of the pagan.“ (Lit.:GA 196, p. 39ff)
- Rudolf Steiner: Geistige und soziale Wandlungen in der Menschheitsentwickelung, GA 196 (1992), ISBN 3-7274-1960-1 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
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