Some of Rudolf Steiner’s statements concerning race


“... we can understand that in future ... we shall have to travel other routes than those involving race. We must be clear about the fact that soul development and race development are two different things.”

Die Welträtsel und die Anthroposophie (The riddle of the universe and Anthroposophy) (GA 54), Dornach 1983, lecture of 9 November 1905.


“It was improper to talk in Theosophy about races as though they would last forever ... Races came into being in the same way that everything else comes into being, and races will pass away just as everything else passes away.”

The Theosophy of the Rosicrucians (GA 99), London 1953, lecture of 5 June 1907.


“...whereas there is no question of the earliest humanity of the post-Atlantean era [from approx. 10,000 BC], the ancient Indians, being so different from ourselves that one could use the term ‘race’ to describe it. One always has to hold fast to the continuity in ‘theosophy’ and thus can often not avoid linking [what one wants to say] with the old concept of races. But one all too easily generates the wrong picture by using the word ‘race’ because one fails to notice that the theme according to which humanity is divided up is today far more intimate than that which is linked with the expression denoting race.”

The Gospel of St John (GA 103), New York 1962, lecture of 30 May 1908.


“For this reason we speak of ages of culture in contra-distinction to races. All that is connected with the idea of race is still a relic of the epoch preceding our own, namely the Atlantean. We are now living in the period of cultural ages ... Today the idea of culture has superseded the idea of race. Hence we speak of the ancient Indian culture, of which the culture announced to us in the Vedas is only an echo. The ancient and sacred Indian culture was the first dawn of post-Atlantean civilization; it followed immediately upon the Atlantean epoch.”

The Apocalypse of St John (GA 104), London 1977, lecture of 20 June 1908.


“When people speak of races today they do so in a way that is no longer quite correct; in theosophical literature, too, great mistakes are made on this subject ... Even in regard to present humanity, for example, it no longer makes sense to speak simply of the development of races. In the true sense of the word this development of the races applies only to the Atlantean epoch ... thus everything that exists today in connection with the

[different] races are relics of the differentiation that took place in Atlantean times. We can still speak of races, but only in the sense that the real concept of race is losing its validity.”
Universe, Earth and Man (GA 105), London 1987, lecture of 16 August 1908.


“While many people certainly believe they have freed themselves fully from all tribal and racial connections and are simply “human” and nothing else, we have to wonder what made this possible for them. After all, were the not given their place in the world by their family, and have not their lineage, nation and race made them what they are? Their lineage, nation and race have taught and educted them. The owe their ability to transcend tribal and racial prejudices to this education: lineage, nation and race have enabled them to become the light-bearers and benefactors of their tribe and even their race. Thus, even though these people claim to be “simply human”, they owe the ability to make these claims to the spirits of their communities. In fact, only when we follow the path to inner knowledge will we experience what it really means to have left behind all tribal, national, and racial connections and to be abandoned by the spirits of nation, race and tribe.”

How to Know Higher Worlds New York 1994 (GA 10)