Saturday, 11 July 2015

Dale Brunsvold's epic audiobook achievement of reading-aloud Rudolf Steiner

It is hard to think of anything to match Dale Brunsvold's epic enterprise in reading-aloud and recording 24 books and 116 book-length lecture series of the works of Rudolf Steiner - and making them all available online and free of charge!

Brunsvold is gifted with one of the pleasantest, smoothest and most-soothing voices since Bob Ross; so it is very difficult not to enjoy listening to him! - but the particular value of these audio-presentations comes from the fact that Steiner is such a very difficult writer to read for oneself - hearing these works read aloud is the perfect solution.


But why should a Christian engage with Rudolf Steiner at all - you might ask? The positive reasons are:

1. Steiner was a Christian - that is, his life and ideas were focused on Christ - whom he came to know through an extremely powerful mystical encounter with the event of Golgotha.

2. Steiner was a genius - one of those vastly-learned, Germanic, encyclopaedic, endlessly-productive 19th century geniuses.

3. Steiner was a mystic - and of an unusual kind, whose experiences took place not in a trance  - as is usual - but in clear consciousness, full alertness.

4. Because of the above, he had many interesting and potentially useful insights.

5. The strong impression is that Steiner was a good and honest man - well-motivated.


Why not read Steiner? Because his work can be over-elaborated, pedantic, and hard to follow. And because he expresses so many bizarre ideas of so many types - and in such a detailed and inter-connected system - that it is hard to imagine that anybody has ever believed all of them, or even been able to remember a tenth of them. These ideas are - on the one hand - impossible to believe wholly and literally; and - on the other hand - difficult to interpret symbolically.

I don't have any answer to this! I think there is something unique and valuable (although not absolutely essential) to be gained from reading Steiner - but he is one of the most all-round-difficult of all writers that are worth reading.

One book that almost anybody would enjoy, is also just about the last thing Steiner wrote (from his death bed, unfinished) is the Autobiography. So maybe that would be the best way to start - for someone who primarily wishes to get to grips with Steiner as an unique example of a world-historic genius.

Further discussion: