"Uprooted is the garden's royal tree"
Image for "Uprooted is the garden's royal tree"

F.B. Steiner nach der Rückkunft aus Jerusalem. Prag, 1932. © Wallstein Verlag

Sunday, 25 October, 2015 - 20:30

"Uprooted is the garden's royal tree"

Franz Baermann Steiner (1909-1952) envisioned a solution for post-World War II Palestine as a bi-national state for Jews and Arabs along the lines of an Indian caste-system. Sander Kalverda's talk will unearth the roots of these ideas from Steiner's earliest explorations in western and eastern mysticism in Prague as a lead up to their flowering when Zionism got paired with his anthropological studies in Oxford.

doors 19:30 | start 20:00 | 5 EUR | @facebook

Can one solve religiopolitical conflicts by coming to an understanding of each other's socio-religious practices and the mystical grounds contained within them? Franz Baermann Steiner (1909-1952), grown up in the circles of German-speaking secular-Jewish Prague, in the prime of his intellectual life envisioned a solution to post-World War II Palestine as a bi-national state for Jews and Arabs along the lines of an Indian caste-system. In a letter to Gandhi he wrote that if the Jews, instead of going to a Europe hostile to them, had gone to live in India they would have served the God of all mankind together with the Hindus.
      This talk will seek to unearth the roots of Steiner's oriental Judaism: how his reading of eastern and western mysticism in his adolescence opened up orientalist esoteric circles for him in Prague, how his visit to Jerusalem spawned his particular form of Asiatic Zionism, and how in Oxford these elements got reworked through a lens of anthropology and found literary expression in both poems and aphorisms. Following these biographical leads from Ulrich van Loyen's Exil und Verwandlung, this talk seeks to delve deeper into the mystical grounds of Steiner's religious and political views.
      Guiding in this endeavor will be an aphorism he wrote in 1947, in which he describes the tree of knowledge as having its roots in heaven and equates this with the figure of an inverted tree used by the 16th century German Christian mystic Jacob Böhme and the seminal text of Indian spirituality, the Bhagavad Gita.

Sander Kalverda is an independent scholar of religion and philosophy of god(s) with focal points on the history of mysticism and western esotericism. Sometimes his lectures sidestep into performance art and include titles such as: "Divine Madness: for the Love(rs) of God(s)", "The Gods Are Also Here" and a whimsical "Introduction to Everything".



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