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Sun at Midnight: The Rudolf Steiner Movement and Gnosis in the West Paperback – December 31, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ahern's book is a general overview of the Steiner movement... He examines Steiner's life, his cosmology and the influences that led to his supposedly Christian version of Gnosticism. Ahern also looks at Steiner spin-offs such as Biodynamic agriculture, Waldorf (Steiner) education, Camphill Homes and "Christian Community" churches, showing how they are all based on Steiner's beliefs." Creation Research Society Quarterly, Winter 2011 "Geoffrey Ahern's 'Sun at Midnight' is a balanced and professional look at Rudolf Steiner and his cult 'Anthroposophy.' Among the thousands of books about Waldorf education and Anthroposophy, this is one of a very few written with an objective viewpoint from outside of the cult...Laced within Ahern's comprehensive approach to this difficult subject are astute observations and wry comments such as 'Anthroposophical science is not about applying "Occam's razor"' in reference to Steiner's elaborate pseudoscience...Anyone considering enrolling their child ina Waldorf School would do well to read Ahern's book first, especially given the well-known lack of transparency of the Waldorf schools." Dan Dugan, Secretary of PLANS, Inc., September 2011 'Ahern's book is extremely informative - indeed, it is fascinating...SUN AT MIDNIGHT is inviting and accessible...nearly indispensable reading for anyone who wants a balanced, informative, and sensible...examination of Rudolf Steiner and his brainchildren.' Roger Rawlings, https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/sun-at-midnight

About the Author

Geoffrey Ahern is Fellow of the Centre for Leadership Studies of the University of Exeter. His areas of research involve the functioning of organisations, communities and the inner city. He studied law at Oxford University and gained a PhD in sociology of religion at London School of Economics. The authorâ s publications include the previous edition of Sun at Midnight and Inner City God, co-authored with Grace Davie.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Lutterworth Press; Rev Exp edition (December 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0227172930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0227172933
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,198,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ahern's long-awaited 2nd edition includes recent statistical data that I find useful. Unfortunately, he seems to have skipped over much of the Anthro news in the past two decades. Research and publicity - some from within the movement - tell of the racist controversy at the foundation of Anthroposophy and questionable marketing by those who promote Waldorf/Steiner education. Ahern barely touches that information and, to my eyes, minimises such things as "allegations." For example, his explanation of Anthroposophy during the Nazi regime completely misses recently published research on that topic and his exposure of the sect's clandestine First Class misses the recent court ruling in Germany removing the copyright protection from its secret texts which are now published (in German) on the web.

I was left wondering just who the book is aimed at? It seems to be written for academics - fine . . . but if a wider audience is to be reached it would need to be much less heavy. I worry that a book holding so much keenly needed information may not elicit enough response from potential Waldorf (Steiner School) parents to help them and their children avoid the confusion and disappointment that many families experience in these schools.

That said, Ahern's book is useful and worth reading, especially as very few such books are published outside the cult of Rudolf Steiner. The Sun at Midnight is not an easy read but well worth the effort.
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Rudolf Steiner is largely unknown except within the circle of his devoted followers. One consequence is that almost everything written about Steiner and his teachings comes from within that circle. Much of it amounts to uncritical celebration. Finding balanced, reliable works about Steiner is difficult.

Geoffrey Ahern has helped fill the void with his book SUN AT MIDNIGHT (James Clark & Co., 2009). Ahern, a Fellow of the Center for Leadership Studies, Exeter University (in the U.K.), has carefully researched the Steiner movement, which centers on Anthroposophy -- the cult-like religion Steiner created -- and Waldorf schools, educational institutions that have proliferated around the world, working subtly to spread the Anthroposophical faith.

SUN AT MIDNIGHT is too short. At 279 pages, it cannot fully explore the work of a man who published many books and delivered thousands upon thousands of lectures on a stunningly wide array of subjects. Nonetheless, Ahern's book is extremely informative -- indeed, it is fascinating. Anyone who is attracted to Anthroposophy, Waldorf schools (also called Steiner schools), biodynamic agriculture, Anthroposophical medicine, or any of the other offshoots of Steiner's thinking, should read it.

The brevity of the book has one great advantage: SUN AT MIDNIGHT is inviting and accessible in ways that a massive tome would not be. The writing is clear and concise, if somewhat dry. Most readers may find that they need to pause often, struggling with the strange concepts in and around Steiner's occult belief system. But because the book is short, it is unintimidating.

Ahern makes a few minor errors, as virtually anyone will who attempts to summarize Steiner's vast, occult, murky, and sometimes self-contradictory canon.
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Format: Paperback
This is an unbiased, must read for any prospective Waldorf or Camphill parent. If I had read this book, just the index alone, I would have known Waldorf education was not a good fit for our family. This book is a synopsis on Anthroposophy and all it's activities. This book will help families make an informed decision for their children. Waldorf works well for some families but for others it's a disaster.

Racism, Lucifer, Ahriman? It's all explained and indexed for easy reference. About time. Bravo!
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... true, it's an academic treatise, and maybe a bit tough going if you aren't fascinated with understanding cults and esoteric movements from the outside. The book is full of fascinating information, though. From inside this movement, where Rudolf Steiner is revered as a guru, master seer, visionary, initiate, leader of humanity, etc., it is difficult to glean understanding of the man or his movement in historical context. His followers think he was clairvoyant, which tends to translate, in practical terms, as "He could do no wrong." Ahern's book is one of very few, in English, to examine Steiner and his movement objectively, albeit more or less sympathetically.

If you want something a little easier and more fun, try Anthony P. Norse's recent thriller "Souls of Terror." Also chock full of anthroposophical lore and intrigue, and a painless way to learn.

SOULS OF TERROR - A New Age Thriller
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