Here is a compact, accessible, illuminating introduction to the basic writings of the great modern spiritual teacher who has been an immense influence on contemporary education, literature, art, science, and philosophy. Robert McDermott offers selections from sixty of Rudolf Steiner's published works, showing the extraordinary range, vision, and power of his thought. In his introduction McDermott recounts Steiner's life and work, from his childhood and education to his work as a natural scientist, philosopher, scholar, educator, artist, interpreter of culture, and seer. He places Steiner in relation to major traditions of thought and explores the reasons why. Although Steiner is credited with major cultural contributions and as the founder of the worldwide Waldorf school movement, he remains remarkably little known by both the academic community and the general public. Selections from Steiner's writings are presented in five chapters with introductory commentaries: Knowledge, Nature, and Spirit: early writings (1894-1904) on philosophy of nature, spiritual thinking, and the knowledge of higher worlds; Spiritual Anthropology: on Steiner's theory of human nature as a combination of the physical, etheric, soul-life, and spiritual; Historical Vision: Steiner's interpretation of history from Egyptian and Buddhist culture, to the Greeks and the modern age; Esoteric Christianity: Steiner's esoteric interpretation of the Christ event and Christian revelation; Society and Education: on social philosophy and education, of particular releveance to contemporary issues. THE ESSENTIAL STEINER is an invaluable compendium and an accessible introduction to the foundational works of Anthroposophy.