Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!


From: Detlef Hardorp
Date: Mon Feb 23, 2004 10:04 am
Subject: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hello dear A-T members,

I have just read Peter Staudenmaier's introductory mail and want to comment on one thing (which is why I just joined the list today). It concerns an ERROR OF TRANSLATION in the infamous Steiner quote of 1888. The error is also on the PLANS website: A negation is missing in the first sentence! Here it is in German (the "
nichts" in red was omitted in the PLANS translation):

„Es ist gewiss nicht zu leugnen, dass heute das Judentum noch immer als geschlossenes Ganzes auftritt und als solches in die Entwickelung unserer gegenwärtigen Zustände vielfach eingegriffen hat, und das in einer Weise, die den abendländischen Kulturideen nichts weniger als günstig war. Das Judentum als solches hat sich aber längst ausgelebt, hat keine Berechtigung innerhalb des modernen Völkerlebens, und dass es sich dennoch erhalten hat, ist ein Fehler der Weltgeschichte, dessen Folgen nicht ausbleiben konnten.“

In English, this is correctly translated as follows:

“It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a self-contained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was nothing less than favorable to Western cultural ideas. But Jewry as such has outlived itself and has no justification within the modern life of nations. The fact that it nevertheless has been preserved is a mistake of world history which could not fail to have consequences.”

(You can find the correct translation on page 53 of the pdf file at http://www.waldorfschule.info/aktuell/anti.pdf.)

Some more general comments:

The second sentence remains open to misinterpretation and problematic. But the juxtaposition is important! Steiner's thinking is not linear, but dialectic. He also makes the following unequivocal statement in the same essay: “But the Jews need Europe and Europe needs the Jews”, which doesn't exactly put him in the ball park of the third Reich.

These passages were written by the 27 year old Steiner in a literary magazine in a review of Hamerling's "Homunculus". Steiner is supporting Hamerling against other critics. It is not always clear where Steiner is defending ideas of Hamerling and where they are his own. But it is quite clear that Steiner favored assimilation and did not think much of the Zionist movement, which he saw as coming about as a reaction to anti-Semitism.

It must, of course, always be remembered that this was all before the advent of the Holocaust. No one can say how Steiner would have viewed the situation had he lived until 1945 or 1948.

Still: Steiner's second sentence remains problematic. But it must be seen in light of the first, i.e. that Jewry "has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was nothing less than favorable to Western cultural ideas." And it still does! If you look at cultural development in West and East alike: much of it is inspired and comes to life through the Jewish element!

As much as I am personally in favour of assimilation: let's not overdo it. Cultural diversity is an asset that will and should not get totally leveled out through assimilation. The importance of individual impulses will certainly increase in future. But other impulses (including the Jewish) will remain. It has already survived for thousands of years, it is here to stay for some time to come. That's great, because I love it!

Detlef Hardorp

[Original Message:]

Subject: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] agreement and disagreement
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2004 22:16:34 +0100 (CET)
From: Peter Staudenmaier

Hello anthroposophy tomorrow list,

I've just joined your list today (....)

In closing, for now I would like to offer several quotes from Steiner's published works on the topic, chosen from the three phases I outlined above:

"It certainly cannot be denied that Jewry today still behaves as a closed totality, and that it has frequently intervened in the development of our current state of affairs in a way that is anything but favorable to European ideas of culture. But Jewry as such has long since outlived its time; it has no more justification within the modern life of peoples, and the fact that it continues to exist is a mistake of world history whose consequences are unavoidable. We do not mean the forms of the Jewish religion alone, but above all the spirit of Jewry, the Jewish way of thinking."

(Steiner in 1888: Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Literatur 1884-1902 p. 152)

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Mon Feb 23, 2004 11:09 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hi Detlef,

by my reading, the phrase "nichts weniger als günstig" means "anything but favorable". You seem to be saying that "nichts weniger" means more or less the same thing as "nicht weniger", but in fact the two phrases have opposite meanings, as I'm sure you'll realize once you think about it for a moment. If I say to you "Ich möchte nichts weniger, als Sie provozieren", I am saying that the last thing I want to do (not the first thing I want to do) is to provoke you. Hence it seems to me that your translation, "nothing less than favorable", gets Steiner's meaning exactly backwards. What he actually says is that the last thing the Jewish influence has been is favorable. I would be grateful if you could clarify how you reached the contrary conclusion. Thanks,

Peter Staudenmaier

...................................................................................................................................

From: Frank Thomas Smith
Date: Mon Feb 23, 2004 11:56 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Thanks, Detlef, that changes the entire meaning of the paragraph. The first translation makes the statement not only dumb and unjust, but also incorrect. Although it may be nit-picking, I would also have used "Judaism" instead of "Jewry", the latter, to my ear at least, sounds somehow perjorative.

Frank

Hello dear A-T members,

I have just read Peter Staudenmaier's introductory mail and want to comment on one thing (which is why I just joined the list today). It concerns an ERROR OF TRANSLATION in the infamous Steiner quote of 1888. The error is also on the PLANS website: A negation is missing in the first sentence! Here it is in German (the "
nichts" in red was omitted in the PLANS translation):

„Es ist gewiss nicht zu leugnen, dass heute das Judentum noch immer als geschlossenes Ganzes auftritt und als solches in die Entwickelung unserer gegenwärtigen Zustände vielfach eingegriffen hat, und das in einer Weise, die den abendländischen Kulturideen nichts weniger als günstig war. Das Judentum als solches hat sich aber längst ausgelebt, hat keine Berechtigung innerhalb des modernen Völkerlebens, und dass es sich dennoch erhalten hat, ist ein Fehler der Weltgeschichte, dessen Folgen nicht ausbleiben konnten.“

In English, this is correctly translated as follows:

“It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a self-contained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was nothing less than favorable to Western cultural ideas. But Jewry as such has outlived itself and has no justification within the modern life of nations. The fact that it nevertheless has been preserved is a mistake of world history which could not fail to have consequences.”

(You can find the correct translation on page 53 of the pdf file at http://www.waldorfschule.info/aktuell/anti.pdf.)

Some more general comments:

The second sentence remains open to misinterpretation and problematic. But the juxtaposition is important! Steiner's thinking is not linear, but dialectic. He also makes the following unequivocal statement in the same essay: “But the Jews need Europe and Europe needs the Jews”, which doesn't exactly put him in the ball park of the third Reich.

These passages were written by the 27 year old Steiner in a literary magazine in a review of Hamerling's "Homunculus". Steiner is supporting Hamerling against other critics. It is not always clear where Steiner is defending ideas of Hamerling and where they are his own. But it is quite clear that Steiner favored assimilation and did not think much of the Zionist movement, which he saw as coming about as a reaction to anti-Semitism.

It must, of course, always be remembered that this was all before the advent of the Holocaust. No one can say how Steiner would have viewed the situation had he lived until 1945 or 1948.

Still: Steiner's second sentence remains problematic. But it must be seen in light of the first, i.e. that Jewry "has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was nothing less than favorable to Western cultural ideas." And it still does! If you look at cultural development in West and East alike: much of it is inspired and comes to life through the Jewish element!

As much as I am personally in favour of assimilation: let's not overdo it. Cultural diversity is an asset that will and should not get totally leveled out through assimilation. The importance of individual impulses will certainly increase in future. But other impulses (including the Jewish) will remain. It has already survived for thousands of years, it is here to stay for some time to come. That's great, because I love it!

Detlef Hardorp

...................................................................................................................................

From: Frank Thomas Smith
Date: Mon Feb 23, 2004 1:01 pm
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Here he goes again. Let's take the phrase word for word. "nichts" = nothing; "weniger" = less; "als" = as; "günstig" = favorable.

ergo: "..nothing less than favorable to western cultural ideas." The meaning of this is obvious in both languages, or any other language. What Don Pedro interprets, that it means "anything but favorable", would be in German: "alles andere als günstig". That is, just the opposite. Don Pedro's objection that Detlef is confusing "nichts" with "nicht" is, imo at least, nonsense. If nicht (not) had been used instead, it would mean: "not less than favorable", the only difference being that "nichts" (nothing) is stronger. Having put my foot in deep waters, I must qualify this by admitting that I am not a German native speaker and I should have deferred to Detlef, but I couldn't hold back, so I hope I'm not wrong. If I'm not wrong, it is disappointing that Don Pedro has not advanced one iota since his previous incarnation as Don Quixote - substituting giants for windmills then, now "anything" for "nothing less", positive for negative, falsehood for truth.

Frank

„Es ist gewiss nicht zu leugnen, dass heute das Judentum noch immer als geschlossenes Ganzes auftritt und als solches in die Entwickelung unserer gegenwärtigen Zustände vielfach eingegriffen hat, und das in einer Weise, die den abendländischen Kulturideen nichts weniger als günstig war. Das Judentum als solches hat sich aber längst ausgelebt, hat keine Berechtigung innerhalb des modernen Völkerlebens, und dass es sich dennoch erhalten hat, ist ein Fehler der Weltgeschichte, dessen Folgen nicht ausbleiben konnten.“

In English, this is correctly translated as follows:

“It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a self-contained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was nothing less than favorable to Western cultural ideas. But Jewry as such has outlived itself and has no justification within the modern life of nations. The fact that it nevertheless has been preserved is a mistake of world history which could not fail to have consequences.”

Hi Detlef,

by my reading, the phrase "nichts weniger als günstig" means "anything but favorable". You seem to be saying that "nichts weniger" means more or less the same thing as "nicht weniger", but in fact the two phrases have opposite meanings, as I'm sure you'll realize once you think about it for a moment. If I say to you "Ich möchte nichts weniger, als Sie provozieren", I am saying that the last thing I want to do (not the first thing I want to do) is to provoke you. Hence it seems to me that your translation, "nothing less than favorable", gets Steiner's meaning exactly backwards. What he actually says is that the last thing the Jewish influence has been is favorable. I would be grateful if you could clarify how you reached the contrary conclusion. Thanks,

Peter Staudenmaier

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Mon Feb 23, 2004 3:35 pm
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hi Frank,

assuming you have a German-English dictionary on hand, please look up the word "weniger", and it should list the phrase "nichts weniger", which means exactly what I said it means. Taking a phrase word for word is an unwise approach to translation, particularly when the phrase in question has an established meaning. As it happens, you provided a very apt comparison: "nichts weniger" means the same thing as "alles andere". It does not mean "nicht weniger".

Peter

...................................................................................................................................

From: Detlef Hardorp
Date: Mon Feb 23, 2004 6:08 pm
Subject: Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hello everybody,

returning to my computer tonight, I find that my message has already elicited several responses. Quite an active list you've got here!

Now to the point of contention: What does "nichts weniger" mean? I did a Google search on the phrase "nichts weniger" and came up with the following examples:

1. http://morgenpost.berlin1.de/archiv2003/031130/feuilleton/story644738.html
"Berliner Studenten gehen für nichts weniger als Deutschlands Zukunft auf die Straße." Also: sie gehen für Deutschlands Zukunft auf die Straße, oder?

I would translate this as
"Students in Berlin take to the streets for nothing less than the future of Germany." meaning that they take to the streets for the future of Germany!

Do you propose a better translation, PS? One with the exact opposite meaning?

The newspaper article, of which this is the title, ends thus:

"In den Köpfen entsteht die Zukunft unseres Landes. Deutschlands Zukunft liegt nicht in einem noch so perfektionierten Umverteilungsstaat, sondern in einem Gemeinwesen, dessen Leitbild jene Menschen sind, die aus eigener Kraft die Zukunft meistern." The opposite meaning was not intended!

2. http://paxhumana.info/article.php3?id_article=154
"Präsident Bush hat behauptet, es sei eine Gefahr für die ganze Welt, dass Saddam Hussein Massenvernichtungswaffen besitzt, d.h. dieser würde die USA (und nebenbei die ganze Welt) mit seinen nuklearen, bakteriologischen, chemischen Waffen und… seiner terroristischen Gewalt bedrohen.

In Wirklichkeit bedeutet Bush damit nichts weniger als das Recht der USA, jedes Land anzugreifen, dass sie möglicherweise in den nächsten fünf oder gar fünfzig Jahren bedrohen könnte.

Nichts weniger als das Recht der USA, diese Gefahr zu ermessen und darauf zu reagieren, wie es ihnen beliebt.

Nichts weniger, als das Recht der USA, diese Entscheidung alleine und eigenmächtig zu treffen.

Nichts weniger als das Recht der USA, Krieg zu führen, gegen irgendwen, irgendwann und aus jedem beliebigen (trügerischen) Grund.

Nichts weniger als das Recht der USA, das Recht des Stärkeren auf der Welt durchzusetzen, d.h. IHR Recht !

Nichts weniger als das Recht der USA, alle jene als vogelfrei zu erklären, die nicht ganz einig sind mit Bush dem Propheten und dessen Göttlichem Gesetz ! "

Translation: "President Bush has claimed that it is a danger for the whole world that Saddam H. possesses weapons of mass destruction ... .
In reality Bush means with this nothing less than the right of the USA to attack every country that might possibly threaten them in the next five or even fifty years.
Nothing less than than the right of the USA to take these decisions alone etc. etc."


Do you propose a better translation, PS? One with the exact opposite meaning?

As it so happens, this bit can be clicked on in English as well as French. Unfortunately, when you click the Union Jack, this bit appears in French. So here is the French version:

"Le président Bush a affirmé que l'Irak était un danger pour le monde entier, que Saddam Hussein possédait des armes de destruction massive, c'est-à-dire qu'il menaçait les USA (et accessoirement le monde) par son armement nucléaire, bactériologique, chimique et... sa puissance de frappe terroriste.

En réalité, ce que Bush affirme n'est rien moins que le droit des Etats-Unis à attaquer n'importe quel pays susceptible de les menacer dans cinq ans, voire cinquante ans...

rien moins que le droit des Etats-Unis à évaluer ce risque et à y répondre comme bon leur semble,

rien moins que le droit des Etats-Unis à prendre seul cette décision, en leur nom propre.

rien moins que le droit des Etats-Unis à partir en guerre contre quiconque à n'importe quel moment et pour n'importe quel motif (fallacieux)

rien moins que le droit des Etats-Unis à imposer à la planète la loi du plus fort, c'est-à-dire, LEUR Loi !

rien moins que le droit des Etats-Unis à déclarer Hors La Loi, tous ceux qui ne sont pas absolument d'accord avec Bush le prophète et Sa Divine Loi ! "

rien moins que also means nothing less than!

3. http://www.dieterwunderlich.de/Bernhard_holzfallen.htm From "Thomas Bernhard: Holzfällen. Eine Erregung":
"... aber ich hielt mir doch jetzt vor, der Auersberger einen Kuss auf die Stirn gegeben zu haben, nach zwanzig Jahren, vielleicht sogar nach zwei- oder dreiundzwanzig Jahren, in welchen ich sie nichts weniger als gehasst habe, mit dem gleichen Hass, mit dem ich in diesen Jahren auch ihren Mann gehasst habe ..."

I'll skip the beginning and get right to the core:
"...... in which I nothing less than hated her, with the same hate, with which I also hated her husband in all these years ..."

"with the same hate": thus he or she hates both! It is clear from the context that he or she does hate her. If you purge "nichts weniger als", it does not take on the opposite meaning! "in welchen ich sie gehasst habe" is made stronger by adding "in welchen ich sie nichts weniger als gehasst habe".

Do you propose a better translation, PS? One with the exact opposite meaning?

Now back to Steiner:
"... in einer Weise, die den abendländischen Kulturideen
nichts weniger als günstig war".


Translation:
"in a way that was nothing less than favorable to Western cultural ideas."

Again, if you purge "nichts weniger als", you retain the meaning, but weaken the statement a bit: "... in einer Weise, die den abendländischen Kulturideen günstig war".

A further indication for this is the word "but" in the sentence which follows: "But Jewry as such has outlived itself ..." This is a juxtaposition! If you read the first sentence with the opposite meaning of what is meant, the "but" makes no sense!

In other words: Although Jewry has had a very favourable influence on Western culture, it has outlived itself as a self-contained entity.

That is clearly the meaning of these two sentences, as I'm sure you'll realize once you think about it with an open mind.

Best regards, Detlef Hardorp

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Mon Feb 23, 2004 7:12 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Good evening Detlef,

I think you are avoiding a very simple question. Why don't you tell all the English speakers on this list what the sentence "Ich möchte nichts weniger, als Sie provozieren" means? If you truly disagree that the phrase "nichts weniger" means the same thing as "alles andere" in this context, I urge you to come right out and say so.

"Do you propose a better translation, PS?"

Yes, I certainly do. I propose the following translation:

"It certainly cannot be denied that Jewry today still behaves as a closed totality, and that it has frequently intervened in the development of our current state of affairs in a way that is anything but favorable to European ideas of culture."

May I suggest you consult another German anthroposophist about this matter? I recommend you contact Ralf Sonnenberg and ask his opinion. If he concurs with you that the phrase actually means "favorable" rather than "unfavorable" in this instance, then I will amend my translation in the future. I very much look forward to hearing from you on this.

Peter Staudenmaier

...................................................................................................................................

From: Kim Munch Michelsen
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 2:01 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hello Peter

In Danish we would say that you have been taken with your hands in the cookie box, because your explanation is without hold in reality. It's pure manipulation.

We have the same saying as 'nichts weniger' in Dänish, and it's an underlining of the following statement. And it is the same origin as the German form. So 'nichts weniger als günstig' means 'günstig!'. A simple one 'nichts weniger als fünfzig dollar' means 'fifty dollar!'.

You are running from your responsibility, when you are hiding behind 'that others should prove your translation to be wrong'. It's your responsibility to secure that your translation is right, and when enough people are telling you that it is wrong, you should change it or prove by authority that your translation is right. But of course, it would undermine your case, if you had to change your translation so it reflected the truth.

Kim

Good evening Detlef,

I think you are avoiding a very simple question. Why don't you tell all the English speakers on this list what the sentence "Ich möchte nichts weniger, als Sie provozieren" means? If you truly disagree that the phrase "nichts weniger" means the same thing as "alles andere" in this context, I urge you to come right out and say so.

"Do you propose a better translation, PS?"

Yes, I certainly do. I propose the following translation:

"It certainly cannot be denied that Jewry today still behaves as a closed totality, and that it has frequently intervened in the development of our current state of affairs in a way that is anything but favorable to European ideas of culture."

May I suggest you consult another German anthroposophist about this matter? I recommend you contact Ralf Sonnenberg and ask his opinion. If he concurs with you that the phrase actually means "favorable" rather than "unfavorable" in this instance, then I will amend my translation in the future. I very much look forward to hearing from you on this.

Peter Staudenmaier

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 10:17 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hello Kim and Dag,

thanks for your posts. I think that my translation is correct, and that you are both mistaken. I think you will recognize your mistake if you do two simple things: 1. Check a dictionary. 2. Consult an anthroposophist with the necessary fluency who is familiar with the text in question. To move this discussion forward, here are a couple observations on each of those two points:

1. The 2000 Collins German-English dictionary says on p. 928 that the phrase "nichts weniger" means "the last thing". They offer essentially the same example that I did, namely the sentence "Ich möchte nichts weniger, als ihn beleidigen", which they translate as "the last thing I'd want to do is insult him". I suspect you will find similar examples in other dictionaries.

2. There are a number of anthroposophists out there who know this text well and who have translated the very same passage themselves. Tarjei just gave us one example, where the sentence in question is rendered thus:

"It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a selfcontained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was anything but favourable to Western cultural ideas."

I take it you both somehow missed that entirely? Be that as it may, I still think the most sensible thing to do would be to simply contact the most knowledgeable anthroposophist historian on this topic, Ralf Sonnenberg, who has published extensively on Steiner's attitudes toward Jews and who has discussed this very passage at length in several articles. Sonnenberg's reading agrees with mine, not with yours. (More on that in a moment, when I reply to Detlef, who seems to have lost Sonnenberg's phone number...)

I respectfully request that your reconsider your stance on this question.

Peter Staudenmaier

...................................................................................................................................

From: winters_diana
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 10:30 am
Subject: Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hey . . . I don't read German – and I am biased, obviously (and no doubt Pompous and Confused like Peter) <G> – not to mention "unwashed" -

But FWIW I enjoyed typing these phrases into various machine translators available on the web and found them interestingly split almost evenly between Detlef's favored translation of the phrase, and Peter's.

Pure, confused essence of Steiner. Centuries can pass while his followers debate and defend this junk. This ambivalence and confusion, negatives and then double-negatives and then maybe triple-negatives, in this passage is what is fascinating – the "buts," "howevers," and "stills". . . The way I read the passage it matters little (it doesn't matter much; it perhaps matters not at all; its importance is less than nothing, or is not nothing, so is it . . . something?) whether Steiner said the Jews' contributions were favorable a little, a lot, or not at all. The machine translations are funny (I've still got them and can post them if anyone's interested) – some of them literally stuck the "anything" or "nothing" onto the end of the sentence after a dash, as if to say - What is this doing here?

(I thought the word "eingegriffen" was more interesting – all the machine translations gave either "interfere" or "intervene" for this word; certainly not a positive term for – whatever it is Steiner thinks the Jews have done in relation to Western culture – a more positive term might be "contribution." An interference certainly sounds like something that shouldn't have happened, so it would surprise me for the author to then speak positively of the events.) The notion of Judaism as a "closed totality" and then a reference to their "interfering" in Western cultural life would not seem likely to me to be evaluated as a "favorable" situation. Whether for good or ill Steiner is talking about Jews as outsiders, coming in where they never quite belonged . . . how sad that we are struggling over whether Steiner thought good or ill of this. How sad that Judaism is seen as either contributing or interfering, and that whether they had a right to do so is even a question Steiner felt the world needed his opinion on.

Judaism is Western culture as much as Christianity is – Jews didn't "intervene"!!

I can see how you could read the "but" in the next sentence as meaning Steiner had just said something positive about Judaism . . . but if it was meant positively, it is torn down in the next sentence. Steiner did say positive things about Jewish culture, of course – at least from a certain point of view, which arguably was already biased, and always has an unmistakable air of faint praise about it. Nice of them to make a contribution . . . if it was one . . . but please, move along now . . . (he belittles Judaism elsewhere as a "folk culture").

It's ridiculous to debate whether Steiner first tosses the Jews a bone by calling anything about Judaism "favorable" or not! It's the insistence that we have had enough of them now, they may please disappear, that was clearly Steiner's point! From a certain POV it's almost worse if he first tosses this bone you are all in such a disgusting frenzy to confirm. YUCK!

Going to wash,

Diana (come to think of it, I do feel like taking a shower)

P.S. Detlef - I am curious how you determined that the "nichts" had been left out? Can you recreate for us the process by which you uncovered this grievous typographical error?

...................................................................................................................................

From: Kim Munch Michelsen
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:17 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hello Diana

You wrote:

Hey . . . I don't read German – and I am biased, obviously (and no doubt Pompous and Confused like Peter) <G> – not to mention "unwashed" -

But FWIW I enjoyed typing these phrases into various machine translators available on the web and found them interestingly split almost evenly between Detlef's favored translation of the phrase, and Peter's.

If you knew german or something about languages at all you could see which translators where of high or low quality. You should try some German translaters with syntactical descriptions in stead.

You say

It's ridiculous to debate whether Steiner first tosses the Jews a bone by calling anything about Judaism "favorable" or not! It's the insistence that we have had enough of them now, they may please disappear, that was clearly Steiner's point! From a certain POV it's almost worse if he first tosses this bone you are all in such a disgusting frenzy to confirm. YUCK!

What is interesting here is not that Peter Staudenmaier has translated it as he has, what is interesting is that he, against better knowledge, defends his 'failed' translation. I thought he was intelligent, and then he has done such a blatant stupidity as this. Every other attack he is smart enough to evade by not answering the question, but here he is caught lying about something which is a fact.

And if he can lie about one thing, then he can lie about other things also.

Going to wash,

Kim

(Well I think Peter needs a wash)

You wrote:

Going to wash,

Diana (come to think of it, I do feel like taking a shower)

...................................................................................................................................

From: eyecueco
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 12:25 pm
Subject: Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

--- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, winters_diana wrote:

It's ridiculous to debate whether Steiner first tosses the Jews a bone by calling anything about Judaism "favorable" or not! It's the insistence that we have had enough of them now, they may please disappear, that was clearly Steiner's point! From a certain POV it's almost worse if he first tosses this bone you are all in such a disgusting frenzy to confirm. YUCK!

Hi Diana,

Woman to woman...

I tend toward thinking in constant references apart from what is on the table, and all this crap going on trying to make Seiner in an nti-Semite is, for some reason, bringing to mind the anti-jewish comments that flew out of the mouth of the, without question, most fascinating woman of the last century, the Viennese Austrian aristocrat, Alma Schindler Mahler Gropius Werfel (the "widow of the four arts").

To her dying day she went around making anti-jewish remarks. When, on the rare occasion she was called on this habit, she would retort that she was allowed to say anything she wanted to about the jews, after all she had married two of them!

So perhaps the old adage might be thrown into all this exhausting dialoging that "Actions speak louder than words".

As a pubic inner-city school teacher I shudder to think what would happen to students, or infact, any of us, if held accountable for what is said with the same weight as what is done.

Paulina

...................................................................................................................................

From: winters_diana
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 3:19 pm
Subject: Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Paulina wrote:

To her dying day she went around making anti-jewish remarks. When, on the rare occasion she was called on this habit, she would retort that she was allowed to say anything she wanted to about the jews, after all she had married two of them!

Paulina, do you think that she was not anti-Semitic because she married two Jewish men?

(If she married just one Jewish man, could she still be anti-Semitic?) :)

Diana

...................................................................................................................................

From: holderlin66
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 5:05 pm
Subject: Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

--- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, winters_diana wrote:

(If she married just one Jewish man, could she still be anti-Semitic?) :)

Diana

So the bartender asks the depressed and obviously drunk woman, "So wasn't one enough?"

"No, I wanted get even with the first one"

Bartender: "Welcome to Miami, have another?"

"Have another what?"

"Have another husband while you here, theres plenty more where that came from."

...................................................................................................................................

From: eyecueco
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:45 pm
Subject: Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

--- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, winters_diana wrote:

Paulina wrote:

To her dying day she went around making anti-jewish remarks. When, on the rare occasion she was called on this habit, she would retort that she was allowed to say anything she wanted to about the jews, after all she had married two of them!

Paulina, do you think that she was not anti-Semitic because she married two Jewish men?

(If she married just one Jewish man, could she still be anti-Semitic?) :)

Diana

Diana, I was just quoting her.:-)
Her reply seems to always have been that since she had married two of them she could say what she wanted. But, yes, I do think that she was not anti-Semitic, inspite of her anti-jewish remarks. She had two children with Gustav Mahler and was very devoted to him, inspite of being unhappy about having to give up her own musical aspirations. And just look at what she had to endure as a result of being married to Franz Werfelat a time when the Nazis came to power. She had everything going for her in Vienna and yet she willing fled with him and endured horrendous difficulties as they made their way from one country to another until they were trapped in Marseille and could go no further. If not for Varian Frye and the Emergency Rescue Committee Franz Werfel would never have made it out of Europe. So. yes, I am inclinded to conclude that Alma S.M.G.W., in spite of all her life making anti-Semitic remarks was not anti-Semitic, just eccentric and a product of her historical time and place. There was then no such thing as political correctness in the 1930-40s.

I think that the point I was trying to make is that what one says does not always convey their inner nor outer reality. I brought up Alma S.M.G.W. because she was most exactly from the same time and place as Steiner and it is not possible to sit here in 2004 and imagine that we can draw easy conclusions about Austrian society at that time nor the position of the jews in that society.

What bothers me most about all the WC hype on this issue of Steiner's so called anti-Semitism is that the talk goes on from everyone but jews themselves. Peter would like to have you believe that only in Steiner's time were there jews around Steiner's inner circle, but certainly today no jew would be associated with anthroposophy. He said something similar to this in the last couple of months (around about the time he made false claim that Guenon was critical of Steiner, which is also not true in any of Guenon's books translated into English.)

Yet my own personal experience is otherwise. My closest anthopop friends are jewish. One, a second generation jewish anthropop, got out of Holland on the last boat as the Germans came in and all the children but one today are active society members. Another friend was born in Paris and her family had to go into hiding in Marseille before her family managed to get out via the 'Hell Boat' She married a jewish man, and he too is an active society member.

I think it rather impossible to go to any society meeting, espically in the East without finding someone who is jewish standing next to you. These friends find it totally ridiculous when they here about the anti-Semitic claims against Steiner being made and are confused how anyone who reads Steiner cannot understand that when talking about the first root races we aren't even talking about anything physical material.

Where is the jewish Rabbi who will speak up for Peter's claims? Where are the jewish anti-defamation sites that name Steiner among those held responsible for what Peter claims? Where in the files of the Nuremberg Trials is there one single solitary statement by any of the defendants or one individual who testified who sited anything having to do with Steiner?

For reasons I will not go into here circumstances led me several years ago to a personal karmic encounter with hassidic Rabbi Yonassom Gershom. He is a well known lecturer and author of two books on reincarnated Holocaust victims, FROM ASHES TO HEALING, BEYOND THE ASHES. Rabbi Gershom has visted Dornach, shared the podium at the Goetheanum with members of the Vorstand, and has addressed anthropop audiences in Berlin and elsewhere. He had an issue about Steiner, but it had to do with one specific issue of translation, which was solved when he managed to get the original German document. Rabbi Gershom is a very devout jew, so he does not study Steiner, but, he has no ax to grind having to do with anti- Semitism that I know about and I know no one who takes the matter of the Holocaust more seriously than does Rabbi Gershom.

I keep asking myself why it is if so many jews are anthopops who, like my Dutch and French women friends lost family to the Holocaust, and holy men such as most wonderful Rabbi Gershom do not have a quarrel with Steiner on issues of anti-Semitism, why would intelligent and well educated individuals such a Peter Staudenmaier? Then I recall what a lawyer always says..."Look to whom it profits". There is always an agenda. I believe that Mr. Staudemaier's is political. He answered honestly when he said to Bradford that he is an opponent of moral relativism. This is quite true, in fact, he would be in opposition to moral relativism, given that he subscribes to an atheist philosophy that focuses on value-based economics. There is a distinctive moral vision involved with the movement he promotes based on a specific philosophical concept arising out of a historical conception of human nature/human need. The anti-Semitism focus is the foil. It is not the real issue, imo.

At any rate, Diana, I do not know what Alma S.M.G.W. really felt about the jews, I only know from the several books I read on her fascinating life that she was quite prone to make such remarks, but, I hardly think she coud have been married and shown such devotion to her husbands if she really had been anti-Semitic. Do you? :-)

Kindest regards,
Paulina

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 9:23 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hi Paulina, you wrote:

What bothers me most about all the WC hype on this issue of Steiner's so called anti-Semitism is that the talk goes on from everyone but jews themselves. Peter would like to have you believe that only in Steiner's time were there jews around Steiner's inner circle, but certainly today no jew would be associated with anthroposophy. He said something similar to this in the last couple of months

No, that is the very opposite of my position. Lots and lots of Jews today are drawn to anthroposophy. In my first post to this list I wrote: "I agree that many Jews, both in Steiner's era and today, have found Steiner's teachings appealing and valuable." In fact it seems highly likely to me that there are more Jewish anthroposophists today than there were in Steiner's time.

(around about the time he made false claim that Guenon was critical of Steiner, which is also not true in any of Guenon's books translated into English.)

I didn't say that Guenon was critical of Steiner, I said that Guenon and Steiner took opposite trajectories vis a vis Theosophy: Guenon went from being a supporter of Theosophy to being a harsh critic, and Steiner went from being a harsh critic of Theosophy to being a supporter (and then back again later on). The post in question is here:

http://www.topica.com/lists/waldorf-critics/read/message.html?mid=1712021791


Where is the jewish Rabbi who will speak up for Peter's claims?

Why are a couple of you obsessed with rabbis? The one rabbi I know of who has read my work on anthroposophy mostly agrees with its assessments of Steiner's views on Jews (but she's a friend of mine so it probably doesn't count). What would that have to do with the substance of my argument one way or the other?

Where are the jewish anti-defamation sites that name Steiner among those held responsible for what Peter claims?

What is it that you think I claim?

Where in the files of the Nuremberg Trials is there one single solitary statement by any of the defendants or one individual who testified who sited anything having to do with Steiner?

Otto Ohlendorf, though he doesn't count as an anthroposophist in my view.

I keep asking myself why it is if so many jews are anthopops who, like my Dutch and French women friends lost family to the Holocaust, and holy men such as most wonderful Rabbi Gershom do not have a quarrel with Steiner on issues of anti-Semitism, why would intelligent and well educated individuals such a Peter Staudenmaier?

Why is that puzzling to you? People disagree about historical matters all the time. Also, what does this have to do with the holocaust? While people like Ohlendorf and Pohl, who had some admiration for Steiner, did play major roles in the holocaust, as far as I know their views on Steiner had nothing to do with their crimes against humanity. I do not know of any anthroposophists who actively took part in the genocide of European Jewry. Steiner's own views on Jews were very different from those of the architects of the holocaust.

There is a distinctive moral vision involved with the movement he promotes based on a specific philosophical concept arising out of a historical conception of human nature/human need.

That sounds plausible enough, but what movement do you think I promote? Do you mean social ecology?

The anti-Semitism focus is the foil. It is not the real issue, imo.

Apparently it is not the real issue for many of you on this list. But it is why I came to the list, and I would still be very interested in discussing it with you.

Peter Staudenmaier

See ref in the thread "For Peter"

See 2nd ref in the thread "For Peter"

...................................................................................................................................

From: eyecueco
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 3:21 pm
Subject: Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

--- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, Peter Staudenmaier wrote:

Hi Paulina, you wrote:

[snip]

(around about the time he made false claim that Guenon was critical of Steiner, which is also not true in any of Guenon's books translated into English.)

I didn't say that Guenon was critical of Steiner, I said that Guenon and Steiner took opposite trajectories vis a vis Theosophy: Guenon went from being a supporter of Theosophy to being a harsh critic, and Steiner went from being a harsh critic of Theosophy to being a supporter (and then back again later on). The post in question is here:

http://www.topica.com/lists/waldorf-critics/read/message.html?mid=1712021791

Good day to you, Peter,

Thank you for the WC ref., however it is the wrong one.

What I was referring to is what you said in a Dec 03 post:

Quoting you exactly:

"Because they had only a partial view of it. Did your friends involved in spiritual practice try to meditate some contents of A.? Anyway it does not come as a surprise to me, since RS was criticized by other esoteric currents, see Guenon, Evola, etc."

PKL:

Where is the jewish Rabbi who will speak up for Peter's claims?

PS:

Why are a couple of you obsessed with rabbis? The one rabbi I know of who has read my work on anthroposophy mostly agrees with its assessments of Steiner's views on Jews (but she's a friend of mine so it probably doesn't count). What would that have to do with the substance of my argument one way or the other?

Humm, I would not say I am obsessed with rabbis, Peter. I just happen admire and respect most rabbis, and also believe that the Kaballah is the greatest esoteric mystery wisdom that has ever existed. (If this sound in conflict to my total committment to the Christologies, I can't help you other than to say that I have a personal believe that Steiner was deeply aware of Kaballahm, had an appointed mission to correct the long term error of christendom of a second physical coming of the Christ and used a new vocabulary to reveal much of what has long been known through Kaballah, especially Luranic Kaballah.

I'm personally studying the work of Leonora Leet, but, she is so over my head it is very slow going; she is brilliant, I am not. As for Rabbi Gershom, as can be inferred from my post, I consider him to be a very special soul. I also, as do most jewish rabbis hold to the belief that if jews vanished from the world, the world would cease to exist.

PKL:

Where are the jewish anti-defamation sites that name Steiner among those held responsible for what Peter claims?

PS:

What is it that you think I claim?

Peter, I will let your record speak for itself. :-)

PKL:

Where in the files of the Nuremberg Trials is there one single solitary statement by any of the defendants or one individual who testified who sited anything having to do with Steiner?

PS:

Otto Ohlendorf, though he doesn't count as an anthroposophist in my view.

Peter, former SD Chief Ohlendorf took the stand on Jan 3, 1946, giving detailed descriptions about how orders for mass murder were given and executed, and how he was given command of an action group to exterminate 90,000 Jews. His testimony was directed toward Himmler on behalf of the Furhrer. Said testimony was halted for lunch, at which time some of the defendants in Spandau discussed the morning testimony at their mid-day meal (off the record, but, recorded by their doctor, G.M. Gilbert).
-Goering dismissed Ohlendorf as having been one more who has sold his soul to the enemy.
-Funk defened Ohlendorf.
-Frank expressed admiration for him as an honest man who spoke the truth,
-Fritzsche was too depressed toeither speak or eat,
-Frick remarked how nice it would be to go sking.

After lunch Ohlendorf was crossed-examined and Speer asked via his attorney if Ohlendorf knew that he, Speer, has attempted to assassinate Hitler, and wanted to deliver Himmler to the enemy which was very similar to dropping a bomb in the court room. After Ohlendorf, the testimony of a Gestapo agent, Wisliceny was heard. So, Peter, help me out about what Ohlendorf said that stands in the record from the Nuremberg Trials about Steiner.

I would greatly appreciate it.

PKL:

I keep asking myself why it is if so many jews are anthopops who, like my Dutch and French women friends lost family to the Holocaust, and holy men such as most wonderful Rabbi Gershom do not have a quarrel with Steiner on issues of anti-Semitism, why would intelligent and well educated individuals such a Peter Staudenmaier?


PS:

Why is that puzzling to you? People disagree about historical matters all the time.

It is important to come to understand what is being said and why and what stands behind matters, because Truth matters, and carries the world forward.

PS:

Also, what does this have to do with the holocaust?

Excuse me?
Did I hear you correctly?

PS:

While people like Ohlendorf and Pohl, who had some admiration for Steiner, did play major roles in the holocaust, as far as I know their views on Steiner had nothing to do with their crimes against humanity. I do not know of any anthroposophists who actively took part in the genocide of European Jewry. Steiner's own views on Jews were very different from those of the architects of the holocaust.

Peter, I asked what stands in the record at the Nuremberg Trials.

I have no problem believing there were Germans who were both anthroposophists and also supported Hitler or that this would also have been the case in all the countries the Germans occupied, as well as in England and America. Studying Anthroposphy does not make one immune to ideologies. There is no magic ritual that transforms one to a perfected state of being. People are people. I have a much harder time understanding what happened in France and how it can to be in that country of safe haven through history to have been willing to turn over, not only the refugee, but, its own people. :-(

PKL:

There is a distinctive moral vision involved with the movement he promotes based on a specific philosophical concept arising out of a historical conception of human nature/human need.

PS:

That sounds plausible enough, but what movement do you think I promote? Do you mean social ecology?

You know well what I mean, Peter. :-)
I am speaking about deep-ecology and the Lenin-marxists ideology that stands behind the benevolent face of all the activities being promoted to the dumbed-down masses in the name of human rights, co-ops, fair housing, etc. The agenda is the same as it always was, overthrow of governments to make way for a system where there is no private ownership. (Never mind that it never works)

I said:

The anti-Semitism focus is the foil. It is not the real issue, imo. And, I mean the issue of racism and anti-Semitic is the foil.

PS:

Apparently it is not the real issue for many of you on this list. But it is why I came to the list, and I would still be very interested in discussing it with you.

I told Tarjei some time back that Peter S. will never come onto AT unless there is an agenda for coming on. The deep-ecologists infiltrate everything, everywhere. Who knows, maybe there is a change to hook a few discontented mindless twits here who don't get what is going on. But, not me. I'm a capitolist even though poor, anti the feminist movement even though a woman, conservative even though once a flaming liberal, a serial monogamist, and work hard to see all side of an issue, which is why I am willing to upsett some of my fellow anthropops by saying that there are big time problems in some Waldorf schools with some teachers, and that the worst of it is non-disclosure. I somehow think that Steiner must weep about what has happened to the Waldorf movement.

Please send me the references to back up your claim on Ohlendorf. I would very much appreciate it, and thank you.

Kind regards,
Paulina

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 8:53 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hi Paulina, you wrote:

Thank you for the WC ref., however it is the wrong one.

What I was referring to is what you said in a Dec 03 post:

Quoting you exactly:

"Because they had only a partial view of it. Did your friends involved in spiritual practice try to meditate some contents of A.? Anyway it does not come as a surprise to me, since RS was criticized by other esoteric currents, see Guenon, Evola, etc."

That isn't quoting me exactly, inexactly, or any other way. That quote is not from me. It is from someone named "Percedol", whose native language is Italian (you'll note the somewhat halting English in the above passage). "Percedol" and I disagree on virtually every topic that two people could ever disagree about. He and I have debated back and forth about Scaligero, Evola, Guenon, and so on for quite a while on the waldorf critics list.

Did I hear you correctly?

Yes, you did. What does this have to do with the holocaust? Do you believe that every person who held antisemitic views was in some way implicated in the holocaust?

I am speaking about deep-ecology and the Lenin-marxists ideology

You think I'm a deep ecologist?!?! That's better than getting me mixed up with Percedol! Next to Murray Bookchin, I am perhaps the harshest critic of deep ecology anywhere. How on earth did you manage to conclude that I am a deep ecologist, of all things? Have you seen any of my writings on deep ecology? (By the way, I loathe marxism-leninism. I'm an anarchist.)

Peter

...................................................................................................................................

From: eyecueco
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:29 pm
Subject: Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

--- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, Peter Staudenmaier wrote:

That isn't quoting me exactly, inexactly, or any other way. That quote is not from me. It is from someone named "Percedol", whose native language is Italian (you'll note the somewhat halting English in the above passage). "Percedol" and I disagree on virtually every topic that two people could ever disagree about. He and I have debated back and forth about Scaligero, Evola, Guenon, and so on for quite a while on the waldorf critics list.

Thanks, Peter. I'll look that up again. If I have misquoted you I stand corrected and apologize. At any rate, it important, I think to clarify that Guenon's criticism was directed toward Theosophy, not Steiner, at least in the books that have been published in English.

Did I hear you correctly?

Yes, you did. What does this have to do with the holocaust? Do you believe that every person who held antisemitic views was in some way implicated in the holocaust?

I do believe strongly that anti-Semtism is what made the Holocaust possible, Btw, why do you not capitolize that word, Peter? Do you not think it a small gesture toward the 6,000,000 who died, or do you subscribe to the idea that the Holocaust is a fabrication?

I am speaking about deep-ecology and the Lenin-marxists ideology

You think I'm a deep ecologist?!?!

I think that you are a slippery word-eel, Peter. :-)

So, you don't go deep, eh? You are only a social ecologist?

OK.

Here comes more word games, folks, but, whatever... Did you, Peter, not write the following excerpt:

"Instead of remuneration for effort, social ecologists propose libertarian communism as the eventual goal of a free society." Albert rejects this approach to distributing social wealth as unfeasible, but I think this dismissal is too hasty. Like all economic systems, communism recognizes that total consumption is limited by total production, but it does not assume the predominance of private material interest or of generalized scarcity; it sees these phenomena as a legacy of capitalism and hierarchical society. Social ecology foresees the potential for all community members to articulate their own needs and desires in a responsible fashion, shaped by their experience of participatory self-management, as part of a social process guided by reason and an ethos of mutual aid and interdependence."

And I espically love this snip...

"In a communist society, the incentive to work would be exactly what it is today, in those few situations where coercion is not omnipresent -- the desire to create useful things and live comfortably with one's neighbors. As long as we are envisioning a fully developed free society which realizes the finest aspirations of our history of struggles for human fulfillment and against privation and oppression, it would be imprudent to abandon the ideal of libertarian communism as part of a possible future."

Communism is communism, no matter how you try and dress it up, and if you "hate" the lenin or marxist verison then it's only because you think you have a better version to offer the world, right?

Kind regards,
Paulina

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Thu Feb 26, 2004 9:14 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hi Paulina, you wrote:

I do believe strongly that anti-Semtism is what made the Holocaust possible

Yes, of course, but assimilationist antisemites obviously did not endorse the physical annihilation of Jews. Nazi antisemitism was in this respect an important departure from many earlier strands of antisemitism.

Btw, why do you not capitolize that word, Peter?

Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I think that the insistence that it must be capitalized tends to move the event into the realm of the quasi-theological, which is not where I think it belongs. There is a fine meditation on the obligations that an event like the holocaust places upon historians in Yehuda Bauer's book Rethinking the Holocaust.

So, you don't go deep, eh? You are only a social ecologist?

Yes. The often extremely bitter feud between social ecologists and deep ecologists has been going on for nearly twenty years. There are entire shelves of books about this dispute. Getting deep ecologists mixed up with social ecologists is very much like getting leninists mixed up with anarchists (well, except that leninists kill anarchists, and as far as I know no deep ecologist has designs on my life, at least not yet).

Did you, Peter, not write the following excerpt:

Yup, I sure did. It's from a debate with Michael Albert, the chief theoretician of Participatory Economics. I am indeed a proponent of the tradition of libertarian communism (note the small "c"), which is radically opposed to leninism. I recommend consulting Lenin's pamphlet "Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder". It's about people like me.

Peter

...................................................................................................................................

From: Kim Munch Michelsen
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 12:01 pm
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hello Peter

You continue? I thought you where more intelligent than this.

It's not a sociological thesis where everything is possible, it's a simple sentence, where simple rules apply.

By defending your erroneous translation, against better knowledge, you are destroying your credibility.

I have, of course, checked some german libraries, and they confirmed my view. Furthermore I have checked Steiners texts, and he is using the frase consistently.

I see no reason to see what other non german amateur translaters, or translaters with a ideological twist, has translated it to, because it is a simple and clear sentence.

Kim

NB! Just to remember what it concerns:
nicht weniger als = mindestens = not less than
and there is no comma between 'weniger' and 'als'.

I think you will recognize your mistake if you do two simple things: 1. Check a dictionary. 2. Consult an anthroposophist with the necessary fluency who is familiar with the text in question. To move this discussion forward, here are a couple observations on each of those two points:

1. The 2000 Collins German-English dictionary says on p. 928 that the phrase "nichts weniger" means "the last thing". They offer essentially the same example that I did, namely the sentence "Ich möchte nichts weniger, als ihn beleidigen", which they translate as "the last thing I'd want to do is insult him". I suspect you will find similar examples in other dictionaries.

2. There are a number of anthroposophists out there who know this text well and who have translated the very same passage themselves. Tarjei just gave us one example, where the sentence in question is rendered thus:

"It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a selfcontained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was anything but favourable to Western cultural ideas."

I take it you both somehow missed that entirely? Be that as it may, I still think the most sensible thing to do would be to simply contact the most knowledgeable anthroposophist historian on this topic, Ralf Sonnenberg, who has published extensively on Steiner's attitudes toward Jews and who has discussed this very passage at length in several articles. Sonnenberg's reading agrees with mine, not with yours. (More on that in a moment, when I reply to Detlef, who seems to have lost Sonnenberg's phone number...)

I respectfully request that your reconsider your stance on this question.

Peter Staudenmaier

...................................................................................................................................

From: dottie zold
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 12:17 pm
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Kim wrote:

Hello Peter

You continue? I thought you where more intelligent than this.

Hi Kim,

It boggles the mind doesn't it? The only thing I can think of is the idea that it is the ideologues of the political left and right that continue to debate in this manner. I can find no other reason as it is apparent he is an intelligent man and probably a pretty nice man as well.

Just as he is stuck in the rut of his own personal makeup it is that which will not allow him to see outside the box of a thing. Most of us have the same problem but we recognize it, those of us who do the work, and look to free ourselves from our habitual social thinking that has raised us, or have had it drilled inside by others. His mind is set and no matter what comes down there will be no changing or growing it or at least that his how it looks like from the way he debates a thing. It's like being a slave to ones own mind that already has all the answers.

I think if Peter read the POF book and contemplated what it means to be free within ones own thoughts he might understand what is happening here on this list and what others see in his explanations of a thing. But maybe the idea of contemplating a Steiner book on a level of seriousness does not appeal to him in which case maybe someone can reccommend a book that has not direct correlation to Dr. Steiner.

Hey Kim!,

Dottie

p.s. Did you see the moon and her star, I believe it was Venus. God she was so beautiful. Oh my God it was so absolutely breathtaking. I made a spectacle out of my self by showing everyone who passed by as I was gazing up in mesmeration.

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:14 pm
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hello Kim, you wrote:

it's a simple sentence, where simple rules apply.

I disagree completely. I do not think that making sense of texts written over a hundred years ago is a simple matter.

By defending your erroneous translation, against better knowledge, you are destroying your credibility.

I'd say that's the wrong way to think about credibility, on several levels. Since I do not, in fact, believe that my translation is erroneous, it is hard to see how it might shore up my credibility for me to pretend that I agree with Detlef's translation in order to placate you and several others. It would be dishonest for me to do so, for starters. There's also the matter of: credibility for whom? Credibility among a handful of random anthroposophists on an email list is one thing, credibility among other historians (say, Sonnenberg, for instance) is another.

I have, of course, checked some german libraries, and they confirmed my view.

They confirmed which view?

Furthermore I have checked Steiners texts, and he is using the frase consistently.

Could you give an example?

I see no reason to see what other non german amateur translaters, or translaters with a ideological twist, has translated it to, because it is a simple and clear sentence.

But you've just seen with your own eyes that even anthroposophist translators have gone back and forth on the meaning of this sentence. Do you think they did so because of ideological twisting? (That's a real question, by the way, not a rhetorical one. I am most intrigued by the fact that Detlef's version and Tarjei's version of the same translation directly contradict one another on this point.)

NB! Just to remember what it concerns: nicht weniger = not less than

That is not the phrase under dispute. The phrase in question is "nichts weniger". I think maybe you should re-read the exchange from the beginning. Thanks,

Peter

...................................................................................................................................

From: Kim Munch Michelsen
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:28 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hello Peter

it's a simple sentence, where simple rules apply.

Peter:

I disagree completely. I do not think that making sense of texts written over a hundred years ago is a simple matter.

If you are more than 40 years old it should be no problem at all with these texts, and especially this construct, which has been known in the full german speaking area for generations.

By defending your erroneous translation, against better knowledge, you are destroying your credibility.

Peter:

I'd say that's the wrong way to think about credibility, on several levels. Since I do not, in fact, believe that my translation is erroneous, it is hard to see how it might shore up my credibility for me to pretend that I agree with Detlef's translation in order to placate you and several others. It would be dishonest for me to do so, for starters. There's also the matter of: credibility for whom? Credibility among a handful of random anthroposophists on an email list is one thing, credibility among other historians (say, Sonnenberg, for instance) is another.

Credibility by whom it may concern. Maybe Germans?

By the way, you say other historians? As I have seen until now, you don't act as a scientist, so it must be an error. If you are trying to act as a historian you should change your scientific methology from Clausewitz and Marx to Karl R. Popper, or, if you prefer a german author, Hans Albert: Plädoyer für kritishen Rationalismus.

I have, of course, checked some german libraries, and they confirmed my view.

They confirmed which view?

Se later: 'You manipulated the text'.

Furthermore I have checked Steiners texts, and he is using the frase consistently.

Peter:

Could you give an example?

I don't see any need, as it confirmed that he followed normal practice, so there is no need to show it here. If he had not followed normal practice, it had been interesting.

I see no reason to see what other non german amateur translaters, or translaters with a ideological twist, has translated it to, because it is a simple and clear sentence.

Peter:

But you've just seen with your own eyes that even anthroposophist translators have gone back and forth on the meaning of this sentence. Do you think they did so because of ideological twisting? (That's a real question, by the way, not a rhetorical one. I am most intrigued by the fact that Detlef's version and Tarjei's version of the same translation directly contradict one another on this point.)

I really don't see why it makes an erroneous translation better, if others have made the same error. Just because some person says that 2+2=5 don't make it more right.

NB! Just to remember what it concerns: nicht weniger = not less than

Peter:

That is not the phrase under dispute. The phrase in question is "nichts weniger". I think maybe you should re-read the exchange from the beginning. Thanks,

You manipulated the text

"NB! Just to remember what it concerns: nicht weniger = not less than"

by removing 'als' as in

"NB! Just to remember what it concerns: nicht weniger als = not less than"

and there is really no big difference in nicht and nichts:

nicht weniger als = not less than

and

nichts weniger als = nothing less than

it is just at little more stress under the statement, but without consequence for the meaning.

Kim

...................................................................................................................................

From: Dag Horntvedt
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 12:12 pm
Subject: SV: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hello Mr. Staudenmaier

I think we are right and you are mistaken.

Perhaps this will help you:

It has been said before, but it seems that you only want to relate to your own examples: Make a google sears for: "nichts weniger als" and tell me what you find.

Perhaps you should put on your glasses and look at the little"," - comma. All your examples have a comma before the "als"
The original text does not. This mean anything to you?

And - please - what about the "aber" in the next sentence?

I hope this have moved the discussion a bit forward.

Greetings

Dag

-----Opprinnelig melding-----
Fra: Peter Staudenmaier
Sendt: 24. februar 2004 19:17
Til: anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com
Emne: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hello Kim and Dag,

thanks for your posts. I think that my translation is correct, and that you are both mistaken. I think you will recognize your mistake if you do two simple things: 1. Check a dictionary. 2. Consult an anthroposophist with the necessary fluency who is familiar with the text in question. To move this discussion forward, here are a couple observations on each of those two points:

1. The 2000 Collins German-English dictionary says on p. 928 that the phrase "nichts weniger" means "the last thing". They offer essentially the same example that I did, namely the sentence "Ich möchte nichts weniger, als ihn beleidigen", which they translate as "the last thing I'd want to do is insult him". I suspect you will find similar examples in other dictionaries.

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:16 pm
Subject: Re: SV: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hi Dag, you wrote:

I think we are right and you are mistaken.

Yes, that's why we disagree.

It has been said before, but it seems that you only want to relate to your own examples: Make a google sears for: "nichts weniger als" and tell me what you find.

Why? What would this have to do with our disagreement?

Perhaps you should put on your glasses and look at the little"," - comma. All your examples have a comma before the "als". The original text does not. This mean anything to you?

No, it sure doesn't. I think you have genuinely misunderstood what is at issue and why we disagree. Alternatively, you and I have been talking past each other all along.

And - please - what about the "aber" in the next sentence?

I think that is obvious, and I am greatly amused by the various highly creative interpretations that have been offered so far. Steiner says "aber" because he has just finished reciting several specific criticisms of "Jewry today", and he is now ready to move on to the assertion that the very existence of the object of criticism is an anomaly and a mistake. The explanation advanced by Detlef makes no sense at all, because even if the second clause of the first sentence meant what you all seem to think it means, the first clause is absolutely not a compliment to the Jews, to say the least. Hence the notion that the "but" signals a transition from praise to criticism is entirely goofy.

In light of the recent revelation that the translators of the Leist/Ravagli/Bader text have altered their rendering of the disputed phrase, I am willing to grant that people who pay close attention to this passage and are familiar with the context disagree on how to read it. But since the individuals who know Steiner's work on Jews and Judaism best do not share your reading, I still recommend that you do the wise thing and consult their readings of the passage, starting with Sonnenberg's.

Respectfully,

Peter Staudenmaier

...................................................................................................................................

From: Dag Horntvedt
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 2:56 am
Subject: SV: SV: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hallo again

[Dag Horntvedt]

I think we are right and you are mistaken.

PS:

Yes, that's why we disagree.

[Dag Horntvedt]

So I got that right.

It has been said before, but it seems that you only want to relate to your own examples: Make a google sears for: "nichts weniger als" and tell me what you find.

PS:

Why? What would this have to do with our disagreement?

[Dag Horntvedt]

You can´t be serious. Do you really not see what this has to do with our disagreement?

But I believe you. The idea with the google search was for you to see that in daily use in Germany the "nichts weniger als" is almost exclusively used in the meaning we have given it all the time, and which you have denied.

[Google Search: "nichts weniger als"]

DH:

And - please - what about the "aber" in the next sentence?

PS:

I think that is obvious, and I am greatly amused by the various highly creative interpretations that have been offered so far. Steiner says "aber" because he has just finished reciting several specific criticisms of "Jewry today", and he is now ready to move on to the assertion that the very existence of the object of criticism is an anomaly and a mistake.

[Dag Horntvedt]

Is that a common use of the word "aber"? I would think that most people will use the world to distinguishbetween to different opinions in one (or two) sentences.

- cut-

In light of the recent revelation that the translators of the Leist/Ravagli/Bader text have altered their rendering of the disputed phrase, I am willing to grant that people who pay close attention to this passage and are familiar with the context disagree on how to read it.

[Dag Horntvedt]

Not bad.

PS

But since the individuals who know Steiner's work on Jews and Judaism best do not share your reading, I still recommend that you do the wise thing and consult their readings of the passage, starting with Sonnenberg's.

[Dag Horntvedt]

It is interesting that you will use an anthroposophist as your witness only when he seems to agree with you. Why not in this case also pay attention to all those who do not agree with you.

[Dag Horntvedt]

That said, I am a bit amused by this discussion because your tactic is to try to prolong and divert the discussion by bringing in things like:

-Why? What would this have to do with our disagreement?
-I think you have genuinely misunderstood what is at issue and why we disagree.
-Alternatively, you and I have been talking past each other all along.
-I still recommend that you do the wise thing


[Dag Horntvedt]

this tactic belonged in a Marxist discussion in the 1970s

Respectfully
Dag Horntvedt

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 9:59 am
Subject: a whole lot of nichts

Hi Dag, you wrote:

You can´t be serious. Do you really not see what this has to do with our disagreement?

Yes, I am serious. No, I really do not see what this has to do with our disagreement.

The idea with the google search was for you to see that in daily use in Germany the "nichts weniger als" is almost exclusively used in the meaning we have given it all the time, and which you have denied.

That is not what I deny. The "almost exclusively" part is wrong, but I do not deny that "nichts weniger" can mean "nothing less than" when it functions not as a phrase but simply as a word sequence. But when it functions as a phrase, it means essentially the same thing as "alles andere", or, in English, "anything but". Even Detlef finally managed to acknowledge that. What I deny is that in the specific text under consideration here, written by Rudolf Steiner in 1888, the phrase "nichts weniger als guenstig" means "nothing less than favorable"; I think that it means "anything but favorable", because in this context I think it functions as a phrase in the sense explained above. That is where the disagreement lies.

Is that a common use of the word "aber"?

Yes, in both German and English, it is a common way to mark semantic transitions from specific to general, from concrete to abstract, and so forth. But enough about the grammatical details, let's talk about the big picture...

It is interesting that you will use an anthroposophist as your witness only when he seems to agree with you.

But that is precisely why he is a relevant witness in this case: he disagrees with virtually everything else I have to say on the topic of Steiner and the Jews. (Well, that's a bit too strong, but he and I certainly do have powerfully contrasting views on the subject.) Thus his reading of the disputed phrase cannot possibly be the result of any of the motives other listmates have attributed to me.

Why not in this case also pay attention to all those who do not agree with you.

Because several of those people have so far been unable to keep track of what the disputed phrase is, much less why we're arguing about it, for one thing, and because none of them appears to be particularly familiar with either the text or its context. And it is admittedly difficult for me to take just about anything Detlef says seriously; the last time he thought he had found an "error in translation" (in an authorized translation of a book by Steiner published by the Rudolf Steiner Press), he made an utter fool of himself and left the discussion in embarrassment midway through.

That said, I am a bit amused by this discussion because your tactic is to try to prolong and divert the discussion

Those aren't diversions. They really are irrelevant to the disagreement. You don't need to convince me that the words "nichts weniger" can mean "nothing less than" in some other context. What we are arguing about is what they mean in one specific context.

Peter

...................................................................................................................................

From: Dag Horntvedt
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:54 am
Subject: SV: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] a whole lot of nichts

Hi Peter , you wrote:

I think that it means "anything but favorable", because in this context I think it functions as a phrase in the sense explained above. That is where the disagreement lies.

-cut-

You don't need to convince me that the words "nichts weniger" can mean "nothing less than" in some other context. What we are arguing about is what they mean in one specific context.

[Dag Horntvedt]

I think this is as far as it goes for now. But why do I have a slight feeling you are trying to cover your tracks?

What I tried to say is that it could be that one can learn something about one sentence by watching other similar sentences. But then again, perhaps that´s only me.

Greetings
Dag

...................................................................................................................................

From: Dag Horntvedt
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 2:48 am
Subject: SV: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Good morning Mr. Staudenmaier

My German friend says that the sentence means "nothing less than", so RS says that Jewry has been favourable to western cultural ideas. This is emphasized in the next sentence where he uses the word "aber" which means "but" as opposed to the sentence before.

So one cant help thinking that in repeating this error over and over again you are trying to make it become true. But it will not.

I am looking forward to see you correct your translations.

Greetings
Dag

-----Opprinnelig melding-----
Fra: Peter Staudenmaier
Sendt: 24. februar 2004 04:13
Til: anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com
Emne: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Good evening Detlef,

I think you are avoiding a very simple question. Why don't you tell all the English speakers on this list what the sentence "Ich möchte nichts weniger, als Sie provozieren" means? If you truly disagree that the phrase "nichts weniger" means the same thing as "alles andere" in this context, I urge you to come right out and say so.

"Do you propose a better translation, PS?"

Yes, I certainly do. I propose the following translation:

"It certainly cannot be denied that Jewry today still behaves as a closed totality, and that it has frequently intervened in the development of our current state of affairs in a way that is anything but favorable to European ideas of culture."

May I suggest you consult another German anthroposophist about this matter? I recommend you contact Ralf Sonnenberg and ask his opinion. If he concurs with you that the phrase actually means "favorable" rather than "unfavorable" in this instance, then I will amend my translation in the future. I very much look forward to hearing from you on this.

Peter Staudenmaier

...................................................................................................................................

From: Detlef Hardorp
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:20 am
Subject: Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hello everybody,

the meaning of "nichts weniger als" is not something restricted to anthroposophy. Therefore I posted some common usages, taken form a Google search, in the wee hours of the morning and proposed translations, challenging PS for better translations.

This challenge was ignored by PS, who instead proposed a "better translation" of the Steiner quote in question, which was, in fact, nothing but reiterating the existing (incorrect) translation form the PLANS website, which - he now reveals - stems from him.

It contains other, more minor inaccuracies as well: "abendländisch" means "occidental" or "western", to use a more common word, and not simply "European", as PS has it.
Morgenland - Abendland
Orient - Okzident
Ost -West
are essentially synonymous pairs.

But back to the main point of contention. After avoiding my simple questions concerning the common usages I posted, he claims that I am avoiding a simple question, which is to say what another sentence he proposes means:

"Ich möchte nichts weniger, als Sie provozieren."

I will gladly translate this sentence for this list. In return, I would like PS to translate the three things I posted and translated in my previous mail. OK, PS?

The sentence means: "There is nothing I want less than to provoke you." PS is quite right in saying that this sentence means that I do not want to provoke you.

But consider the following sentence:

"Er war nichts weniger als provokativ.". This means: Er war nichts geringeres als provokativ. Er war provokativ

In English: He was nothing less than provocative. Which means: He was provocative!

Please note that the words "nothing", "less" and "than" occur in both English sentences, as do the German words "nicht", "weniger" and "als" in the corresponding German sentences. But they are grouped differently, making for two different meanings:

1. "(Ich möchte nichts weniger), (als Sie provozieren)." "(There is nothing I want less) (than to provoke you)."

2. "(Er war) (nichts weniger als provokativ)." "(He was) (nothing less than provocative)." In the second sentence, he clearly was provocative!

Back to the Steiner text.

"Es ist gewiss nicht zu leugnen, dass heute das Judentum noch immer als geschlossenes Ganzes auftritt und als solches in die Entwickelung unserer gegenwärtigen Zustände vielfach eingegriffen hat, und das in einer Weise, die den abendländischen Kulturideen nichts weniger als günstig war."

This translates as:

“It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a self-contained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was nothing less than favourable to Western cultural ideas.”

We are concerned about this part:

"die den abendländischen Kulturideen nichts weniger als günstig war." In English: "that was nothing less than favourable to Western cultural ideas."

The underlying idea in this part of the sentence is unquestionably:

"Sie war den abendländischen Kulturideen nichts weniger als günstig." In English: "It was nothing less than favourable to Western cultural ideas."

This is how this sentence breaks down:

"(Sie war) (den abendländischen Kulturideen) (nichts weniger als günstig)." In English: "(It was) (nothing less than favourable) (to Western cultural ideas)."

Please compare this to the two types above! This is clearly not type one, but type two:

2. "(Er war) (nichts weniger als provokativ)." "(He was) (nothing less than provocative)."

Du bist nichts weniger als zum Verstehen eingeladen, PS!
You are nothing less than invited to understand this, PS! I.e. you are invited!

Aber nicht: Ich möchte nichts weniger, als dass Du verstehst, PS!
But not: There is nothing I want less than for you to understand this, PS!

So I have told all the readers on this list what the sentence "Ich möchte nichts weniger, als Sie provozieren" means.

Now it's your turn to tell the readers on this list what the sentences "Berliner Studenten gehen für nichts weniger als Deutschlands Zukunft auf die Straße", "In Wirklichkeit bedeutet Bush damit nichts weniger als das Recht der USA, jedes Land anzugreifen" and "... in welchen ich sie nichts weniger als gehasst habe, mit dem gleichen Hass, mit dem ich in diesen Jahren auch ihren Mann gehasst habe ..." mean.

If you do, you cannot fail to notice that there is a usage of "nichts weniger als" which means nothing less than "nothing less than"!

Of course you could undoubtedly also find other expressions on the web in line with the other meaning ("Ich möchte nichts weniger, als Sie provozieren"). Don't bother: I have already agreed that these three words can also be found in sentences with this kind of meaning.

Once we've agreed that there are two types of meaning, we could still dispute which meaning applies to Steiner's sentence. I have tried to make it clear which one applies. I have nothing against contacting other experts on this, be they experts on German grammar or experts on anthroposophy and Judaism. But this may not be necessary. It is interesting to note that you would prefer to take this on authority. I think this can be resolved, however, by the simple use of straight thinking for those who have a good command of German, which I believe you have.

Best regards,

Detlef Hardorp

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 10:50 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Good morning Detlef, you now write:

The sentence means: "There is nothing I want less than to provoke you." PS is quite right in saying that this sentence means that I do not want to provoke you.

So you recognize that the phrase "nichts weniger" does indeed have the meaning that I said it has. But you still seem to be confused about what is at stake here:

If you do, you cannot fail to notice that there is a usage of "nichts weniger als" which means nothing less than "nothing less than"!

That wasn't in dispute. The two words "nichts" and "weniger" when placed next to one another can indeed mean "nothing less than". As a phrase, however, they can also mean "anything but", as you have finally acknowledged. I don't quite understand why this wasn't clear to you earlier.

Once we've agreed that there are two types of meaning, we could still dispute which meaning applies to Steiner's sentence.

Yes, that is what is under dispute. May I draw your attention to the document that Tarjei posted recently? It is the official translation of the Leist/Ravagli/Bader text, published by the Bund der freien Waldorfschulen. Since this seems to have escaped your notice, here, once again, is how the passage is rendered in this translation:

It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a selfcontained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was anything but favourable to Western cultural ideas.

"Anything but favorable" is, as it happens, exactly how I translated the phrase in question. Amazing, huh?

I also note that you seem reluctant to consult other anthroposophists about this matter. I recommend you take a look at the most recent issue of the Jahrbuch für Antisemitismusforschung (no. 12, 2003), which contains an article by Ralf Sonnenberg which I think you will find very interesting. Sonnenberg and I don't agree on very much, as you can imagine, but we happen to agree on this particular Steiner passage. On p. 190 of his article, Sonnenberg reproduces the full quotation from Steiner in 1888, and immediately summarizes the passage by stating that in Steiner's view, Jewish influence has "nachteilig auf die abendländische Kultur und Gesellschaft ausgewirkt" ("had a detrimental effect on European culture and society").

Hence if you are still convinced that my translation is incorrect, I suggest you address your concern to the anthroposophist translators and anthroposophist historians who somehow agree with my reading of the phrase and disagree with yours, and then maybe you can get back to the rest of us to report your findings.

Greetings,

Peter Staudenmaier

...................................................................................................................................

From: at
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 10:27 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Detlef,

Perhaps you could comment on aonther possible error of translation. What do you feel the best translation of the following sentence is:

"Nun nahm ich damals an den nationalen Kämpfen lebhaften Anteil, welche die Deutschen in Österreich um ihre nationale Existenz führten."

Here are my own thoughts on the matter, and I am curious how they stand up to wider scrutiny.

An "Anteil" is "a share of", or figuratively "an interest in," or if sympathy is indicated, "sympathy." However, to translate "lebhaften Anteil" is to overlook the phrase structure. The phrase "Anteil... nehmen... an" - the phrase used in the sentence - is translated as "take an interest in;" or, if indicating sympathy, "sympathize with" (Langenscheidts Handwörterbuch Deutsch-Englisch, Berlin 1996, p. 807). Further, "lebhaft" as an adjective is translated "lively" when indicating interest or imagination (same dictionary, p. 1136). So the proper translation would be:

"At that time I took a lively interest in the battles that the Germans in Austria were fighting concerning their national existence."

The verb in the sentence ("führten") refers strictly to the Germans, and not to the author.

Does this appear correct?

Daniel Hindes

...................................................................................................................................

From: Detlef Hardorp
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:07 am
Subject: Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hello, Diana,

long time no hear! So we meet again, in a different place in cyberspace, discussing similar themes as years ago...

You asked:

Detlef - I am curious how you determined that the "nichts" had been left out? Can you recreate for us the process by which you uncovered this grievous typographical error?

You misunderstood. The "nichts" was never left out. It was simply not correctly translated! See my long posting about two different types of meaning that the words "nichts weniger als" can have.

Detlef Hardorp

...................................................................................................................................

From: Detlef Hardorp
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 12:19 pm
Subject: Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Dear Mr Staudenmaier,

you are now skirting all the arguments I presented in my detailed mail! Nor have you attempted the translations I suggested you try in return for the translation I did after you asked me. I will soon stop responding to mails if they continue to skirt the issue and if you continue to act like somewhat that dishes out homework put completely ignores requests in the other direction.

You wrote:

That wasn't in dispute. The two words "nichts" and "weniger" when placed next to one another can indeed mean "nothing less than". As a phrase, however, they can also mean "anything but", as you have finally acknowledged. I don't quite understand why this wasn't clear to you earlier.

Dear Mr.Staudenmaier, this is nothing but trying to fog things up! You have incorrectly translated a sentence. The point is not whether others might also have incorrectly translated the sentence but what is the correct translation. The fact that three words, used in different ways, can have different meanings, is something that has always been clear to me. But this is not particularly relevant when these three words are used by Steiner in the same way as the quotes that Google picked out for me. Are you afraid to translate these? It might lead you to admitting that you made a mistake. But then that may be too much to imagine from someone like you.

You wrote:

Yes, that is what is under dispute. May I draw your attention to the document that Tarjei posted recently? It is the official translation of the Leist/Ravagli/Bader text, published by the Bund der freien Waldorfschulen. Since this seems to have escaped your notice, here, once again, is how the passage is rendered in this translation:

It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a selfcontained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was anything but favourable to Western cultural ideas.

I have just gone to the link again myself (I suppose you mean http://www.waldorfschule.info/aktuell/anti.pdf, do you not?). I find there, on page 53, the following sentence:

"It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a self-contained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was nothing less than favourable to Western cultural ideas."

I also note that you seem reluctant to consult other anthroposophists about this matter.

Hey, I posted my original mail less than 24 hours ago! And how do you know which people I consult or fail to consult? Are you tapping my phone and computer line?!

Respond to the issue or remain silent, Peter Staudenmaier!

This is what you have failed to respond to:

The underlying idea in this part of the sentence is unquestionably:

"Sie war den abendländischen Kulturideen nichts weniger als günstig." In English: "It was nothing less than favourable to Western cultural ideas."

This is how this sentence breaks down:

"(Sie war) (den abendländischen Kulturideen) (nichts weniger als günstig)." In English: "(It was) (nothing less than favourable) (to Western cultural ideas)."

Please compare this to the two types above! This is clearly not type one, but type two:

2. "(Er war) (nichts weniger als provokativ)." "(He was) (nothing less than provocative)."

Du bist nichts weniger als zum Verstehen eingeladen, PS!
You are nothing less than invited to understand this, PS! I.e. you are invited!

So I have told all the readers on this list what the sentence "Ich möchte nichts weniger, als Sie provozieren" means.

Now it's your turn to tell the readers on this list what the sentences "Berliner Studenten gehen für nichts weniger als Deutschlands Zukunft auf die Straße", "In Wirklichkeit bedeutet Bush damit nichts weniger als das Recht der USA, jedes Land anzugreifen" and "... in welchen ich sie nichts weniger als gehasst habe, mit dem gleichen Hass, mit dem ich in diesen Jahren auch ihren Mann gehasst habe ..." mean.

But for those on the list who do not know Peter Staudenmaier: he is not in the least bit interested in understanding anything that does not serve his goal, which is to make a mockery of Anthroposphy and hide this behind a scholarly looking facade. We've met before.

Detlef Hardorp

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:12 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hi Detlef, you wrote:

"you are now skirting all the arguments I presented in my detailed mail!"

Yep, that I am. I think those arguments are irrelevant, and I haven't the faintest idea why you think otherwise. Many of your arguments bring up inadvertent memories of Bill Clinton intoning "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." At one point in your belabored grammatical musings, you seemed to grasp that the phrase "nichts weniger" functions as a *phrase* in certain circumstances, not merely as two words sitting side by side. Then a couple lines later, this insight appears to have left your mind entirely, and you were back to prattling about sentences that bear no relation to the sentence under dispute. That is called missing the point. If you disagree, then perhaps you could explain what you think the point was in the first place?

You wrote:

That wasn't in dispute. The two words "nichts" and "weniger" when placed next to one another can indeed mean "nothing less than". As a phrase, however, they can also mean "anything but", as you have finally acknowledged. I don't quite understand why this wasn't clear to you earlier.

Dear Mr.Staudenmaier, this is nothing but trying to fog things up!

It is? Then what exactly have you and I been arguing about for the past day and a half?

The point is not whether others might also have incorrectly translated the sentence but what is the correct translation.

Yes, that is indeed the question here. Since these "others" know much, much more about both the text and its context than you do, I think your confidence in your own interpretation is sadly misplaced.

But this is not particularly relevant when these three words are used by Steiner in the same way as the quotes that Google picked out for me.

But they aren't. You are trapped in a tautology here. You have somehow managed to convince yourself that your own reading of the Steiner passage is correct, and you have then carried that reading over to a group of unrelated sentences, which then magically strike you as evidence for your original thesis. That's ass-backwards reasoning, in my view.

Now here's where it gets really interesting:

I have just gone to the link again myself (I suppose you mean http://www.waldorfschule.info/aktuell/anti.pdf, do you not?). I find there, on page 53, the following sentence:

"It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a self-contained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was nothing less than favourable to Western cultural ideas."

Fascinating! They altered their translation! Tarjei, when did you download the version you forwarded? I am eager to learn just when the translator or translators of this pamphlet realized their "mistake".

And how do you know which people I consult or fail to consult?

In other words, you are unwilling to ask Ralf Sonnenberg his opinion on this. Care to explain why?

But for those on the list who do not know Peter Staudenmaier: he is not in the least bit interested in understanding anything that does not serve his goal, which is to make a mockery of Anthroposphy and hide this behind a scholarly looking facade. We've met before.

Yes, we certainly have, and each time you seem to make a fool of yourself in new and innovative ways. It's silly to pretend that my goal is to make a mockery of anthroposophy, but this deflection cannot possibly apply to anthroposophists like Sonnenberg. If it were my nefarious anti-anthroposophical disposition that lead to my "mistake", then how did he happen to make the very same "mistake"? Or do you perhaps suspect a vast conspiracy, Detlef?

Greetings,

Peter

...................................................................................................................................

From: at
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 3:04 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Diana,

Welcome back. I'm glad to see that you continue to have opinions on quite a few things you so obviously don't know a thing about. There are a number of books that discuss the postitive influence of Jews on European history; this is not something "discovered" by Steiner, he was merely taking a postition on it. Nor were complaints of Jewish segregation uncommon at the time of Steiner's writing (Peter Staudenmaier has posted an excellent reading list if you want to inform yourself of the details). Your grasp of the meaning of the word "folk" in its historical context is laughable. Your meditation on the word "eingreifen" would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic. I'll be happy to discuss it with you after you have attained a minimum fluency in German. I'm sorry if this is a bit harsh, but you seem so free with your opinions, so I thought I'd share mine.

Daniel Hindes

----- Original Message -----
From: winters_diana
Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 1:30 PM
Subject: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hey . . . I don't read German – and I am biased, obviously (and no doubt Pompous and Confused like Peter) <G> – not to mention "unwashed" -

But FWIW I enjoyed typing these phrases into various machine translators available on the web and found them interestingly split almost evenly between Detlef's favored translation of the phrase, and Peter's.

Pure, confused essence of Steiner. Centuries can pass while his followers debate and defend this junk. This ambivalence and confusion, negatives and then double-negatives and then maybe triple-negatives, in this passage is what is fascinating – the "buts," "howevers," and "stills". . . The way I read the passage it matters little (it doesn't matter much; it perhaps matters not at all; its importance is less than nothing, or is not nothing, so is it . . . something?) whether Steiner said the Jews' contributions were favorable a little, a lot, or not at all. The machine translations are funny (I've still got them and can post them if anyone's interested) – some of them literally stuck the "anything" or "nothing" onto the end of the sentence after a dash, as if to say - What is this doing here?

(I thought the word "eingegriffen" was more interesting – all the machine translations gave either "interfere" or "intervene" for this word; certainly not a positive term for – whatever it is Steiner thinks the Jews have done in relation to Western culture – a more positive term might be "contribution." An interference certainly sounds like something that shouldn't have happened, so it would surprise me for the author to then speak positively of the events.) The notion of Judaism as a "closed totality" and then a reference to their "interfering" in Western cultural life would not seem likely to me to be evaluated as a "favorable" situation. Whether for good or ill Steiner is talking about Jews as outsiders, coming in where they never quite belonged . . . how sad that we are struggling over whether Steiner thought good or ill of this. How sad that Judaism is seen as either contributing or interfering, and that whether they had a right to do so is even a question Steiner felt the world needed his opinion on.

Judaism is Western culture as much as Christianity is – Jews didn't "intervene"!!

I can see how you could read the "but" in the next sentence as meaning Steiner had just said something positive about Judaism . . . but if it was meant positively, it is torn down in the next sentence. Steiner did say positive things about Jewish culture, of course – at least from a certain point of view, which arguably was already biased, and always has an unmistakable air of faint praise about it. Nice of them to make a contribution . . . if it was one . . . but please, move along now . . . (he belittles Judaism elsewhere as a "folk culture").

It's ridiculous to debate whether Steiner first tosses the Jews a bone by calling anything about Judaism "favorable" or not! It's the insistence that we have had enough of them now, they may please disappear, that was clearly Steiner's point! From a certain POV it's almost worse if he first tosses this bone you are all in such a disgusting frenzy to confirm. YUCK!

Going to wash,

Diana (come to think of it, I do feel like taking a shower)

P.S. Detlef - I am curious how you determined that the "nichts" had been left out? Can you recreate for us the process by which you uncovered this grievous typographical error?

...................................................................................................................................

From: winters_diana
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 3:18 pm
Subject: Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Daniel wrote:

There are a number of books that discuss the postitive influence of Jews on European history;

No kidding? Thanks, Daniel. Did you find me stating the Jews did not have a positive influence on European history?

this is not something "discovered" by Steiner,

Did you notice me saying Steiner discovered this?

he was merely taking a postition on it.

Yes, I noticed that.

Nor were complaints of Jewish segregation uncommon at the time of Steiner's writing (Peter Staudenmaier has posted an excellent reading list if you want to inform yourself of the details).

Thanks again, did you notice me taking a position on Jewish "segregation," or commenting on opinions of it during Steiner's time?

Your grasp of the meaning of the word "folk" in its historical context is laughable.

And what grasp would that be? Where did I offer any comment at all on the meaning of the wrod "folk"? (It is a term that has various connotations, among which is a derogatory one.)

Your meditation on the word "eingreifen" would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.

What "meditation" would that be? I don't speak German. I mentioned how machine translators on the web translated this term.

I'll be happy to discuss it with you after you have attained a minimum fluency in German.

That's very kind of you.

I'm sorry if this is a bit harsh,

Oh, I suppose I'll get over it.
Diana

...................................................................................................................................

From: at
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:02 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

My Langenscheidts Handwörterbuch Deutsch-Englisch, Berlin 1996, page 1432, lists for then entry "wenig" the phrase "nicht weniger als" as meaning "no less than, pl. no fewer than". If you are in Germany now, you can easily check this in any larger bookstore. Most sell all four versions the Langenscheidts German-English dictionaries, the single volume, the one volume for each language, the smaller version with two volumes of each language, and the larger version with two volumes of each language. The edition I have in front of me is the "one volume for each language" version. I'm not sure the smaller dictionaries list every phrase built around "wenig", but the larger ones certainly will.

Daniel Hindes

----- Original Message -----

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 1:17 PM
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hello Kim and Dag,

thanks for your posts. I think that my translation is correct, and that you are both mistaken. I think you will recognize your mistake if you do two simple things: 1. Check a dictionary. 2. Consult an anthroposophist with the necessary fluency who is familiar with the text in question. To move this discussion forward, here are a couple observations on each of those two points:

1. The 2000 Collins German-English dictionary says on p. 928 that the phrase "nichts weniger" means "the last thing". They offer essentially the same example that I did, namely the sentence "Ich möchte nichts weniger, als ihn beleidigen", which they translate as "the last thing I'd want to do is insult him". I suspect you will find similar examples in other dictionaries.

2. There are a number of anthroposophists out there who know this text well and who have translated the very same passage themselves. Tarjei just gave us one example, where the sentence in question is rendered thus:

"It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a selfcontained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was anything but favourable to Western cultural ideas."

I take it you both somehow missed that entirely? Be that as it may, I still think the most sensible thing to do would be to simply contact the most knowledgeable anthroposophist historian on this topic, Ralf Sonnenberg, who has published extensively on Steiner's attitudes toward Jews and who has discussed this very passage at length in several articles. Sonnenberg's reading agrees with mine, not with yours. (More on that in a moment, when I reply to Detlef, who seems to have lost Sonnenberg's phone number...)

I respectfully request that your reconsider your stance on this question.

Peter Staudenmaier

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 10:52 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hi Daniel,

the phrase in question is not "nicht weniger". Nobody disagrees about the meaning of that phrase. The phrase in question is "nichts weniger". That is what Detlef and I disagree about.

Peter

My Langenscheidts Handwörterbuch Deutsch-Englisch, Berlin 1996, page 1432, lists for then entry "wenig" the phrase "nicht weniger als" as meaning "no less than, pl. no fewer than". If you are in Germany now, you can easily check this in any larger bookstore. Most sell all four versions the Langenscheidts German-English dictionaries, the single volume, the one volume for each language, the smaller version with two volumes of each language, and the larger version with two volumes of each language. The edition I have in front of me is the "one volume for each language" version. I'm not sure the smaller dictionaries list every phrase built around "wenig", but the larger ones certainly will.

Daniel Hindes

...................................................................................................................................

From: Frank Thomas Smith
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 6:48 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Daniel,

The controversy isn't about "nicht weniger als", but "nichts weniger als".

Frank

My Langenscheidts Handwörterbuch Deutsch-Englisch, Berlin 1996, page 1432, lists for then entry "wenig" the phrase "nicht weniger als" as meaning "no less than, pl. no fewer than". If you are in Germany now, you can easily check this in any larger bookstore. Most sell all four versions the Langenscheidts German-English dictionaries, the single volume, the one volume for each language, the smaller version with two volumes of each language, and the larger version with two volumes of each language. The edition I have in front of me is the "one volume for each language" version. I'm not sure the smaller dictionaries list every phrase built around "wenig", but the larger ones certainly will.

Daniel Hindes

...................................................................................................................................

From: at
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:33 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

I disagree. The phrase in question is "nicht weniger als". That is what is in the text. Your version is the only one that I have ever seen that puts a comma between "weniger" and "als" and of course that completely alters the meaning. This may be a careless error, or it may be deliberate. However, if you look at the source material, and not your altered version, you might see what the rest of us are talking about.

Daniel Hindes

----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Staudenmaier
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 1:52 AM
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hi Daniel,

the phrase in question is not "nicht weniger". Nobody disagrees about the meaning of that phrase. The phrase in question is "nichts weniger". That is what Detlef and I disagree about.

Peter

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 7:19 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hi Daniel, you wrote:

The phrase in question is "nicht weniger als". That is what is in the text.

No, that is not what is in the text. I have a copy of Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Literatur in front of me right now. On page 152, beginning four lines from the top of the page, is the following sentence: "Es ist gewiß nicht zu leugnen, daß heute das Judentum noch immer als geschlossenes Ganzes auftritt und als solches in die Entwickelung unserer gegenwärtigen Zustände vielfach eingegriffen hat, und das in einer Weise, die den abendländischen Kulturideen nichts weniger als günstig war."
What text are you looking at?

Your version is the only one that I have ever seen that puts a comma between "weniger" and "als" and of course that completely alters the meaning.

There is no comma between "weniger" and "als". What are you talking about? What do you mean by "my version"? The only version I presented is the English translation of the passage that I included in my first post to the list.

However, if you look at the source material, and not your altered version, you might see what the rest of us are talking about.

That is not what the rest of you are talking about. Except for you and Kim, everybody else who has weighed in on this question agrees that the disputed phrase is "nichts weniger", not "nicht weniger". You can very easily verify this for yourself by simply checking Detlef's posts. By the way, what "source material" are you looking at? Do you have a copy of Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Literatur, or a photocopy of the article, or something else?

Puzzled,

Peter

...................................................................................................................................

From: at
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:43 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

That is what the "pl." indicates. Plural. "Nichts weniger als".

Daniel

----- Original Message -----
From: Frank Thomas Smith
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 9:48 AM
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Daniel,

The controversy isn't about "nicht weniger als", but "nichts weniger als".

Frank

...................................................................................................................................

From: Frank Thomas Smith
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 3:50 pm
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Puulease tell me you're kidding.
Groucho

That is what the "pl." indicates. Plural. "Nichts weniger als".

Daniel

...................................................................................................................................

From: at
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 5:54 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Wow. I never thought I'd be in an argument about how to read a dictionary. The description of abbreviations used in this dictionary is on page 776, and indicates that pl. means plural. The plural of "nicht weniger als" is "nichts weniger als" (you can't pluralize "weniger" or "als"). The dictionary gives the definition of "nichts weniger als" as "no fewer than". That simple.

To take this back to the original argument, the German reads:

"Es ist gewiss nicht zu leugnen, dass heute das Judentum noch immer als geschlossenes Ganzes auftritt und als solches in die Entwickelung unserer gegenwärtigen Zustände vielfach eingegriffen hat, und das in einer Weise, die den abendländischen Kulturideen nichts weniger als günstig war. Das Judentum als solches hat sich aber längst ausgelebt, hat keine Berechtigung innerhalb des modernen Völkerlebens, und dass es sich dennoch erhalten hat, ist ein Fehler der Weltgeschichte, dessen Folgen nicht ausbleiben konnten.“

The possible translations are:

“It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a self-contained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was nothing less than favorable to Western cultural ideas. But Jewry as such has outlived itself and has no justification within the modern life of nations. The fact that it nevertheless has been preserved is a mistake of world history which could not fail to have consequences.”

or

"It certainly cannot be denied that Jewry today still behaves as a closed totality, and that it has frequently intervened in the development of our current state of affairs in a way that is anything but favorable to European ideas of culture. But Jewry as such has long since outlived its time; it has no more justification within the modern life of peoples, and the fact that it continues to exist is a mistake of world history whose consequences are unavoidable."

These two versions offer a completely different argument on the part of the original author, and it cannot be that somehow both versions are present in the original. One must be correct, and the other incorrect. And the best judge of which version is correct would be translators, and not idealogues of any bent.

The first translation follows the original very closely. The second translation, after the first comma, departs from the German for no obvious reason, abandoning the "and as such" that is in the original and offering "and that it has" instead.

The "...nichts weniger als günstig war" I read to mean "nothing less than favorable". That is, the "als" belongs to the phrase "nichts weniger"; it is not separate. To argue the meaning of "nichts weniger" is to misread the phrasing of the original, either deliberately or as a result of unfamiliarity with the language.

Daniel Hindes

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 8:58 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hi Daniel,

I'm glad you figured out what phrase was at issue here. You wrote:

The "...nichts weniger als günstig war" I read to mean "nothing less than favorable".

And I read it to mean "anything but favorable".

Peter

...................................................................................................................................

From: at
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 8:01 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

I've scanned the dictionary in question.
How to read it is explained in these two pages:
http://aelzina.com/misc/l-a.gif

http://aelzina.com/misc/l-b.gif

The meaning of the abbreviations are on this page:
http://aelzina.com/misc/l-776.gif

You can read the entire entry for "wenig" on these two pages:
http://aelzina.com/misc/l-1432.gif

http://aelzina.com/misc/l-1433.gif

Daniel Hindes

----- Original Message -----
From: Frank Thomas Smith
To: anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 6:50 PM
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Puulease tell me you're kidding.
Groucho

...................................................................................................................................

From: at
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 9:17 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

"Figured out?" That seems to imply I was unclear at some point. It has been quite evident from the beginning what the debate centers on. I suspect that if nothing you have read so far convinces you, you will likely hold on to your version forever.

Daniel Hindes

----- Original Message -----

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 11:58 PM
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hi Daniel,

I'm glad you figured out what phrase was at issue here. You wrote:

The "...nichts weniger als günstig war" I read to mean "nothing less than favorable".

And I read it to mean "anything but favorable".

Peter

...................................................................................................................................

From: VALENTINA BRUNETTI
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 2:20 am
Subject: R: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

----- Original Message -----
From: dottie zold
Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 9:17 PM
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Kim wrote:

Hello Peter

You continue? I thought you where more intelligent than this.

Hi Kim,

It boggles the mind doesn't it? The only thing I can think of is the idea that it is the ideologues of the political left and right that continue to debate in this manner.

Dear all,

excuse me if I jump in but you are surely right. When I was 16 I had a very close friend who was a convinced marxist. We were used to spend hours discussing and NOTHING in the world was able to make him change his opinion. With an individual like this there is really nothing to do. That's way I suggested (half joking and half not) to eject him. In the end those discussions are poiintless since none so deaf as those who don't want to hear!

A.

I can find no other reason as it is apparent he is an intelligent man and probably a pretty nice man as well.

case maybe someone can reccommend a book that has not direct correlation to Dr. Steiner.

Hey Kim!,

Dottie

p.s. Did you see the moon and her star, I believe it was Venus. God she was so beautiful. Oh my God it was so absolutely breathtaking. I made a spectacle out of my self by showing everyone who passed by as I was gazing up in mesmeration.

...................................................................................................................................

From: VALENTINA BRUNETTI
Date: Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:14 am
Subject: R: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Staudenmaier
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 6:23 PM
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

[PS]

I didn't say that Guenon was critical of Steiner

And you made another mistake!

Have you ever read "Le Theosophìsme Histoire d'une pseudo-religiòn" where, among several other funny topics, he attributed Goetheanum's arsion incident to the "inattention" or the letter to Evola, dated 1934 July 6 in which Guènon accused Evola for having been too "mild" in his criticism against Steiner ?
Again: tks for this penalty kick, boy!

Andrea

There is a distinctive moral vision involved with the movement he promotes based on a specific philosophical concept arising out of a historical conception of human nature/human need.

That sounds plausible enough, but what movement do you think I promote? Do you mean social ecology?

The anti-Semitism focus is the foil. It is not the real issue, imo.

Apparently it is not the real issue for many of you on this list. But it is why I came to the list, and I would still be very interested in discussing it with you.

Peter Staudenmaier

...................................................................................................................................

From: Frank Thomas Smith
Date: Thu Feb 26, 2004 4:20 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

[Paulina to PS:]

So, you don't go deep, eh? You are only a social ecologist?

Hruummph. I teach a course called (by me) "Ecología Social" in the Waldorf Teachers Training Institute in Buenos Aires. It's threefold: The Threefold Society; Oganization Development; and Group Dynamics. I wonder if Peter can get me a job in Vermont.

Frank

...................................................................................................................................

From: Frank Thomas Smith
Date: Thu Feb 26, 2004 7:58 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Daniel,

I have the same dictionary, in the 2001 update. The defintion of "nicht weniger als" is the same as you quote below: "nicht weniger als - no less than, pl. no fewer than". However, if the phrase were "nicht weniger als", there would be no discussion. You say that "The plural of "nicht weniger als" is "nichts weniger als", but that's not what it says. It says that the pl. *in English* is "no fewer than", thereby indicating that "nicht weniger als" can be singular as well as plural. From what you write, in the dictionary you are using there is no entry for "nichts weniger als". There is none in the new version I have either. However, in an older Langenscheidt I have, there are entries for both "nicht weniger als" and "nichts weniger als". "nicht weniger als - no less than pl. no(t) fewer than". "nichts weniger als -anything but".
However, according to what we've seen here, it seems that in use "nichts weniger als" can also mean "no less than", depending on the context and what the speaker/writer wants to say. The "aber" (but) that follows indicates to me that Steiner's meaning is "no (or nothing) less than". Peter, however, holds to the other interpetation. As things now stand, I see no way of clarifying this definitvely.

Frank

Wow. I never thought I'd be in an argument about how to read a dictionary. The description of abbreviations used in this dictionary is on page 776, and indicates that pl. means plural. The plural of "nicht weniger als" is "nichts weniger als" (you can't pluralize "weniger" or "als"). The dictionary gives the definition of "nichts weniger als" as "no fewer than". That simple.

To take this back to the original argument, the German reads:

"Es ist gewiss nicht zu leugnen, dass heute das Judentum noch immer als geschlossenes Ganzes auftritt und als solches in die Entwickelung unserer gegenwärtigen Zustände vielfach eingegriffen hat, und das in einer Weise, die den abendländischen Kulturideen nichts weniger als günstig war. Das Judentum als solches hat sich aber längst ausgelebt, hat keine Berechtigung innerhalb des modernen Völkerlebens, und dass es sich dennoch erhalten hat, ist ein Fehler der Weltgeschichte, dessen Folgen nicht ausbleiben konnten.“

The possible translations are:

“It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a self-contained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was nothing less than favorable to Western cultural ideas. But Jewry as such has outlived itself and has no justification within the modern life of nations. The fact that it nevertheless has been preserved is a mistake of world history which could not fail to have consequences.”

or

"It certainly cannot be denied that Jewry today still behaves as a closed totality, and that it has frequently intervened in the development of our current state of affairs in a way that is anything but favorable to European ideas of culture. But Jewry as such has long since outlived its time; it has no more justification within the modern life of peoples, and the fact that it continues to exist is a mistake of world history whose consequences are unavoidable."

These two versions offer a completely different argument on the part of the original author, and it cannot be that somehow both versions are present in the original. One must be correct, and the other incorrect. And the best judge of which version is correct would be translators, and not idealogues of any bent.

The first translation follows the original very closely. The second translation, after the first comma, departs from the German for no obvious reason, abandoning the "and as such" that is in the original and offering "and that it has" instead.

The "...nichts weniger als günstig war" I read to mean "nothing less than favorable". That is, the "als" belongs to the phrase "nichts weniger"; it is not separate. To argue the meaning of "nichts weniger" is to misread the phrasing of the original, either deliberately or as a result of unfamiliarity with the language.

Daniel Hindes

...................................................................................................................................

From: at
Date: Fri Feb 27, 2004 3:42 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Peter Staudenmaier:

There is no comma between "weniger" and "als". What are you talking about? What do you mean by "my version"? The only version I presented is the English translation of the passage that I included in my first post to the list.

I've gone over the posts again, and I stand corrected. I found that I picked up the allegation about the comma from Kim; it is not in any of your posts. For this false accusation you have my formal apologies.

I continue to hold that your translation is wrong. I would like to think that such a basic issue could be settled through one method or another, but right now I can't imagine how you could possibly be convinced. You have stated publicly that if Ralf Sonnenberg reverses his opinion, so would you. Perhaps I should have a talk with Ralf.

Daniel Hindes

...................................................................................................................................

From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Sat Feb 28, 2004 6:06 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

At 00:42 28.02.2004, Daniel wrote to Peter S:

I continue to hold that your translation is wrong. I would like to think that such a basic issue could be settled through one method or another, but right now I can't imagine how you could possibly be convinced.

If I were you, I wouldn't waste my time trying to convince Peter S or any of his fellow hardcore critics of anything. But I do believe you've convinced most of the others, so you can probably let it rest.

Tarjei

...................................................................................................................................

From: Dag Horntvedt
Date: Sat Feb 28, 2004 6:32 am
Subject: SV: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Daniel Hindes wrote:

I've gone over the posts again, and I stand corrected. I found that I picked up the allegation about the comma from Kim; it is not in any of your posts. For this false accusation you have my formal apologies.

Dag:

Hi Daniel

I do not think you should stand corrected too long. If you read the following quotations from Staudenmaier you will see that he indeed did use an example with a comma between the "weniger" and the "als". He is right about it not being the text of Steiner, but it was from Peter an example of the same kind of text. It is although interesting to notice that he starts this discussion with using other sentences as examples too prove his view, but ends up saying:

What we are arguing about is what they mean in one specific context.

Because that is virtually impossible to find out if you did not live in that time and space.

I find it reassuring that so many Germans I have asked, and then Franks daughter, have the opposite view than that of Staudenmaier and Sonnenberg.

Greetings Dag

Peter Staudenmaier sent: ma 23.02.04 20:10

Hi Detlef,

by my reading, the phrase "nichts weniger als günstig" means "anything but favorable". You seem to be saying that "nichts weniger" means more or less the same thing as "nicht weniger", but in fact the two phrases have opposite meanings, as I'm sure you'll realize once you think about it for a moment. If I say to you "Ich möchte nichts weniger, als Sie provozieren", I am saying that the last thing I want to do (not the first thing I want to do) is to provoke you. Hence it seems to me that your translation, "nothing less than favorable", gets Steiner's meaning exactly backwards. What he actually says is that the last thing the Jewish influence has been is favorable. I would be grateful if you could clarify how you reached the contrary conclusion. Thanks,

Peter Staudenmaier

send: ti 24.02.04 19:17:

Hello Kim and Dag,

thanks for your posts. I think that my translation is correct, and that you are both mistaken. I think you will recognize your mistake if you do two simple things: 1. Check a dictionary. 2. Consult an anthroposophist with the necessary fluency who is familiar with the text in question. To move this discussion forward, here are a couple observations on each of those two points:

1. The 2000 Collins German-English dictionary says on p. 928 that the phrase "nichts weniger" means "the last thing". They offer essentially the same example that I did, namely the sentence "Ich möchte nichts weniger, als ihn beleidigen", which they translate as "the last thing I'd want to do is insult him". I suspect you will find similar examples in other dictionaries.

2. There are a number of anthroposophists out there who know this text well and who have translated the very same passage themselves. Tarjei just gave us one example, where the sentence in question is rendered thus:

"It cannot be denied that Jewry still today presents itself as a selfcontained entity and as such has often intervened in the development of our present conditions in a way that was anything but favourable to Western cultural ideas."

I take it you both somehow missed that entirely? Be that as it may, I still think the most sensible thing to do would be to simply contact the most knowledgeable anthroposophist historian on this topic, Ralf Sonnenberg, who has published extensively on Steiner's attitudes toward Jews and who has discussed this very passage at length in several articles. Sonnenberg's reading agrees with mine, not with yours. (More on that in a moment, when I reply to Detlef, who seems to have lost Sonnenberg's phone number...)

I respectfully request that your reconsider your stance on this question.

Peter Staudenmaier

sendt: on 25.02.04 19:0 :

(snip)

Those aren't diversions. They really are irrelevant to the disagreement. You don't need to convince me that the words "nichts weniger" can mean "nothing less than" in some other context. What we are arguing about is what they mean in one specific context.

Peter

...................................................................................................................................

From: at
Date: Sat Feb 28, 2004 9:18 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Dag,

Thanks for the clarification. It is true that Staudenmaier's example of a different context where the phrase "nichts weniger" means "anything but" requires a comma after the "weniger" (and this makes his argument for his version border on specious). However, I accused him of offering an altered version of Steiner's original German, and this he did not do. Hence my apology.

Daniel Hindes

Daniel Hindes wrote:

I've gone over the posts again, and I stand corrected. I found that I picked up the allegation about the comma from Kim; it is not in any of your posts. For this false accusation you have my formal apologies.

Dag:

Hi Daniel

I do not think you should stand corrected too long. If you read the following quotations from Staudenmaier you will see that he indeed did use an example with a comma between the "weniger" and the "als". He is right about it not being the text of Steiner, but it was from Peter an example of the same kind of text. It is although interesting to notice that he starts this discussion with using other sentences as examples too prove his view, but ends up saying:

What we are arguing about is what they mean in one specific context.

Because that is virtually impossible to find out if you did not live in that time and space.

I find it reassuring that so many Germans I have asked, and then Franks daughter, have the opposite view than that of Staudenmaier and Sonnenberg.

Greetings Dag

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Mon Mar 1, 2004 7:31 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Crucial mistake in Steiner translation!

Hi Daniel, you wrote:

You have stated publicly that if Ralf Sonnenberg reverses his opinion, so would you. Perhaps I should have a talk with Ralf.

That would be great! Please do so, and report back to the list if you could. Thanks very much,

Peter

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Click to subscribe to anthroposophy_tomorrow
 

February/March 2004

The Uncle Taz "Anthroposophy Tomorrow" Files

Anthroposophy & Anarchism

Anthroposophy & Scientology

Anthroposophical Morsels

Anthroposophy, Critics, and Controversy

Search this site powered by FreeFind