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On the Identity of Steiner’s Teacher “M”

The True Identity of Steiner’s Rosicrucian Master ‘the M’ Revealed

For the past 100 years, biographers of Steiner have puzzled over the identity of “M” an early teacher of Rudolf Steiner. Steiner acknowledges M as an important early teacher, but say almost nothing about him. Now a researcher has presented evidence that M is Alois Mailander. You can read the full claim in the article above.

The claim has generated a lot of back and forth about whether Mailander is the correct identification. One objection is the Emil Bock, who identified Steiner’s other early teacher Felix Koguzki through old fashioned detective work, had rejected Mailander. I decided to examine whether that was correct.

I have the English version of the two-volume Bock biography. Mailander is extensively discussed from pages 201-211, and Bock demonstrates extensive contacts with Steiner’s circle. Bock presents Mailander primarily in the context of his relationship to Hubbe-Schleiden. Bock claims (p 204) that Steiner never met Mailander but knew of him. And a sentence before Bock writes that Mailander “was the source of many powerful influences”. It is a fairly sympathetic presentation of Mailander overall.

On p 39 Bock talks about the Master. It is short and he is basically quoting Schure and Steiner’s Autobiography. Nothing about who “M” might be; the question is not even taken up. It comes up at more length in pp 45-46, but essentially as a long quote from Schure’s introduction to the French edition of “Christianity as Mystical Fact” (which is based on the Barre document, but it is possible that Bock was unaware of the document, as it was not published until 1967, six years after Bock’s biography). Interestingly the description would fit Mailander.

From my reading, it would be fair to say that if Mailander is “M”, Bock simply missed it, rather than to say that he considered it and dismissed the possibility. Now the German edition of Bock’s biography may be more extensive or may be subtly different than the English edition; I don’t have a copy to compare.

Final note for those unfamiliar with Bock. His 1961 biography brought a lot of new facts to light that were previously unknown among followers of Steiner. The biggest one was tracking down Felix Koguzki, that is, finding Felix’s actual last name, grave site, birth register, and some photos, and collecting the recollections of Felix by the old folks in his village as well as Felix’s sons. You could presume that if Bock found Felix, he would have found M. But for M Bock does not present anything beyond the two sources that come from Steiner.

Ultimately I don’t feel qualified to decide whether or not Mailander was M. But I am interested in the possibility. The main thing I want to establish was the Bock is not a source for or against.¬†Bock does not discuss Mailander in the context of the Master, but 150 pages later in the context of Hubbe-Schleiden’s biography and Hubbe-Schleiden’s relationship to Steiner.

What Bock says about Hubbe-Schleiden (short version) is that he was an avid seeker of esoteric wisdom, met with Mailander multiple times, got assigned meditations that he was too lazy to perform, and over time frustrated Mailander to the point where Mailander cut him off. That was in the 1870s and 1880s. Hubbe-Schleiden then discussed all of this with Steiner after 1902. Hubbe-Schleiden was instrumental in getting Steiner appointed head of the German Theosophical Society in 1902, and they had extensive correspondence through 1907. Short version of a 10-page section.

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