The Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History
AbstractThis paper presents the history of the Donner Institute. The Donner Institute is an institution for the study of the history of religion and culture at the university of Åbo Akademi (Åbo, Finland). It was founded in 1957 following a stipulation in the last will of Mr. and Mrs. Uno Donner of Helsingfors, who died in 1958 and 1956 respectively. Uno Donner had shown an early interest in philosophical questions. During a visit to Egypt at the beginning of this century both he and his wife were impressed by ancient Egyptian culture and certain mysterious aspects of religion. They both seem to have had a firm conviction that intuition is an important way to true knowledge. When, in 1913, an artist friend of theirs, Henry Collison, introduced them to the thinking of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, their interest was easily kindled, and they became eager students of anthroposophy. They visited Dornach near Basel, the center of the anthroposophic movement, several times and made the personal acquaintance of Dr. Steiner. When an Anthroposophic Society was established in Finland in 1922, Uno Donner became its president. The library of the institute possesses an almost complete collection of Dr. Steiner's works and all available works of various anthroposophic authors.
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