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The Ego

Schmidt Number: S-2328

On-line since: 2nd February, 2002

LECTURE 3

12th December, 1910

In the course of years, considerations have been brought forward in the various groups in different lecture-cycles, for a great number of the anthroposophical friends sitting here, on the John Gospel, the Luke Gospel, the Matthew Gospel, and we have attempted in these considerations, on the three gospels, to let appear before our spiritual eye the great event of Palestine, the Mystery of Golgotha, from three different sides, as it were, in three varying ways. And perhaps these considerations have proved adapted to lay in our souls the foundations for an ever-increasing valuation of this unique event. We have already pointed out how the reason why we have four gospels is to be sought essentially in the fact that the writers of the gospels, as inspired occultists, wanted to represent this great event each from his own side, just as one copies or photographs something external from one standpoint. And if one takes photographs of a thing from different sides, so through a combination of what results, through bringing them together before the soul, one can come to the true reality. Each of the evangelists really gives us opportunity to consider the great event of Palestine from one special side. From a side which we can call at the same time the opening of the highest human, occult and other aims, and beside this highest human principle, also taking into account the highest world principle — from this side it is the John Gospel which gives us an insight into the great event of Palestine.

The Luke Gospel opens for us an insight into the secrets, which hover round the personality of Jesus of Nazareth, of the Solomon and Nathan Jesus, up to the moment where the great inspiration of Jesus of Nazareth is replaced by the Christ.

The Matthew Gospel, for those who have heard the lecture-cycle on it, or have read it later, has to show how from the people of ancient Hebraism, from the folk-secrets of the Hebrew people, the physical principle of life (as it were) was prepared, in which the Christ-Principle should incarnate for three years.

In a certain connection it is again the Mark Gospel which can lead us into the highest summits of the anthroposophical, Christian method of observation, and through the Mark Gospel opportunity is given us to look into many things which should be imparted to us through the gospels, but are not brought near to us in such a way by the other evangelists. And I have laid on myself the task of saying a few words because opportunity offers itself today to speak of the Mark Gospel.

If we speak of this, we must be quite clear how necessary it is to look into many things for which the superficial world of the present has no real inclination. If one is to understand the Mark Gospel and all its depths, one must become acquainted with the quite different method of expression among men at the time when Christ Jesus walked on earth. Do not take it amiss, if I attempt to say to you what I really intend, through a distinct shading, a distinct twilight.

We express through speech what we want to say. And what lives in our soul should in a certain way be made obvious in the words of speech. In this method of expressing through speech what lives in our soul, the various epochs of human development are very different from each other. If we went back to the epoch of the old Hebrew evolution, to that wonderful method of expression which was still possible in the old Hebraic temple-speech, we should find quite another method of clothing the secrets of our soul in words, than people today have any idea of. When a word sounded in the old Hebraic speech — only the consonants were written, the vowels were then added — then there did not merely sound in this word what sounds in it today; a more or less abstract idea... but a whole world. Because of this, the vowels were not really written, because he who spoke gave out his most inner being just through his way of vocalising, whereas in the consonants, there lay more the description, the portraying of what is outside. One can say that when, e.g., an ancient Hebrew drew a “B” — what corresponds today with our “B” — he always felt something like a portraying of external relationships, of something which formed a warm, hut-like enclosure. The letter “B” always evoked the picture of something which, house-like, could surround a being. One could not utter the “B” without that living in the soul. And if one vocalised an “A,” one could not do it without something of strength, of force, even of radiating power, living within it. Thus the soul lived further. The soul-content worked outwards with the words, soared into space and into other souls. Thus speech was then a far more living affair. It entered far more into the secrets of existence than our speech.

That is the light which I wanted to place before you. And the shadows I must represent in contrast; that we in our time have become to a high degree in this connection pedants. Our languages only express abstractions, generalities. One does not even feel that any more. Speech only expresses now pedantry, fundamentally. How should this be different in an age when people even begin to manipulate it in literary fashion long before they have a spiritual content; in an age when such an infinite amount goes into the broad masses as print, when each one thinks he must write something, when everything becomes an object for writing. I have had to experience that even in the founding of our society, authors turned up from curiosity, who had the intention of being able to extract perhaps a novel out of the matter: why should not forms exist there which one can have on tap and retail in a public writing shop? Thus we must be quite clear that we have a speech which has become abstract, empty, pedantic — in contrast to the way in which one formerly conceived it as something holy, to which one felt the responsibility that GOD should speak from out of it. Hence it is so infinitely difficult to squeeze into modern words those great, tremendous facts, which are imparted to us and which sound to us, for instance, in the gospels. Why should the man of today not also believe that one can give everything in our speech? He cannot understand that our speech says something empty with what even the Greek speech still meant with a word. And if we read the Bible today, we read something which, compared with its original content, has been sifted once, twice, three times, but so sifted, that there remains not the best but always the worst. Therefore it is naturally cheap in a certain way to appeal to the modern words of the Bible. But we go astray most of all if we appeal to the Bible in the case of the Mark Gospel, as it lies before us today. In any case we must not do that.

Now you know that the Mark Gospel had in its first lines as its basis the words which the translation by Weizsacker, regarded as exceptionally good (but it is conceivable that what is regarded today as so excellent, need not be so really), renders as follows: “As stands written in the prophet Isaiah; Behold, I send my messenger before thee, who shall prepare the way for thee; listen how it calls in the wilderness; prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his paths.”

Honest people must really say to themselves, if the Mark Gospel begins thus in this Weizsacker: I do not understand a single word of it all. Whoever will understand it must really resolve to do something. Whoever goes sincerely to work, cannot understand anything when it is said: “Behold, I send my messenger before thee, who shall prepare the way for thee; listen how it calls in the wilderness; prepare the way of the lord; make straight his paths.” For either a triviality is uttered, or something is said which one cannot understand. One must first bring together those ideas which make it possible to understand such an utterance as that of Isaiah's here. For Isaiah points to that great, mighty event, which should be the most significant event in human evolution. What is he really pointing to? Now from what we have already described, we can well indicate what Isaiah predicted. We can indicate it by saying: In ancient times, man had a kind of clairvoyance; he had the possibility of growing with his soul-forces into the divine spiritual world. What really happened with man when he grew thus into the divine spiritual world? Then it was the case that when he grew into the divine spiritual world he ceased to employ his Ego, so far as it was developed at that time. He used his astral body, in which were those forces which were the forces of vision, of seership, whereas all the forces rooted in the Ego were gradually awakened through the perception of the physical world. It is the Ego which employs the instruments of the senses. The ancient human being, however, when he sought illumination about the world, employed his astral body. The ancient human being saw, perceived in the astral body. Further evolution consisted in this, that the transition was found from the astral body to the use of the Ego. With reference to this Ego, the Christ-Impulse had to be the most intense impulse. If, now, the Christ is taken up into the Ego so that the phrase of Paul is true, “Not I, but the Christ in me,” then the Ego has the power of growing into the spiritual world through itself. Formerly, only the astral body could do this.

Thus we have an evolution of humanity before us of which we can say: Man employed his astral body as organ of knowledge, but he lost more and more the possibility of developing an organ of knowledge in his astral body. And the more one approached the Christ Event, that stage of evolution arose of which man must say: My astral body has less and less the possibility of looking into the spiritual world. Nothing arose through its union with the spiritual world, and the Ego was not yet forceful enough to get, from its side, any illumination from the world. That was the age when the Christ drew near.

Now in the real evolution of mankind, it is a question of certain great strides being gradually prepared, which then occur. This was the case with the Christ-Impulse. But a transition had to exist. Things could not so run their course that man saw how his astral body gradually became dull towards the spiritual world, so that he would have felt utter barrenness and desolation in himself, until the Ego was kindled through the Christ-Impulse. Things could not take this course. But in the case of a few it happened through an especial influence from the spiritual world, they saw something already in the astral body similar to the way one should later see and know through the Ego: The egoity (Ego-hood) was, as it were, prepared in the astral body. That was an anticipation of the egoity in the astral body. Man indeed first became earthly man through the Ego and its development. The astral body really belonged to the ancient moon. At that time, the angel, the angel-man, was at the human stage. The angel was man on the old moon. Man is man on the earth. We know that. On the old moon, it was man's task to use his astral body. Everything else was only preparation for the Ego-evolution. The beginning of our earth evolution was a repetition of the moon evolution. For man could never become fully man in the astral body; but on the moon, only the angel could become man in the astral body. Therefore — just as in the earth-man the Christ lived in order to inspire the Ego — so for the preparation of this Ego-hood the possibility had to be given, that from the angels of the moon — from the moon-men, the angels — prophets were so inspired in their human astral body, that the Ego could be prepared. There had thus to occur what a prophet could have characterised in the following way: There will come in human evolution a time when man will be ripe for the ego-evolution. In the astral body only the angels of the moon have raised themselves to the highest. But in order that man can be prepared for this egoity, certain human beings must be so inspired on earth, through grace, in exceptional conditions, that they work as angels, in spite of their being human; that they are angels in human form.

Here we come to an important occult idea, without which you cannot understand at all the evolution of humanity in the sense of occultism. Externally uttered, it is naturally easy if one simply says that all is Maya. Well, all right. But that is an abstraction. One must really take it earnestly. Therefore one must be able to say: There stands a man before me... that, however, is Maya! Who knows... is that, anyhow, a man? Perhaps the human existence is but the external veil, employed by quite another being than man is, just to bring about something which cannot yet be effected by man. I have indicated something of this in my Portal of Initiation.

In ancient times, such an event was actualised for humanity, when that individuality who lived in Elias was reborn in John the Baptist, and when, in the soul of John the Baptist, an angel entered for that incarnation, and employed the corporality, and also the soul-nature of John the Baptist, in order to effect what no human being would have been able to bring about. In John lived an angel, an angel who had to go before, and announce before, that which should live in Jesus of Nazareth, in the widest sense, as true Ego-hood [Ichheit]. It is extremely important to know that John the Baptist is a Maya (illusion), and in him there lives an angel, a messenger. This stands also in the Greek: “Behold, I send my messenger = Angel.” The German alone thinks no more of this, that in the Greek “Angel” stands in this place. “Behold I send my angel before him.” And so there is indicated a deep world-mystery which, preceded with the Baptist, was prophesied by Isaiah. He characterises John the Baptist as a Maya, as an illusion, he who in truth comprises the angel, who, as angel, has to announce what man really should become through the reception of the Christ-Impulse — because the angel has to announce beforehand — what man only later has to become. And so, at this place, there should be said: “Behold, that which gives the egoity to the world, sends the angel before thee, to whom the egoity should be given.”

Now we pass to the third sentence. What does it signify? Here one must call to mind the whole historic world-situation. How had things become in the human breast, since the astral body had gradually lost the power of stretching out its forces like tentacles, to look clairvoyantly into the divine spiritual world? Formerly, when the astral body was put in activity, it could see in the divine spiritual world. This possibility disappeared more and more, and it became dark in man. Man could formerly spread out his astral body over all the beings of the divine spiritual world. Now he was alone in himself — alone is the same as eremos [Greek ernmos] That which the soul was now, lived in the solitude. That also stands there in the Greek text: Behold, how it appears, how it there speaks in the solitude of the soul (or you could say “in the wilderness of the soul “) — when the astral body could no more spread itself out to the divine spiritual world. Give heed how it calls in thy soul-wilderness, in thy soul-loneliness.

What is it that announces itself beforehand? Here we must be clear as to the meaning of one quite definite word, when one uses it of soul-phenomena, or of spiritual phenomena in general, above all in the Hebrew, but also in the Greek: the word Kyrios. If one translates it by “the lord,” as generally happens, then one is translating truly absolute nonsense. What is meant by it? Everybody in ancient times, who had such an utterance on his tongue, knew that something was meant thereby which was connected with the soul-progress of the human race. He knew, therefore, that the word “Kyrios” pointed, indeed, to secrets of soul. We have in the soul, when we look to the astral body, various forces. We usually call them thinking, feeling, and willing. The soul thinks, feels, and wills. Those are the three forces that work in the soul. But they are the serving forces of the soul. As man progressed in evolution, these forces which formerly were the lords, to whom man was given over — (man had to wait whether his thinking, feeling, willing was called) — these single soul forces became subject to the Kyrios, the Lord of the soul forces, the “I.” Nothing else was understood by this word, when it referred to the soul, than the “I,” though it no longer held in the old sense: the divine spiritual thinks, feels, wills in me, but I think, I feel, I will: The Lord makes itself valid in the soul forces. Prepare yourselves, ye human souls, to go such soul paths, that ye let the strong “I” awaken in your souls: Kyrios, the Lord in your souls. “Listen, how it calls in the solitude of soul. Prepare the force or the direction of the soul — Lord, of the I. Make open his forces!” Thus one must translate it, approximately. “Make its forces open, so that it can come in, so that it is not the slave of thinking, feeling, and willing.” And if you translate these words: “Behold, that which is the ego, sends its angel before thee, who should give thee the possibility to understand how it calls in the solitude of the astral soul: prepare the directions of the I, make the forces open for it, for the I,” then you have a meaning in these significant words of the prophet Isaiah; then you have an indication of the greatest event in human evolution; thus you understand from this how Isaiah speaks of John the Baptist, how he points out thereby that man's soul-solitude longs for the approach of the Lord in the soul, of the “I.” Then the words get force and weight. Thus, we must grasp such words.

Why could John the Baptist be the bearer of the angel? He could be this, because he had had a quite special initiation, The various initiations are specialised. These initiations are not something general; they are specialised. With those individualities who have a quite special task, an initiation had to occur according to a quite special kind of secret. Now for everything which happens at all in the spiritual world, it is so provided that there is revealed in the heavens, in the starry script what spiritual facts there are. One can receive the sun-initiation, that means, enter the secrets of the spiritual world, which is the world of Ahura Mazdao, for which the sun is the external expression. But one can be initiated into the sun secrets in a twelve-fold way, and each initiation is in a certain connection a Sun-Initiation, but yet is differently constituted with reference to the other eleven. According as man has this or the other task for the whole of mankind, he receives a sun-initiation of which one can say: This is a sun-initiation but such that one must express by saying: The forces flow in so that the sun stands in the sign of Cancer. That is different from the initiation one receives which one must express by saying: The forces flow in as if the sun stands in the sign of the Balance or Scales. They are the expressions for different specialised initiations. And those individualities who have such a high task, a high mission, as characterised here for John the Baptist, they must be initiated in a quite special manner in a special initiation, because only from this can they get the strong force necessary to bring about this mission in the world, also, under conditions in a quite one-sided way. And so, John the Baptist, in order that he could become the bearer of the Angelos, had that sun-initiation, which one can call the initiation from the sign of the Waterman. As the sun stands in the sign of the Waterman, that is a symbol for that kind of initiation which John the Baptist received, in order to become the bearer of the angel, while he received the force of the sun, as it flows down when it stands in the sign of the Waterman, when it stands in such a relation to the other stars, that one designates it with the expression: It stands in the sign of the Waterman. That was the symbol that John had the Waterman-initiation. The sign indeed received this name Waterman, because he who had the Waterman-initiation received especially the power as a spiritual initiate, of effecting in human beings what John effected as the Waterman, as the Baptist: namely, to bring human beings to this, that with the immersion in water, they got their etheric bodies so free, that they came to such a self-knowledge, which made possible what was the most important thing at the time. Human beings were immersed, and the etheric body became free for a moment. Through the baptism in the Jordan, man could feel the quite especial importance of the world-historic epoch. Therefore John was initiated just in the Baptism Initiation. And because one must express that symbolically, with the flowing-down of the sunrays out of the sign in which the sun stands, so one called this sign also — the Waterman. Thus the name of the human power is carried over.

Today a whole number of learned ignoramuses make the attempt to interpret spiritual events by bringing down the heaven, as it were, to the earth. They say: Now, that signifies the prominence of the sun. All these learned people, who really do not know much, interpret human events from out of the heavens. The reverse was the case. What lives in man spiritually was carried over to the heavens, while one made use of the heavens as a means of expression. So that John the Baptist could say: I am he who baptises you with water. And that was the same as if he had said: I am endowed with the initiation of the Waterman. I baptise you with water, I am endowed with the initiation of the Waterman. That was the word which John would have been able to say to his intimate disciples. And just as the sun progresses in opposition to its sense-path: if you proceed in opposition to Waterman, there arises — Virgin; then it passes to Balance. If we have initiation in mind, we must consider the opposite path, on the other side: from Waterman to Fishes. Thus John could say: Something will come that no longer has to work as corresponds to the sun from out of the Waterman, but as corresponds to the working of the sun from out of the Fishes. One will come who will bring a higher baptism. When the spiritual sun mounts higher, then there arises from the Waterman-baptism, the baptism from spiritual water. The sun ascends in spirit from Waterman to the Fishes: hence the well-known fish-symbol for the bearer of the Christ, which is an ancient symbol. For just as in John through quite special spiritual influences a Waterman initiation took place, so the initiation, of which I have spoken here and there to you, which arose through all mysteries in a secret way which transpired around Jesus, a Fish-initiation — a progression of the sun by one constellation. That was what placed Jesus of Nazareth in his age, that he was first subject to a Fish-initiation.

This is, one might say, sufficiently indicated to us in the gospel of Mark. Yet such things can only be indicated in image form. Christ Jesus draws together all those who are seeking fish. Therefore all his first apostles are fishermen. And we can find obvious what I have said — the progress to the Fishes, when we are told: I have baptised you with water. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit. And as he drew to the sea of Galilee — that means, when the sun was so far advanced, that one could see its counterpart from the Fishes — those are inspired who were called Simon, and Simon's brother, James, and James' brother, fishers — they are inspired in the corresponding way. How can we understand all that? We cannot understand it, unless we enter a little more closely into the means of expression of that time.

Our modern means of expression is pedantic. If a man stands before us, we say: there is a man. If a second stands before us, we say again: there is a man. A third — another one, etc. But we have merely Maya before us. If a being has two legs, and a human countenance, then in our pedantic way of expression we have but the one word: there is a man. But what is a man for occultism? Nothing but Maya! Really, as he stands there before us, man is — nothing. He is about as much as the rainbow which stands in the sky. How long is this anything? Only so long as the necessary conditions are given between rain and sunshine. If the sun and rain alter their relationship, it is gone. It is just the same with man. He is only a streaming together of forces of the macrocosm. We must seek the forces in heaven, here or there in the macrocosm. There, where one assumes perhaps a man somewhere on the earth, there is nothing for the occultist. But forces are streaming from above down, from below up, and they intersect. And as the peculiar constellation of rain and sunshine results in the rainbow, so forces streaming out of the macrocosm from above and below result in a phenomenon, and this appears as man. That is the man. Man is nothing as he stands before us. In truth, he is a schema, a Maya, an illusion. It is the cosmic forces which are real, which intersect there where our eyes think they see a man. Just try and take this expression earnestly: Man is nothing as he stands before us. He is but the shadow of many forces. The being, however, who reveals itself in man, can quite well be elsewhere, than at that point where this man is walking on two legs. There are three men: The one is an ancient Persian, who works at the plough in the old Persian agriculture. He looks like a man — in truth he is one of the souls, who are nourishing their forces out of this or that world from below or above. The second is perhaps an old Persian official. He is built through forces from another world which intersect in him. If we will know him, we must mount to these forces. All of you, as you are sitting here, are in your reality quite somewhere else. Only the forces from your own real being ray here.... Then stood a third Persian there, of whom one had to say: He is really utter deception — he is utterly a schema, which stands there. What was there in reality? One must go up to the sun, there are the forces which nourished this model. There above, among the secrets of the sun, one finds that which one can call the Gold Star — Zarathustra; that sends the rays down, and here below stands a model, which one calls Zarathustra. In truth, his being is not there at all. That is the third.

Now it is important that in ancient times one was aware of what was meant by such designations. One did not give names as one does today, but one named people according to what lived in them, not according to their external illusory appearance. We must be quite clear of this. So that one should have been able to say: An ancient human being at the time of Christ should have well understood when one pointed to John the Baptist, and said: Here is the angel of God. One would only have heeded that which had taken up the place. One spoke of the chief matter, not of the subsidiary ones. Now let us assume the same mode of expression was applied to Christ Jesus Himself. How must one have spoken of Christ Jesus if one understood such things? No man at that time would even have dreamt of naming that which then wandered over the earth, this wandering body in flesh, the Christ Jesus; but that was the sign, that what streamed down spiritually from out of the sun, was caught up in this point in a quite special manner. If this body, which was the body of Jesus, went from one place to another, that was the rendering visible of the sun-force which went from one place to another. This sun-force could also go alone. At times the expression was so used, that Christ Jesus was in his home in the flesh, but what was in him moved further, even without his body. Especially in the John Gospel the expression is so used, that under conditions, when this being moved purely spiritually, the writer of the gospel speaks quite exactly as if this sun-force dwelt in a fleshly body. Hence it is so important that the deeds of Christ Jesus are always brought into connection with the physical sun, which is the external expression for the spiritual world, which has been collected, been caught up, at that point where the fleshly body wanders. If thus the Christ Jesus heals, for instance, then it is the sun-force which heals there. This must stand, however, at the right place in the heavens. “When evening was come, as the sun went down, they brought to him all who were sick, diseased, etc.” It is important that one indicates that this healing power can flow down when the external sun has set, when the sun only still works spiritually. And as He needs a definite force in order to work, he had to take this out of the spiritual sun, not out of the physical visible sun. “And early in the morning, while it was still dark, he arose and went out.” The path of the sun, and the sun-force is expressly indicated to us: that this sun-force works, and that fundamentally Jesus is only the external sign: that this path of the sun-force could also be visible to the weak external eyes. And everywhere in the Mark Gospel where we have mention of the Christ, the sun-force is meant, which for that epoch of our earthly evolution was quite especially active on that part of the earth called Palestine. And one could see the sun-force. “At this or that time, Christ went from this place to that place.” One could just as well say: “At this time, the spiritual force of the sun, as if gathered into a focus, went from this to that place,” And the body of Jesus was the external sign which made visible to the eyes how the sun-force moved. The paths of Jesus in Palestine were the paths of the sun-force come down to earth. And if you draw the steps of Jesus as on a special map, then you have a cosmic event; the working of the sun-force out of the macrocosm in the land of Palestine. It is a question of this macrocosmic event. It is especially the writer of the Mark Gospel who points this to us; the writer of the Mark Gospel, who well knew that a body, which was the vehicle of such a principle as the Christ-Principle, must be subdued in a quite special way by his principle. It was the pointing to that world which Zarathustra had so powerfully announced behind the world of sense, the pointing to that world as it works into the human world. And so now there was indicated through Christ Jesus how the forces work on into the earth. Therefore a kind of repetition of the Zarathustra-events must occur in that body which, as we have seen, even if it was the body of the Nathan Jesus, was in a certain way influenced by the Zarathustra Individuality.

Now let us hear the great, beautiful legends of Zarathustra. As his mother gave him birth, the first wonder of Zarathustra showed itself as the famous Zarathustra smile. The second wonder was when the king of the district where Zarathustra was born, Durasrav, resolved to murder Zarathustra, of whom the decadent magicians had said special things. As the king appeared to stab the child, his arm was paralysed. That was the second miracle after the birth of Zarathustra. And then, the king who could not use his dagger against Zarathustra, had the child taken among the wild beasts of the desert. That is the expression for the fact that in earliest childhood, Zarathustra had to see what man sees when he appears impure. Instead of the noble group-souls, and the noble, higher spiritual beings, he sees the outflow of his wild fantasy. That is the exposure in the desert to the wild animals, among which Zarathustra remains unharmed. That is the third miracle. The fourth was again a miracle among the wild animals, etc. Always it was the good spirit of Ahura Mazdao who served Zarathustra.

We find these wonders again in the Mark Gospel repeated: “And then the Spirit drove him into the wilderness — (really it means solitude) — for forty days... and the angels ministered unto him.” Here we are shown that the body was prepared to take up, as it were, in a focus, that which transpired in the macrocosm. What happened with Zarathustra must happen again; being led to the wild beasts.... This body took up what came in from out of the macrocosm.

The Mark Gospel already in its first lines places us within the greatest cosmic connections. And I wanted to show you how basically, if one but first understands the words in the right sense — not as in our modern pedantic speech, but as in the ancient speech, where each word had living worlds behind it — when one understands it in the sense of this ancient speech, how then the Mark Gospel gets new life, new force. But one must say: Our modern speech can only find what was already laid in the words in these ancient speeches, after much paraphrase. What we utter when we say: “Man lives on the earth and develops his ego. Man formerly lived on the moon, then it was the angels who went through their human stage.” All of that lies behind, when it runs: “Behold, I send my angel before man.” And the words are not to be understood, without the presupposition of what is offered in spiritual science. And people in the present should be sincere, and say of the words at the beginning of the Mark Gospel: That is incomprehensible. Instead of doing this, they stand there in petty pride and explain spiritual science as fantasy, which puts all kinds of things into what they know in a simple way. But these people of today do not know it at all. And today one no longer has the principle that one had, for instance, in ancient Persia, where from epoch to epoch, the ancient holy documents were rewritten, in order to be clothed anew for each epoch. Thus the divine spiritual word as Zend-Avesta was transformed, and again transformed, and what exists today is the last form. Seven times the Persian Bible was written anew. And anthroposophy should teach men how necessary it is that books in which the holy secrets are written must be transformed from age to age. For especially when one will preserve the mighty style of old, one may not as it were attempt to remain as much as possible with the old words. One cannot do it, one understands them no more, but one must attempt to transform the ancient words into a direct understanding of the present. We have tried this summer to do that with Genesis.* You saw, then, how many of the words must be transformed. You have perhaps today got a little idea of how the words must also be transformed in the Gospel of Mark.

* Secrets of Creation. A series of lectures on the Book of Genesis delivered by the author at Munich, August, 1910, now out of print, but to be reprinted shortly in a second and revised edition.




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