Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib
The Gospel of St. Mark
By Rudolf Steiner
Translated by Conrad Mainzer
Copyright © 1986
The Mark Gospel reveals Christ as a Cosmic Being, giving us a sense
of his greatness and power. In this lecture cycle Steiner helps us grasp
this aspect of Christ, and, like the Gospel itself, it is an artistic
work in its own right.
The ten lectures presented here were given in Basel, Switzerland from the
15th to the 24th of September, 1912. In the Collected Edition of Rudolf
Steiner's works, the volume containing the German texts is entitled,
(Vol. 139 in the Bibliographic Survey, 1961). They were translated from
the German by Conrad Mainzer and edited by Stewart C. Easton.
This volume is presented here with the kind permission of the Rudolf
Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland.
This e.Text edition is provided with the cooperation of:
The Anthroposophic Press
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| ||Cover Sheet
|Contents and Synopsis
|Some Preliminary Remarks
||September 15, 1912|
Different perspectives of history in
nineteenth century by comparison with earlier centuries.
Sudden entry of Oriental literature into Western culture in
nineteenth century. General cultural intermingling, Oriental
interest in Christianity. New interest in questions that can
be answered only out of spiritual science. Opening words of
Mark Gospel, how they can be understood. Difference between
period before and period after Mystery of Golgotha. Hector
and Empedocles of pre-Christian times; Hamlet and Faust of
Christian era. How earlier personalities find difficulty in
adjusting to life in Christian era. Why such a contrast?
Mystery of Golgotha and coming of the Christ between these
incarnations. Gospels as revelations from world of
hierarchies to world of earth, reaching man through medium of
angeloi. The ev-angel or Gospel.
||September 16, 1912|
Need to study Bible rightly and to
perceive especially its artistic composition. Culmination of
Old Testament in books of Maccabees and martyrdom of seven
sons of widow. Mingling of Persian and Hebrew element in
Zarathustra Jesus-child. Hebrew prophets as former initiates
of other peoples; receivers of inspiration, not initiates in
Hebrew incarnation. Development of consciousness during
course of Old Testament history. Coming of Christ as
fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy. John the Baptist as
divine messenger, last of old prophets, forerunner of Christ.
Recognition of John by Jews, recognition of Christ by
super-sensible beings. Twelve apostles as reincarnated sons of
Mattathias and sons of the widow. Judas Iscariot as Judas
Maccabaeus and in unnamed later incarnation. Human evolution
as work of art. Christianity as world religion, free from
||September 17, 1912|
John the Baptist as reincarnated Elijah
whose earthly manifestation was Naboth. Elijah as folk-soul
of Hebrew people. Baptism by John, its relation to task of
Elijah and as preparation for coming of Christ. Continued
activity of spirit of Elijah-John after his physical death.
Christ among disciples of John. John's later incarnation as
Raphael. Hermann Grimm's inability to write biography of
Raphael. Increase of bread through Elijah and Christ's
“miracle” of loaves and fishes. Contrast between
complete incarnation of Christ and incomplete incarnation of
Elijah in Naboth. Healings by Christ Jesus, nature of
so-called “miracles.” Contrast with healings by
physicians trained in Mystery schools. Healings and karma,
“forgiveness of sins.” Bible as book for all
mankind, not only Christians. How Buddhists and Christians
should recognize each other's religions.
||September 18, 1912|
The mission of Gautama Buddha and his
inspired teaching in India. The work of Socrates in Greece
and its influence in the West. Its appeal to reasoning power
of his pupils. Contrast between Buddha and Socrates. Socrates
occasionally close to Buddha (e.g. in Phaedo); Buddha
occasionally close to Socrates. Christ Jesus among his
disciples. Example of Parable of the Sower. Difference in his
way of speaking to disciples and to the crowd, with its
heritage of ancient clairvoyance. Sentient soul heritage in
Buddha, consciousness soul anticipation in Socrates, two
diverging “comets,” both living in age of mind
||September 19, 1912|
Buddha and his predecessor Krishna.
Krishna's teachings as occult revelations. Teachings of
modern idealist philosophers equally “occult” but
conceptual in post-Christian era. In Vedas and
Krishna's teachings summarized world perceived by ancient
clairvoyance in third cultural epoch before loss of
clairvoyance. Buddha's teachings some centuries later show a
nostalgia for lost world of Krishna. Buddha looked backward
to Krishna, John the Baptist looked forward to Christ.
||September 20, 1912|
Absence of time element in Krishna's
teachings. Oriental viewpoint of recurrence contrasted with
development of mankind through historical epochs. Historical
emphasis in Old Testament. Peculiarity of Hebrew conception
of history. Development of Hebrew people analogous to
development of individual human being. Concept of immortality
only in time of Maccabees (“The Old Testament people
now grown old but proclaiming eternity of human soul”).
Elijah as “soul-seed” of people, reincarnating as
John the Baptist and after his death as group soul of Twelve.
Christ and his disciples after death of John. The
“feeding” of the five thousand and the four
thousand. Intermingling of earthly and spiritual in Mark
Gospel. Peter's acknowledgment of Christ and its sequel.
World historical monologue of Christ Jesus.
||September 21, 1912|
Relation between Christ Jesus and the
Twelve. Contrast between initiates of other peoples and
Hebrew prophets. Disciples' ignorance of initiation, hence
difficulty of understanding Mystery of Golgotha. Before
Mystery of Golgotha spiritual worlds unable to penetrate into
human “I”; hence the “I” could enter
spiritual worlds only in initiation when outside body —
spiritual ego-force then too strong for physical body, able
to enter only damaged or vulnerable bodies, e.g. Achilles'
heel, Siegfried and Oedipus. The five wounds of Christ. As
result of Mystery of Golgotha possibility now exists to
perceive it in imagination and to understand it. This
understanding particularly necessary for disciples. Contrast
between Yoga and Oriental philosophy, attained through
clairvoyance, and Western philosophy. Beginnings of Western
philosophy. Pherecydes of Syros as last straggler from
clairvoyant period. Thales and other pre-Socratics as
transition from clairvoyance to nonclairvoyant thinking and
abstract concepts. Empedocles as transitional figure —
his “call” answered by a “cry” from
||September 22, 1912|
Occult significance of mountain, lake and
plain. Transfiguration on mountain. Moses as bearer of
initiation streams of other peoples. Hebrew people as gift of
God to mankind. Sacrifice of Isaac. Phinehas, grandson of
Aaron and his “zeal” for God. His later
incarnation as Elijah-Naboth. Moses, Elijah, and Christ as
cosmic deity, at Transfiguration. Presence of Peter, James
and John at Transfiguration; their inability to understand
it. Judas Iscariot and the woman with alabaster flask of
ointment. Meaning of the “curse” of the fig tree,
“no longer the time of figs.” Bodhi tree of
Buddha and the tree of the Cross.
||September 23, 1912|
Artistic composition of Mark Gospel,
artistic threads that are also occult threads. Christ shown
in this Gospel as cosmic being. Three possible levels of
understanding of Mystery of Golgotha. Failure of disciples,
of Jewish leaders, of Romans. Conversations with Sadducees
and scribes regarding higher worlds not understood by
disciples. Christ as "Son of David" not recognized by Jews.
Pilate and Christ as "king of the Jews." Failure of chosen
disciples to accompany Christ as far as Mystery of Golgotha.
Recognition by Christ in Gethsemane of his own isolation.
Recognition of Christ as Son of David only by blind
Bartimaeus. Contrast between Christ working in world and
Christ betrayed under cover of darkness. Gradual withdrawal
of cosmic Christ from Jesus of Nazareth. Abandonment by the
disciples, then by “the young man.” Reappearance
of “young man” after Resurrection. How could
disciples who fled know truth about Mystery of
||September 24, 1912|
Change of attitude among Christians toward
Gospels over the centuries. Influence of materialism. Jesus
research and Christ research. Necessity of clairvoyance to
understand Mystery of Golgotha. Transmission of clairvoyant
knowledge from Peter to Mark. Mark's understanding of
prospective decadence of humanity through experiences in
Egypt. Recapitulation of Egyptian culture in our age.
Materialistic science and spiritual science. Failure of
humanity to recognize the Son of Man and impulse of cosmic
Christ. Son of Man as highest ideal of humanity. How to
experience this through Mark Gospel and its artistic
composition. Difference in spiritual comprehension between
men and women. Mary Magdalene at tomb. How Mystery of
Golgotha will be understood and experienced in future.
Difference between lives of Buddha and Christ. Unacceptable
view of Christ held by official Theosophical Society. Only
through impulse from Mystery of Golgotha can Mystery of
Golgotha be understood. Primal Word enkindled through Christ.
"Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass
|Notes on the Translation
Last Modified: 29-Aug-2017
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