THE TRANSCRIPTS OF LECTURES
results of my anthroposophical
work are, first, the books available to the general public; secondly, a
great number of lecture-courses, originally regarded as private
publications and sold only to members of the Theosophical (later
Anthroposophical) Society. The courses consist of more or less accurate
notes taken at my lectures, which for lack of time I have not been able
to correct. I would have preferred the spoken word to remain the spoken
word. But the members wished to have the courses printed for private
circulation. Thus they came into existence. Had I been able to correct
them the restriction: for members only would have been unnecessary
from the beginning. As it is, the restriction was dropped more than
a year ago.
autobiography it is especially necessary to say a word about how my
books for the general public on the one hand, and the privately printed
courses on the other, belong within what I elaborated as Anthroposophy.
who wishes to trace my inner struggle and effort to present Anthroposophy
in a way that is suitable for present-day consciousness must do so through
the writings published for general distribution. In these I define my
position in relation to the philosophical striving of the present. They
contain what to my spiritual sight became ever more clearly
defined, the edifice of Anthroposophy — certainly incomplete in
requirement arose, different from that of elaborating Anthroposophy
and devoting myself solely to problems connected with imparting facts
directly from the spiritual world to the general cultural life of today:
the requirement of meeting fully the inner need and spiritual longing
of the members.
strong were the requests to have light thrown by Anthroposophy upon
the Gospels and the Bible in general. The members wished to have courses
of lectures on these revelations bestowed upon mankind.
this need through private lecture courses, another factor arose: at
these lectures only members were present. They were familiar with basic
content of Anthroposophy. I could address them as people advanced in
anthroposophical knowledge. The approach I adopted in these lectures
was not at all suitable for the written works intended primarily for
the general public.
private circles I could formulate what I had to say in a way I should
have been obliged to modify had it been planned initially for
the general public.
public and the private publications are in fact two quite different
things, built upon different foundations. The public writings are the
direct result of my inner struggles and labours. whereas the privately
printed material includes the inner struggle and labour of the members.
I listened to the inner needs of the members, and my living experience
of this determined the form of the lectures.
was ever said that was not solely the result of my direct experience
of the growing content of Anthroposophy. There was never any question
of concessions to the prejudices or the preferences of the members.
Whoever reads these privately-printed lectures can take them to represent
Anthroposophy in the fullest sense. Thus it was possible without hesitation
— when the complaints in this direction became too persistent
— to depart from the custom of circulating this material only
among members. But it must be borne in mind that faulty passages occur
in these lecture-reports not revised by myself.
right to judge such private material can of course, be conceded
only to someone who has the pre-requisite basis for such judgment. And
in respect of most of this material it would mean at least knowledge
of man and of the cosmos insofar as these have been presented in the
light of Anthroposophy, and also knowledge of what exists as
‘anthroposophical history’ in what has been imparted from
the spiritual world.”
Rudolf Steiner, An Autobiography,
Chapter 35 pp. 386–388,
2nd Edition 1980, Steinerbooks, New York.