About the Transcripts of Lectures
“The 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 the members
of the Anthroposophical Society. The courses consist of
more-orless accurate notes taken at my lectures, which for
lack of time I have not been able to correct. I would have
preferred the spoken work 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
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
have elaborated as anthroposophy.
“Someone 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 many ways.
“Another requirement arose, however, different from
that of aborating 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 the spiritual
longing of the members.
“Especially 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 humanity.
meeting this need through private lecture courses, another
factor arose: at these lectures only members were present.
They were familiar with the 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.
these 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.
the 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 labors, whereas the privately printed materials includes
the inner struggle and labor of the members. I listened to
the inner needs of the members, and my living experience of
this determined the form of the lectures.
“However nothing 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.
It must be borne in mind, however, that faulty passages occur
in these lecture-reports not revised by me.
right to judge such private material can, of course, be
conceded only to someone who has the prerequisite basis for
such judgment, and regarding most of this material this would
mean at least knowledge of the human being 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,
pp. 386–388, Second Edition, 1980, Steinerbooks, New York.