THE TRANSCRIPTS OF THE LECTURES
Rudolf Steiner's autobiography
(“My Life”), Chapter 35, 1925. It was subsequently published in English,
Rudolf Steiner, An Autobiography,
2nd Edition, Multimedia Pub. Corp., New York, 1980.
consequences of my anthroposophical activity are the books which were made
accessible to the general public and an extensive series of lecture courses
which were initially intended for private circulation and were available
only to members of the Theosophical (later Anthroposophical) Society. The
transcripts of the latter were taken down — some more accurately than
others — during my lectures. But time did not permit me to undertake
their correction. I, for my part, would have preferred spoken word to remain
spoken word, but the members were in favour of private publication of the
courses. And so it came about. If I had had time to correct the transcripts,
the reservation “For Members Only” need not have been made from
the very first. Now it has been dropped for over a year.
in “My Life” it is above all necessary to explain how the two
— the publications in general and in private circulation — are
accommodated in my elaboration of anthroposophy.
Whoever wishes to
pursue my own inner conflict and toil in my effort to introduce anthroposophy
to contemporary thought, must do so with the aid of the works in general
circulation which include analysis of all forms of cognition of this age.
Therein also lies that which crystalised within me in “spiritual
vision” and from which came into existence the structure of
anthroposophy, even if imperfect in m any respects.
Apart from this
obligation to construct anthroposophy and thereby to serve only that which
ensues when communications from the spirit world are to be transmitted to
modern civilisation, the need also arose to meet the claims which were
manifested within the membership as a compulsion, a yearning of the
Above all, many
members were greatly disposed to hearing the gospels and the spiritual
content of the Bible presented in an anthroposophical light. Courses
were requested which were to examine such revelations to
were held to meet this requirement. At these lectures only members were
present who were initiated in anthroposophy. It was possible to speak
to them as to those well-versed in anthroposophy. The delivery of these
internal lectures was such as simply could not be communicated in written
works intended for the general public.
In these closed
circles I was able to discuss subjects which I would have had to present
quite differently if they had been intended for a general public from the
Thus in the duality
of the public and private works there actually exists something of two-fold
diverse origin. The wholly public writings are a result of that which
struggled and toiled within me; in the private publications, the Society
struggles and toils with me. I listen to the vibrations within the soul-life
of the membership and within my own being, and the tone of the lectures
arises from what I hear there.
Nowhere has even
the slightest mention of anything been made which does not proceed from the
substance of anthroposophy. No concessions can be made to any prejudices or
presentiments existing within the membership, Whoever reads these private
publications can accept them as a true representation of anthroposophical
conviction. Thus when petitions became more urgent, the ruling as to the
private circulation of these publications within the membership could be
amended without any hesitation. Any errors occurring in transcripts which
I have not been able to revise will however have to be tolerated.
The right to pass
judgment on the content of any such private publication is nevertheless
reserved to those possessing the prerequisite to do so. For the great
majority of these publications, this is at least an anthroposophical
knowledge of man and the universe, in so far as its essence is presented in
anthroposophy, and of “the history of anthroposophy” such as it
is derived from communications from the spirit world.