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
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.
In my 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
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.
But another 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.
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
In meeting this 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.
In 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.
Thus 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 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.
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. But it must be borne in mind that faulty
passages occur in these lecture-reports not revised by myself.
The right to judge such private material can of course, be conceded only to someone who has the pre-requisite basis for such judgement. 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.