ABOUT 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
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, 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.
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.
In meeting 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.
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.
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 prerequisite 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.