We take the following passage from
The Story of My Life
by Rudolf Steiner, which may serve as an introduction to the
publication of those lectures which first appeared privately printed
at the earnest request of members of the Anthroposophical Society, and
are now made accessible to the general public in book-form.
Two results had now come from my anthroposophic work: first my
books published to the whole world, and secondly a great number of
lectures which were at first to be considered as privately printed and
to be sold only to members of the Theosophical (later the
Anthroposophical) Society. These were really reports on the lectures
more or less well made and which I, for lack of time, could not
correct. It would have pleased me best if spoken words had remained
spoken words. But the members wished the printed copies. So this came
about. If I had then had time to correct the reports, the restriction
‘for members only’ would not have been necessary. For more than a
year now, this restriction has been allowed to lapse.
At this point in my life story it is necessary to say, first of
all, how the two things my published books and this privately
printed matter combine into that which I elaborated as
Whoever wishes to trace my inner struggle and labour to set
anthroposophy before the consciousness of the present age must do this
on the basis of the writings published for general circulation. In
these I explained myself in connection with all which is present in
the striving of this age for knowledge. Here there was given what more
and more took form for me in spiritual perception, what
became the structure of anthroposophy in a form incomplete, to
be sure, from many points of view.
Together with this purpose, however, of building up
anthroposophy and thereby serving only that which results when one has
information from the world of spirit to give to the modern culture
world, there now appeared the other demand to face fully
whatever was manifested in the membership as the need of their souls
or their longing for the spirit.
Most of all was there a strong inclination to hear the Gospels
and the biblical writings generally set forth in that which had
appeared as the anthroposophic light. Persons wished to attend courses
of lectures on these revelations given to mankind.
While internal courses of lectures were held in the sense then
required, something else arose in consequence. Only members attended
these courses. They were acquainted with the elementary information
coming from anthroposophy. It was possible to speak to them as to
persons advanced in the realm of anthroposophy. The manner of these
internal lectures was such as it would not have been in writings
intended wholly for the public.
In internal groups I dared to speak about things in a manner
which I should have been obliged to shape quite differently for a
public presentation if from the first these things had been designed
for such an audience.
Thus in the two things, the public and the private writings,
there was really something derived from two different bases. All the
public writings are the result of what struggled and laboured within
me; in the privately printed matter the Society itself shares in the
struggle and labour. I hear of the strivings in the soul-life of the
membership, and through my vital living within what I thus hear the
bearing of the course is determined.