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-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 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
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 the spiritual longing of the
“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 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.
“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 labors,
whereas the privately printed material 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
“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.
“The 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 in so far 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.