CONCERNING THE TRANSCRIPTS OF THE LECTURES

[Extract from Rudolf Steiner, An Autobiography, Chapter 35, pp. 386–88, 2nd edition 1980, Steinerbooks, New York.]

It is the published written works by Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) that form the basis of anthroposophically orientated spiritual science. Besides these, he gave numerous lectures and courses between 1900 and 1924, both for the public as well as for the members of the Theosophical Society, later Anthroposophical Society. His original wish was that his lectures, which were always given without notes, should not be written down, as they were meant to be ‘verbal communications not intended for print’. However, as incomplete and incorrect reports by members of his audiences began being circulated in increasing numbers, he was forced to control the transcripts . He entrusted this task to Marie Steiner-von Sivers. She was made responsible for appointing the shorthand writers, supervising the trancripts and doing the necessary revision of the texts for publication. Due to lack of time, it was only in a very few instances that Rudolf Steiner corrected the transcripts himself, therefore with regard to all the lecture publications the following proviso has to be borne in mind: ‘People will have to accept the fact that there will be mistakes in the copies I did not check.’

In his autobiography (chapter 35), Rudolf Steiner refers to his lectures to members which, at the beginning, were solely available as private manuscripts, and how these stand in relation to his public writings. The actual words are reproduced at the end of this volume. What is stated there applies equally well to the courses on specialised subjects, which were addressed to limited audiences acquainted with the basis of spiritual science.

After the death of Marie Steiner (1867–1948) work was begun on the publication of a complete edition of Rudolf Steiner's works according to his directions. The present volume is a translation of part of this complete edition.