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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

The Christian Mystery
GA 97

General Notes

This English edition is based on the 1998 edition of the German edition of GA 97.

The lectures given in 1906 and 1907, notes and records of which are collected in this volume, were given at the same time as the lectures given in Berlin and published in the volume Original impulses for the science of the spirit (GA 96), and may thus be said to complement them. All these lectures were given for members of the then German Section of the Theosophical Society. The lecture on Wagner's Parsifal in Landin was given because Rudolf Steiner, Marie Steiner-von Sivers and some friends had been at Eugenie von Bredow's country estate for a short holiday and then seen Parsifal performed in Bayreuth at the invitation of Sophie Stinde and Pauline von Kalkreuth, the two leaders of the Munich branch.

Rather than follow the usual chronological order, the lectures have been organized under four major themes in this volume. In 13 lectures, Rudolf Steiner considered the spiritual content of the truths to be found in the Christian revelation; 3 lectures are on the nature and mission of the luciferic spirits, 5 on the Rosicrucian way of initiation and its specific nature compared to earlier ways. The fourth group are lectures, some of which were given to central anthroposophical insights, others in their application in different spheres of life.

The terms ‘theosophy’ and ‘theosophical’. At the time when he gave these lectures, Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophical spirit of the science was still within the context of the Theosophical Society and he would generally use the terminology familiar to its members. Yet from the very beginning he used the terms ‘theosophy’ and ‘theosophical’ with reference to his own independent spiritual researches. Taking up a suggestion he made at a later date, the terms have been replaced with ‘science of the spirit’ and ‘anthroposophy’ in these lectures except where they refer specifically to H. P. Blavatsky's theosophical stream. This is the case in the lectures given in Dusseldorf on 4 April 1906 and in Leipzig on 25 April 1906 and 12 January 1907.

For a glossary of repeatedly used Indian theosophical terms, see next chapter.

Sources. The lecture notes were made by members of the audience, some being better, others less good. Only 3 lectures (Basel, 19 September 1906; Karlsruhe, 4 February 1907, and Vienna, 22 February 1907) were taken down verbatim. All others are based on brief notes or summaries. The extremely brief record of the Parsifal lecture given in Landin has been extended by using Marie Steiner's notes. Although the sources were on the whole not very satisfactory, the lectures notes have been included in Rudolf Steiner's collected works because they give an idea of his lecturing activities at that time. They often complement each other, also with regard to important details.

For the 1998 German edition, the notes were revised and an index of names added. Text revision by Maria Balastèr and Ulla Trapp.

The volume was given its title by the editor of the first edition. The titles given to individual lectures are not by Rudolf Steiner.

Previously published lecture from this volume: The Structure of the Lords Prayer (Karlsruhe 4 February 1907. Tr. A. H. Parker. London: Rudolf Steiner Press 1971.