This vital but difficult cycle has been published twice before in English, the first in an edition of 1923 published by Harry Collison, and the other published in 1950 by the Anthroposophic Press in New York. These two editions were based on two different German versions. Both these earlier translations had many virtues, but the two translators were inclined to gloss over some of the difficulties in the text, and their interpretations were often at variance with one another. It was therefore decided to commission another translation altogether which would be more literal and more faithful to Steiner's words as printed in the latest German edition of 1976 (GA 139). It is this translation by Conrad Mainzer that has been mainly used for the present edition, although many changes had to be made in it in order to make it acceptable to English speaking readers. The result is therefore a wholly new translation, even when the wording of one or the other of the earlier translators has been adopted; and every effort has been made by the editor to make this new publication worthy of the content of this, the last and most profound of Steiner's cycles of the four Gospels.
The biblical quotations may not sound familiar to readers who have always favored the King James Version, the version used in the two earlier English translations. For the most part the translations are those made by Conrad Mainzer from Steiner's wording, though in a few instances they have been revised to bring them into conformity with the original Greek. Though unfamiliar it is hoped they will prove acceptable and more easily comprehensible than the often archaic language of the earlier versions.