This volume contains eight of the more than 6000 lectures given by Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) during the early part of this century. As with many of his lectures Steiner assumes a certain familiarity with his basic writings on the part of his listeners, a familiarity which can be gained by reading one or more of his introductory works. Chief among these are the four books: The Philosophy of Freedom, An Outline Occult Science, Theosophy, and Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment. The reader unfamiliar with the above works might be well advised to consider first reading one or more of them before attempting this volume both as a way of increasing his appreciation and comprehension of this work and in fairness to Steiner who explains in detail how he came to his knowledge in these four volumes.
The fourth lecture of this volume is unusual. In it Steiner responded quite specifically to several critics of his basic writings. Although in its content this lecture departs from the theme of the series reproduced in this volume, it is nevertheless retained here, first in the interest of historical fidelity and second because Steiner's responses to his critics do indirectly highlight and offer examples for several of the main ideas of the overall theme.
However, Steiner, himself referred to the content of the fourth lecture as a digression. With this in mind, the reader wishing to follow uninterrupted the content of the lecture cycle may elect to read directly on to the fifth lecture upon completing the third.