The present lectures for members given in Dornach in June 1923 are based on the attempt by Rudolf Steiner to encourage the Anthroposophical Society to reconsider the real foundations of anthroposophy and the inner requirements for tackling the tasks of the age. After the First World War, the Society had increasingly splintered into a variety of external initiatives and practical projects. Although Rudolf Steiner had spoken warning words from 1921 onwards, and at the end of 1922 had called on leading members to make proposals for its reconsolidation, a real rethink did not take place until New Year's Eve 1922, when the destruction by fire of the first Goetheanum provided the catalyst. As a consequence, regional societies were founded in a number of countries in 1923. On 10 June, immediately preceding the first lecture in this volume, the General Meeting of the Anthroposophical Society in Switzerland decided, on the basis of a motion from the Society in Great Britain, to call a meeting of delegates from all countries for the end of July to decide the measures for the reconstruction of the Goetheanum. This international delegate meeting further decided to combine the individual regional societies into an International Anthroposophical Society at the Goetheanum at Christmas 1923. Its leadership was to be assumed by a General Secretary to be elected at that time, but shortly before Christmas Rudolf Steiner decided to take over the chairmanship himself.
Textual basis: These lectures were taken down in shorthand by Helene Finckh. Her own transcription of these notes forms the basis for this volume.
The first edition was published by Marie Steiner in 1931 with a Foreword by her. The second edition was undertaken by H.W. Zbinden. The third edition in 1981 included an expanded Contents and additional Notes.
Works by Rudolf Steiner which have not been translated and which have appeared as part of the Complete Edition (Gesamtausgabe = GA) are referred to in the Notes by their bibliographical number.