Background to the Gospel of St. Mark
The following lectures were given by Rudolf Steiner to audiences familiar with the general background and terminology of his anthroposophical teaching. It should be remembered that in his autobiography, The Course of my Life, he emphasises the distinction between his written works on the one hand and, on the other, reports of lectures which were given as oral communications and were not originally intended for print. For an intelligent appreciation of the lectures it should be borne in mind that certain premises were taken for granted when the words were spoken. “These premises,” Rudolf Steiner writes, “include at the very least the anthroposophical knowledge of Man and of the Cosmos in its spiritual essence; also what may be called ‘anthroposophical history’, told as an outcome of research into the spiritual world.”
The lectures contained in this volume had been preceded by courses given by Rudolf Steiner on the Gospels of St. John, St. Luke and St. Matthew and are to be regarded as a preparation for the more specialised course on the Gospel of St. Mark which was given more than a year later, when the necessary basis for an approach to its particular mysteries had been created. The present course, consisting of ten lectures, was given in Berlin under the title, Exkurse in das Gebiet des Markus-Evangeliums, and in this volume the texts of two other lectures and notes of a third given in other cities have been added. This will explain the repetitions in the later lectures.
A list of publications in English translation relevant to the themes of the following lectures, and a summarised plan of the Complete Edition of Rudolf Steiner's works in the original German will be found at the end of the present volume.