Background to the Gospel of St. Mark

Thirteen lectures given in Berlin, Munich, Hanover and Coblenz, between 17th October, 1910 and 10th June, 1911

Translated by E. H. Goddard and D. S. Osmond


First Edition 1923
Second Edition 1937
Third Edition 1968
(a completely new translation with additions)
Reprinted 1985

The translation has been made from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer. The original German texts are published in the Complete Edition of the works of Rudolf Steiner with the title: Exkurse in das Gebiet des Markus-Evangeliums (No. 124 in the Bibliographical Survey, 1961).

This English edition is published by permission of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland.

All rights reserved.

© 1968 by Rudolf Steiner Press, London

Cover design by Christiana Beaven

ISBN 0 85440 660 3
ISBN 0 88010 145 8

Printed in Great Britain by
Billing & Sons Ltd, Worcester


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.'

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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.

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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.




Lecture One

On the Investigation and Communication of spiritual Truths
-- Berlin, 17th October, 1910

Lecture Two

Higher Knowledge and Man's Life of Soul
-- Berlin, 24th October, 1910

Lecture Three

The Tasks of the Fifth Post-Atlantean Epoch
-- Berlin, 7th November, 1910

Lecture Four

The symbolic Language of the Macrocosm in the Gospel of St. Mark
-- Berlin, 6th December, 1910

Lecture Five

The two main Streams of Post-Atlantean Civilisation
-- Berlin, 19th December, 1910

Lecture Six

The Son of God and the Son of Man. The Sacrifice of Orpheus
-- Berlin, 16th January, 1911

Lecture Seven

The higher Members of Man's Constitution: their relation to the Physical Body and to the outer World
-- Berlin, 28th February, 1911

Lecture Eight

Laws of Rhythm in the Domain of Soul and Spirit. The Gospel of the Consciousness Soul
-- Berlin, 7th March, 1911

Lecture Nine

The Moon-religion of Jahve and its Reflection in Arabism. The Penetration of the Buddha-Mercury Stream into Rosicrucianism
-- Berlin, 13th March, 1911

Lecture Ten

Rosicrucian Wisdom in Folk-Mythology
-- Berlin, l0th June, 1911

Lecture Eleven

Kyrios, the Lord of the Soul
-- Munich, 12th December, 1910

Lecture Twelve

Mystery Teachings in St. Mark's Gospel
-- Hanover, 18th December, 1910

Answers to Questions

Lecture Thirteen (notes only)

The Voice of the Angelos and the Speech of the Exousiai
-- Coblenz, 2nd February, 1911


Lecture One: On the Investigation and Communication of spiritual Truths

Background to the Gospel of St. Mark

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