SOS: A note about Notes

This is one of a series of posts discussing Rudolf Steiner’s Founding a Science of the Spirit: Fourteen Lectures Given in Stuttgart Between 22 August and 4 September 1906. Visit the tag Science of Spirit for all posts on this topic. 

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Part way through Lecture One: The Being of Man, I encountered an endnote that I wanted to check (I was not aware of who Jacob Boehme was, the endnote simply states: Jacob Boehme 1575-1624 mystic). On p. 153 of the text, I encountered not only the unhelpful endnote, but also an interesting Note on the text which read as follows:

The text of this particular lecture cycle is not based on an official transcript, but is compiled from handwritten notes made at the time by participants. It was on the basis of these versions, which include a number of discrepancies, that an edited and reworked edition was produced… . As they stand, therefore, the lectures reproduced here cannot be assumed to be Steiner’s precise words in every instance.

This is followed by an additional Publisher’s Note Regarding Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on p. 157, which states in part

The lectures and addresses contained in this volume have been translated from German, which is based on stenographic and other recorded tests that where in most cases not seen or revised by the lecturer. Hence, due to human errors in hearing and transcription they may contain mistakes and faulty passages.

It then goes on to differentiate between members only lectures and public lectures, and what Steiner had to say about these things. I feel that is all is rather unimportant when you look at the first note on p. 153 and wonder why these notes were not placed at the beginning of the book, instead of the very end of the book.

This book was put together based on some people’s lecture notes. Having taken my share of lecture notes during my time at college other various talks, I wonder just how accurate a book compiled of lecture notes and then translated into another language can be. I’m not sure any of my professors would feel comfortable with a class compiling a volume of their works based solely off lecture notes (complete with margin doodles, short hand, and strange abbreviations).

So this is a collection of metaphorical, occult lecture notes that talk about practical occultism, Buddi, and glowing auras.

Right then. Onward to Lecture 2: The Three Worlds.