Because of the thousands of changes here to Dr. Steiner's original words, this text cannot be construed to be Dr. Steiner's. This text does NOT purport to be Dr. Steiner's exact words. None of this text should be quoted as verbatim from Dr. Steiner.
In his Fifth Gospel lectures, Rudolf Steiner details his original scientific research into this material that is invisible to materialistic sight. When he made the fruits of his investigations public, he spoke of two ends he had in mind. One end was to complement and supplement details of the existing four Gospels from the images stored in the Akashic Record or Akashic Chronicle. His second end was to add, from his investigations, to the Events of Palestine, the relevant karmic and reincarnational aspects.
As he explains it, in his day, at the turn of the 19th century into the 20th, humanity had developed very significant capacities of objective thinking, thinking that asks for more than the simple picture-truths that sufficed in medieval and Renaissance eras. In earlier centuries, the "picture books" of the original four gospels, were sufficient for mankind's development and for thinking based on imitation and 'taking on authority.' But nineteen centuries after the facts, humankind has developed very significant capacities of objective thinking. Independent thinking is valued more highly than imitation and taking on authority.' 20th century persons want the full story. They want to know and experience the truth for themselves--whatever it is. They bridle at being offered as adults, mere Sunday school images. Thinking people around 1900 were refusing the Sunday school images of the Christ held over from earlier times. In Steiner's day, people were hungry for the "full story" of Christ.
In rejecting both Sunday school imagery and authoritarian explanations concerning Jesus the Christ, Dr. Steiner saw the public throwing the baby out with the bathwater. He made himself available to clarify facts and create a modern place to stand to view the Christ impulse.
According to Dr. Steiner, an objective record of Christ's life exists in a purely spiritual form. He said this 'spiritual document' resided in a larger body of information called the Akashic Record, the body of the Angel Akasha. Dr. Steiner called this non-physical record he was "quoting" from, the Fifth Gospel. He reached into the Fifth Gospel and shared images and insights, that are either absent or not well expressed in the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Dr. Steiner called what he shared "additions" because he said the four synoptic Gospels also draw their imagery from the same starry "picture book" that is the Fifth Gospel in the Akasha. Dr. Steiner is clear his research shows the synoptic Gospels are--in part--imagery drawn from the Akashic Records. He discusses the service the authors of the original four Gospels performed in creating "picture books" of the spiritual path of Christianity for the people of their day and the next thousand years to come.
All of the Fifth Gospel material is only a fraction of Dr. Steiner's output concerning the Christ. Readers of prior editions of The Fifth Gospel lecture transcripts know fascinating tangents are explored on almost every page. Material not directly related to the story of Christ abounds. Interested readers are encouraged to read the source texts for a wealth of tangential and fascinating material we left out. Complicating matters, large gaps in the narrative, also exist. These gaps have been bridged with excerpts from Dr. Steiner's Christology material, commentary on the Gospels and Emil Bock's The Three Years.
Emil Bock collaborated with other participants of the Christian Community movement in the 1930s and 1940s to create a series of books beginning with Genesis. Their passion was salvaging from the Nazi attack on humanistic values, the modern standpoint on Christianity Dr. Steiner presented. Bock and his colleagues assimilated and synthesized Steiner's scattered and disorganized lecture material on the Old and New Testament, updated his language and employed his approach. The several books credited to Bock, written collaboratively, are an artistic synthesis of Dr. Steiner's lecture transcripts, unrevised, unedited by Steiner himself. Unlike the present book, which endeavors to preserve the substance and character of Dr. Steiner's original words, Bock's books employ Dr. Steiner's substance and approach to clarify and build upon. They also extrapolate many striking original conclusions. The Three Years was invaluable to us in suggesting an organization to the entire body of Dr. Steiner's Fifth Gospel legacy.
A second purpose to Dr. Steiner's Fifth Gospel lectures was to address in 20th century terms and for persons schooled in logic, the karmic and reincarnational aspects of the Events of Palestine. A 20th century audience could think through the logic of many formerly confused issues for the first time.
The result of this is his Fifth Gospel material combines two very different moods. On one hand, dreamy images of picture-symbology; on the other, truths of logical, hard-edged, close-tolerant scientific research. Dr. Steiner believed then--as many do today--that if avenues are opened whereby people can work more consciously and directly with their own Christed energies, they will do so.
This volume is our best attempt to facilitate and further his impulse. We welcome readers' suggestions to improve future editions.
Several intentions towards the source material were followed in this volume:
- To maintain the focus on Dr. Steiner's own voice, words and ideas.
- To follow the chronology of Christ Jesus' life, as the other Gospels do. Dr. Steiner's Christology studies and digressions further afield have mostly been deleted to strengthen the narrative thrust of events.
- To do the least harm in revising Dr. Steiner's own words. The original transcripts have been edited and revised several times for historical accuracy in German and English. Interest in preserving Dr. Steiner's original words as historical documents is high. This work is the first to our knowledge attempting to bring Dr. Steiner's words up to modern writing standards.
This work was composed literally by entering all known Fifth Gospel material from any source onto a computer, printing it out, putting all pieces in chronological order, then cutting and pasting to combine the many duplications into one coherent whole. Original material has been spliced together, often merging three or four similar sentences into one sentence. All similar passages have been combined and distinct nuances preserved, to the best of our ability. We have necessarily altered diction and syntax revising it closer to contemporary written standards. We have at all points striven to hold to Dr. Steiner's original voice. The first draft has the precise source of every fragment of every sentence. Each page has about 50 such tags. We were going to leave these in but everybody said it made the text too difficult to read! Dr. Steiner's preface, below retains its tags since very few existed.
Because of the thousands of changes to Dr. Steiner's original words, this text cannot be construed to be Dr. Steiner's. This does NOT purport to be Dr. Steiner's exact words. None of this text should be quoted as verbatim from Dr. Steiner.
To assist readers to expand the impulses of the overflowing heart between us as social beings. In this, we hope this work helps counter the tendency to speak of spiritual matters in an otherworldly mood. Two Fifth Gospel study groups over the twelve nights of Christmas inspired this work. Groups using this version will immediately appreciate the enhancements made to readability.
Your comments and suggestions on how this work might be improved are welcomed. Perhaps at a future date, as Dr. Steiner said, The Fifth Gospel will take its place next to the other four Gospels.