During the reestablishment of the Anthroposophical Society as the General Anthroposophical Society during Christmastime 1923-24, Rudolf Steiner also reconstituted, as the School of Spiritual Science, the Esoteric School he had led in three classes from 1904 to 1914. At the same time, he also extended its scope by adding artistic and scientific Sections. However, owing to his illness and subsequent death in March 1925, he was able to make only a beginning by establishing the First Class and the various Sections.
The actual step from the Esoteric School to the School of Spiritual Science was nevertheless an exceptional one. The Esoteric School from Helena Blavatsky's time had been secret. Its existence was known only to those who were personally invited to participate. By contrast, the existence of the School of Spiritual Science was made known in the public statutes of the General Anthroposophical Society. From the Christmas Conference onward, Rudolf Steiner worked within this publicly acknowledged framework.
The Class lessons comprise a complete spiritual course of nineteen fundamental lessons, given from February until August 1924, with several lessons given elsewhere, and seven more lessons from September 1924, which take up the themes of the first part of the nineteen lessons in a modified form.
This authentic, accurate, and high-quality bilingual edition- containing both English and German parallel texts- is published in conjunction with the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum. This compact, four-volume cloth-bound set features plates with Rudolf Steiner's handwritten notes of the mantras and reproductions of his original blackboard drawings in color.
The translations of the mantric verses have been reworked by a committed group of translators, linguists, and editors to express the subtleties of meaning, grammatical accuracy, and poetic style while retaining the original sound and meter of the German mantric forms. Three versions of the existing English translations are also included.
These volumes are translated from the German texts, Esoterische Unterweisungen für die erste Klasse der Freien Hochschule für Geisteswissenschaft am Goetheanum; 4 Volumes (GA 270).
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up. As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe's scientific writings.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings.
The influence of Steiner's multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.