Preface to the Revised Edition

While writing has been a vital part of my life activities from youth, The Burning Bush was my first attempt at writing a book. And Medicare arrived for me two months before its publication. But even at that age, to some extent one still learns to do by doing. So if I were starting it again with a clean slate, having hopefully learned a little, there are a few things I would have done differently. These relate almost entirely to mode and style of expression, for surprisingly little necessity for substantive change has come to my attention. The big hurdle from the first, of course, was to take what, to most readers, was unfamiliar substance from Steiner's vast esoterica and show its fundamental relevance to scriptural meaning. The magnitude of that undertaking still both astounds and inspires me. There is powerful depth to the old observation, "the moving hand writes and having writ moves on." The foundation is laid, and cannot be materially altered. My two little books, The Incredible Births of Jesus and The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, were written in a more simplified and popular style. By focusing on narrower portions of the larger work, they presented a less daunting prospect than the more massive work itself, while opening portals of entry to it. The daunting aspect of the original book was aggravated by an error in the production process. The publisher's usual type of paper, rather than that chosen, added almost a half inch thickness to the book's already formidable size. Perhaps that correction is the happiest change in this revision. While the original vision of a complete anthroposophical commentary on the Bible remains unchanged, with volumes covering multiple topics, these smaller supplemental writings will likely continue to flow from the larger project which must nevertheless be completed as resource material for biblical studies in the days to come. As this revision goes to print, Vol. 2, David's Question, "What Is Man?" (Psalm 8), is nearing the stage for publication.

The only significant, substantive changes made in this revision are as follows:
1. In chart I-19 dealing with the Archangelic Ages, I was originally obliged to state that I was "unable to give fuller explanation" of the discrepancy between two different tables. With some helpful prompting, I was able to resolve that discrepancy.
2. Even though the list of scriptural illustrations in the "Three Bodies" essay did not purport to be exhaustive, and doubtless could include many other examples than those shown, three have come to my attention that deserve to be added. They are:
(a) An item 9(a) should be inserted on p. 430 before item10 citing Ex 19,1-40,21. Within this portion of the narrative, we see that the law was given to Moses in three stages. In the first stage (Ex 19,1-24,11) it was not written down by God; in the second (Ex 24,12-33,23) the Lord gave him "tables of stone," which he later broke at the foot of the mountain when he saw the idolatry of the people; in the third (Ex 34,1-40,21), Moses brought stones upon which the Lord again wrote, and these were put in the "ark." The first of these portrays the astral body (perception), the second the etheric body (memory), and the third the physical body, the "ark" (see discussion of this "ark" in the "Overview," p. 21, in "Three Days' Journey," p. 322, and in "Three Bodies," example #s 6 and 11). The "stone tablets" can be seen, anthroposophically, as the increasingly mineralized and highly evolved right and left sides of the brain.
(b) An item 10(a) should be inserted on p. 431 before item 11 citing Num 22,21-35, the three occasions upon which Balaam struck his ass before it spoke to him.
(c) An item 42(a) should be inserted on p. 454 before item 42 citing Josh 6,8-21, which contains three stages of action, those of day one, of days two through six, and of day seven,

3. A paragraph was added to footnote 5 of the final essay, "Pillars on the Journey," to elaborate more fully on the suggestion that Moses and Paul were the same Individuality. This seemed necessary in view of the interplay between the "great cosmic law," there discussed, and the "two witnesses" (Moses and Elijah) at the Transfiguration and in Revelation 11,3-12, on the one hand, and the two primary New Testament witnesses, Paul (i.e., Moses) and Evangelist John (i.e., Elijah, as more fully shown both in this volume and in The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved) on the other hand.

Some other changes probably fall between substantive and perfunctory. One change in this category is the revision of fn 18 in "The Nativity" adding references to two apocryphal writings attempting to explain how John the Baptist survived Herod's massacre of the infants. Another is the reversal of the pineal and pituitary glands in the reference to chart I-21 in the text on p. 225. Finally, in a very few instances an additional reference was added to those already cited.

Very soon after the original publication, I recognized the wisdom in the editor's suggestion that the third volume, as I had envisioned it, was not appropriate for the series and should thus not be published. Inasmuch as I had already prepared a draft of that volume, it was referred to in the first edition as "Vol. 3, Companions Along the Way. These references are here removed. Likewise, a rough draft already existed of Vol. 2. In that rough draft the essay on "Fire" contained an Appendix to which reference was made in the original publication. The necessary portions of that Appendix are now incorporated into the "Fire" essay itself, so these references to the Appendix have been removed.

In spite of the awful tedium of copy-editing a work of this size, some errors this process purports to ferret out inevitably creep onto the printed page. Happily reprints and revisions give opportunity to correct those that have been detected, and that has been done.

We in the English-speaking world, where most of us are unable to read German, must grapple with a serious disadvantage. We must rely upon translations, and only have available those works of Steiner that have been translated. There are several facets to this problem. One, of course, is that not all his works are available. Though still a problem, the last two decades have greatly reduced this hurdle (see fn 3 of the "General Introduction"). There is another aspect posed by the very difficulty of the translation process itself. All scholars, particularly of the Bible, know the problems presented thereby. And just as with that Book, efforts to produce ever better translations are ongoing. Not only so, but when selected portions of the German archives (identified there only by a "GA" number) are translated and published in English, they are given a book title. This title does not always correspond with what is in the archive, if indeed any title is given there other than the date and place of origin. Moreover, these titles are constantly being changed, presumably "improved." But the process can be very puzzling to those trying to fix on the etiology, the origin, of a given publication. And it is further aggravated by the fact that new versions often contain different content from the archives than earlier ones. This is why, in the Bibliography, I have attempted from the first to identify by date, place, number of lectures, and chronology, the works listed there. It is a reference of immense value in the English-speaking world where GA numbers are essentially meaningless. To some extent it enables the reader to identify changes in titles from one translation or publication to another.

Reflective of this problem, a number of titles in the original text and Bibliography have been republished with one or more of the above alterations. No "official list" of these is available to me, but I have gone through recent catalogues of the Anthroposophic Press, Inc. and identified back to their earlier versions those which I could. Several of these are among the most basic works. I have deemed it essential to update these by using the latest titles, with new acronyms (abbreviations), but have left in the Abbreviations of the Bibliography the old acronyms so that the reader can identify these works through either the old or the new title or abbreviation. The Bibliography itself only contains the new title, without otherwise identifying it to the old save in its Abbreviation list and this Preface to the Revised Edition. The following titles are the ones which have been thus changed:

Former Abbreviation and Title: New Abbreviation and Title:
APOC-CC: The Apocalypse REVP: The Book of Revelation and the Work of the Priest
CED: Curative Education ESN: Education for Special Needs

CML: The Course of My Life

AUTO: Autobiography
KHW: Knowledge of Higher Worlds HKHW: How to Know Higher Worlds

PSA: The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity

ITSP: Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path
OS: Occult Science-An Outline OES: Outline of Esoteric Science

RSK: A Road to Self Knowledge

WSK: A Way of Self Knowledge

SHPW: The Spiritual Hierarchies and the Physical World / Reality and Illusion

SH: The Spiritual Hierarchies

SSM Spiritual Science and Medicine

IAM: Introducing Anthroposophical Medicine

WMSS: The Wisdom of Man, of the Soul, and of the Spirit/ Anthroposophy, Psychosophy, Pneumatosophy

PBSS: A Psychology of Body, Soul, & Spirit


My biggest dilemma centered on the practice of putting terms and phrases in quotation marks with initial capital letters. The reasons originally given for it continue to have merit, but the practice seems to have confused some readers when those terms or phrases were merely anticipated for future volumes and thus were not found in the book itself. While I would probably have made changes in this practice if I were starting over with what I now know, and am generally not carrying that practice forward in later volumes, I decided to let what the "moving hand" wrote prevail in this instance. Aside from its basic merit, the practical aspect of the extensive changes it would entail, with their consequent problem of changing page references in the indexes, weighed in on this decision.
One whim was pampered, changing the capitalized adjective "biblical" to lower case.
Whatever flaws and inadequacies of mine remain, with these revisions the book continues to present biblical concepts, however new and complex, which I believe to be spiritual realities essential for human understanding in the days to come.

 
Overview, Page 7
Caveat, Page 1