to the Revised Edition
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
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:
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,
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
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:
Abbreviation and Title:
Abbreviation and Title:
The Book of Revelation and the Work of the Priest
Education for Special Needs
The Course of My Life
Knowledge of Higher Worlds
How to Know Higher Worlds
The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity
Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path
Occult Science-An Outline
Outline of Esoteric Science
A Road to Self Knowledge
A Way of Self Knowledge
The Spiritual Hierarchies and the Physical World / Reality and
The Spiritual Hierarchies
Spiritual Science and Medicine
Introducing Anthroposophical Medicine
The Wisdom of Man, of the Soul, and of the Spirit/ Anthroposophy,
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
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.