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The Fifth Gospel

From the Akashic Record (CW 148)

March 1985
More details
  • Publisher
    Rudolf Steiner Press
  • Published
    1st March 1985
  • ISBN 9781855840393
  • Language English
  • Pages 264 pp.

13 lectures in Oslo, Berlin, Cologne, Oct. 10, 1913 – Feb. 10, 1914 (CW 148)

“Let me emphasize from the beginning that there is no element of sensationalism or anything of that kind in the choice of the title The Fifth Gospel. I hope to be able to show that it is possible to speak of such a Fifth Gospel from a point of view that is of particular importance to us in the present age, and that no title could be more suitable for what is intended. As you will hear, the Fifth Gospel has never been written down, but it will certainly be put into definite form in future times. In a sense, however, it would be true to say that it is as ancient as the other four Gospels.” —Rudolf Steiner (Oct. 1, 1913)

From his clairvoyant reading of the akashic record—the cosmic memory of all events, actions, and thoughts—Steiner was able to discuss aspects of the life of Jesus Christ that are not recorded in the four Gospels of the conventional Christian Bible. The results of such research has been called “The Fifth Gospel.”

After an intense inner struggle to verify the exact nature of these events, and having checked the results of his research, Steiner described many detailed episodes from the akashic record. For example, he speaks of Jesus’ life in the community of the Essenes, the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, and a significant, previously unreported conversation between Jesus and Mary.

Steiner states that divulging such spiritual research is intensely difficult, but that “although people show little inclination to be told such facts as these, it was absolutely essential that knowledge of such facts should be brought to Earth evolution at the present time.”

This book is a translation from German of Aus der Akasha-Forschung: Das fünfte Evangelium (vol. 148 in The Collected Works of Rudolf Steiner).


Lecture 1, Oslo, 1 October 1913
Greco-Roman life of the intellect was highly developed at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. The Christ impulse spread through simple people who loved Christ and entered the whole of our civilization. Thus, Copernicus and Giordano Bruno though persecuted by the Church were still members of the Church. Haeckel’s and Darwin's thoughts were wholly Christian, and their thinking can be understood by grasping the Christian idea behind it. The Christ is like the soul of the Earth—entering human souls irrespective of what they think. Time has now come when he must be understood. Why was it necessary for the Christ impulse to spread through centuries when people had no understanding of it?

Lecture 2, Oslo, 2 October 1913
First Pentecost: Quickened by all-prevailing cosmic love the Apostles woke from a dream-filled state of consciousness and were now able to understand what had happened on Golgotha. Access to events on and around Golgotha may be gained by entering into the mind and heart of one of the Apostles. Peter’s denial due to being in altered state of consciousness. Darkening of the Earth and earthquake as occult signs the seer is able to read. Intellectual thinking of the time represented by Moon darkening the Sun. Body of Jesus taken up into the Earth. What appeared as a death on Golgotha had in fact been the birth of that cosmic love for the whole Earth. Apostles recognized Christ as the great spiritual teacher they had known between Golgotha and Ascension when images from after Golgotha merged with images from before Golgotha. Difficult for Steiner to speak of these things, but occult obligation. From a free-thinking and scientific background, he found his way to the Christ spirit through spiritual science, and his revelations from the Fifth Gospel may therefore be seen as more objective.

Lecture 3, Oslo, 3 October 1913
Baptism by John in the Jordan like conception, and Mystery of Golgotha the birth, to the Earth, of the Christ, to be followed by his actual life on Earth when he was with the Apostles in their unusual state of consciousness. Ascension and Pentecost with pouring out of cosmic love equivalent to our entering the world of the spirit on death, but in oppo-site direction. Persian or Mithraic mysteries with their seven stages of initiation. Initiates bearing the name of their nation would enter the realm of the Archangels to receive guidance. Sun Heroes went to dwell in the Sun sphere with the Archai who preserved a nation’s achievements on behalf of humanity. They met the Christ spirit in the Sun who then came to Earth at Golgotha. Three years of pain and suffering in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Christ spirit initially able to be elsewhere than the body of Jesus but gradually uniting more closely with body. Road from fullness of divine powers to utter powerlessness. Out of this was born the all-prevailing cosmic love, the Christ impulse that came to humanity.

Lecture 4, Oslo, 5 October 1913
Much was expected of Jesus of Nazareth after the wisdom shown in the Temple. But he grew increasingly silent. Pain of realizing that ancient Hebrew revelation could no longer reach people, that pagan rites had been invaded by demons, with the Bath Kol revealing the macrocosmic Our Father. Realization that Essene practices were exclusive, driving Lucifer and Ahriman away. Question: “Where do Lucifer and Ahriman go when they take flight?”

Lecture 5, Oslo, 6 October 1913
Talk Jesus of Nazareth had with his stepmother in which he spoke to her of his experiences and the pain he felt. Story of Hillel. Zarathustra spirit left Jesus. His own dead mother's soul entered into the stepmother's soul. The physical, ether and astral bodies of Jesus went to receive the Christ spirit at the baptism. First temptation by Lucifer and second by Lucifer and Ahriman was repulsed, third by Ahriman alone could not be repulsed entirely, because the Christ had no experience of material world. Christ Jesus saw that people were caught up in material world and reversed the macrocosmic Our Father in the Lord's Prayer. Christ might speak through any of the disciples and could not be told apart from them. Judas therefore had to betray him, under the influence of Ahriman. Need to speak of the spirit in the right way and approach the Fifth Gospel with reverence.

Lecture 6, Berlin, 21 October 1913
Laying of foundation stone in Dornach and need for Anthroposophy. Human beings progressively less spiritual in different civilizations until wholly related to physical plane at time of Golgotha. Crusaders looked for the Christ on physical plane where he was no longer to be found. Need arose to “prove” the existence of God. Foolishness and inner untruthfulness of intelligent people-Eucken, Harnack, Renan. Until now, the Christ impulse did not depend on our understanding; now understanding must be sought.

Lecture 7, Berlin, 4 November 1913
Two Jesus children. Between his twelfth year and the baptism in the Jordan, Jesus of Nazareth learned that the ancient revelations of Hebrew and pagan religion could no longer reach people and that the Essenes’ search for higher development was exclusive of others and drove Lucifer and Ahriman away. Vision of Buddha. Pain suffered in mind and spirit (unlike Maeterlinck's idea). Need to treat Fifth Gospel revelations with reverence.

Lecture 8, Berlin, 18 November 1913
The macrocosmic Our Father. Jesus of Nazareth talks to his mother about his experiences. Story of Hillel. Inner changes in Jesus and his mother and baptism by John in the Jordan. Temptation as presented in the Fifth Gospel. Consequences of Ahriman's challenge not being fully answered. Christ spirit entering gradually into bodies of Jesus of Nazareth but also able to go apart and to speak through disciples.

Lecture 9, Berlin, 6 January 1914
Three encounters Jesus of Nazareth had on his way to the Jordan. Temptation. Need to ask question—Parsifal and young man of Sais. New Isis Mystery.

Lecture 10, Berlin, 13 January 1914
Hebrews saw Yahweh as Earth god; their religion distinct from astral religions. John's 'offspring of vipers' refers to this. Paul's mission. Higher faculties bound to heredity in the past, now have to be developed individually. Kepler on the Earth as an animal organism and the Earth's soul, and his poetry. We gain living connection with the Christ if we acknowledge that our gifts come from him.

Lecture 11, Berlin, 10 February 1914
Three cosmic events preceding Golgotha, when the Christ spirit united with the soul that would later be the Nathan child—these prevented chaos of the senses, chaos of the seven vital organs and chaos of thinking, feeling and will. Contrast between Pythia/Apollo and sybils. Mystery of Golgotha to prevent chaos in evolution of “I.” Fate of physical body and ether body after death. Earth evolution terminating in heat death. Blood of Christ gave new germinal life that will take us to Jupiter. Body of Christ makes this visible for us after death. Because of the Christ impulse we are able to progress on Earth.

Lecture 12, Cologne, 17 December 1913
Nature of Solomon and Nathan Jesus boys. Consequences of Zarathustra-“I” passing from the one to the other. Jesus of Nazareth experiencing decline of Hebrew religion (Hillel) and pagan religion (macrocosmic Our Father), and exclusive nature of Essene Order, keeping out Ahriman and Lucifer. Talk with his mother and its consequences. Three encounters on his way to the river Jordan.

Lecture 13, Cologne, 18 December 1913
Method of gaining access to Akashic Record: our thinking a thought of the Angels, offering yourself to the Archangels, becoming food for the Archai. Christ spirit entering three bodies of Jesus of Nazareth. How the hierarchies guide evolution. Need to send Sun spirit to counter Lucifer. Christ spirit limited by capacities of the bodies. Temptation leaving residue of Ahriman's challenge. Christ spirit speaking through disciples. Judas influenced by Ahriman to betray the Christ. Golgotha event with darkening of Earth and earthquake. Christ spirit entering Earth’s aura and therefore into human evolution.

Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner (b. Rudolf Joseph Lorenz 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.