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H.P.B.'s THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY

May 11, 2001 10:11 AM
by Blavatsky Archives


Below is what William Emmette Coleman wrote about the THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY:

"The Theosophical Glossary, published in 1892, contains an alphabetical
arrangement of words and terms pertaining to occultism and theosophy, with
explanations and definitions thereof. The whole of this book, except the
garblings, distortions and fabrications of Madame Blavatsky scattered
through it, was copied from other books. The explanations and definitions
of
425 names and terms were copied from Dowson's Hindu Classical Dictionary.
>>From Wilson's Vishnu Purana were taken those of 242 terms; from Eitel's
Handbook of Chinese Buddhism, 179; and from Mackenzie's Masonic Cyclopaedia,
164. A modicum of credit was given to these four books in the preface. But,
inasmuch as, scattered through the Glossary, credit was given at intervals
to these books for a certain few of the passages extracted therefrom, its
readers might easily be misled, by the remark in the preface relative to
these four books, into the belief that said remark was intended to cover
the
various passages in the Glossary where these books are named as the sources
whence they were derived and these alone, - that the passages duly credited
to said books comprised the whole of the matter in the volume taken from
them, instead of being but a small part of the immense collection of matter
transferred en masse to the Glossary. But the four named in the preface
are
not the only books thus utilised. A glossary of Sanskrit and occultic terms
was appended to a work called Five Years of Theosophy, published by Mohini
M. Chatterji in 1885. At least 229 of these terms and their definitions
were
copied in Blavatsky's Glossary, nearly verbatim in every instance; and no
credit whatever was given for this wholesale appropriation of another's
work. I cannot find a single reference to Chatterji's glossary in any part
of the later Glossary. Nearly all of the matter concerning Egyptian
mythology, etc., in the latter, was copied from Bonwick's Egyptian Belief
and Modern Thought. A small part of this was credited, but over 100 passages
from Bonwick were not credited. Nearly every word in relation to Norse and
Teutonic mythology was copied from Wagner's Asgard and the Gods, - a little
being credited, and some 100 passages not. Most of the Thibetan matter was
taken from Schlagintweit's Buddhism in Thibet, - some credited, but nearly
50 passages were not. Much of the material anent Southern Buddhism was
copied from Spence Hardy's Eastern Monachism, - nearly 50 passages being
uncredited. Most of the Babylonian and Chaldean material was extracted from
Smith's Chaldean Account of Genesis, with nearly 50 passages not credited.
The Parsi and Zoroastrian matter was from Darmesteter's translation of the
Zend-Avesta, and West's translation of the Bundahish in the Sacred Books
of
the East, - mostly uncredited. Among other books levied upon in the
compilation of the Glossary, principally with no credit given, are these:
Sayce's Hibbert Lectures Myer's Qabbala, Hartmann's Paracelsus, Crawford's
translation of the Kalevala, King's Gnostics, Faber's Cabiri, Beal's Catena
of Buddhist Scriptures, Rhys Davids's Buddhism, Edkins's Chinese Buddhism,
Maspero's Guide au Musee de Boulaq, Subba Row's Notes on the Bhagavad Gita,
Kenealy's Book of God, Eliphas Levi's Works, and various others."
Quoted from http://blavatskyarchives.com/colemansources1895.htm

See also Henry Olcott's review of the TG at
http://blavatskyarchives.com/olcottglos.htm

Compare the Coleman and Olcott accounts with BdeZ's article: "Who Play
That
Trick on H.P.B.?"

My research indicates that nobody played a trick on HPB.

The solution to the alleged "problem" that BdeZ writes about is found in
Mead's words in his Preface to the TG:

"H.P.B. desired also to express her SPECIAL indebtedness, as far as the
tabulation of facts is concerned, to the 'Sanskrit-Chinese Dictionary' of
Eitel, 'The Hindu Classical Dictionary' of Dowson, 'The Vishnu-Purna' of
Wilson, and the 'Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia' of Kenneth Mackenzie." Caps
added

HPB was also indebted to another 20 or so titles for her "tabulation of
facts."

What is clear to me is that when she decided to do a Glossary she selected
about 25 titles that would provide her with "the tabulation of facts". 
She
then added her own comments, including esoteric explanations, etc. Most
of
these 25 titles she had also used in her previously published writings as
source material.

For more, see my article at: http://www.theosophy.com/theos-talk/tt06773.html

Daniel


Daniel H. Caldwell
info@blavatskyarchives.com
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