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Re: Theos-World Cooper, Blavatsky, et al

Jul 05, 2006 05:59 PM
by Cass Silva

I totally agree with you Gregory.  Whatever HPB wrote should be transcribed verbatim, to do otherwise suggests that the editor has a more profound understanding of the teachings, which is clearly a nonsense.

Cass wrote:                                  I have not had the time to respond to various postings seeking my response,
 asking me questions, or accusing me of various university work
 tends to take priority.
 1. The Cranston "biography" - I haven't re-read it for a long time, but will
 happily do so when I have time, and offer comments. My recollection is that one
 of my major criticisms was its "sanitised" approach, simply leaving out matters
 which did not support the author's view.
 2. John Cooper and the "dubious" letters - John's view (and mine) is that no
 scholarly editor can simply omit material on the grounds that some people
 question its veracity. Obviously, if there is evidence (that is, not simply
 opinion) that a document is not genuine, this should be noted and discussed.
 One early chapter of John's thesis considers some of the controversial letters
 in this way. Again, I have not reread his thesis for a long time and would have
 to go back to it to comment further. However, the fact that a document comes
 from a dubious source or does not conform to some expectation cannot be grounds
 in any scholarly work for omitting it. I am not, as I have written previously,
 any sort of authority on Blavatsky, so I do not comment on any particular
 letters. But, if someone claims a letter is a "forgery" or has been tampered
 with, the proper (scholarly) response is to produce the evidence - not to
 attack the editor. To say that "Letter X comes source Y which was written by
 person Z therefore it cannot be genuine" is simply irrational nonsense. Z may
 be a crook and a liar - who just happens to have a genuine letter (in the same
 way that B may be a living saint who has fallen for a fraud). I go back to an
 area I am familiar with - given that Leadbeater was a saint and could not lie
 and therefore must have been born in 1847, should I have omitted all reference
 to the 1854 birth certificate from my biography on the grounds that it cannot
 be genuine? Or since all the claims of sexual abuse must have been "lies"
 should I have left them out? Historians do not have the luxury of sectarian
 writers (like Cranston) who can adjust the data to fit the predetermined
 3. Am I a "real historian"? I don't think any answer I can give would be worth
 much. I rely on the judgments of unquestionably "real historians" who have
 examined my work.
 Dr Gregory Tillett

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