[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Under Cover Editting

Jan 05, 2007 06:15 AM
by cardosoaveline


How much of "silent editing", or unacknowledged changes,  does 
Daniel Caldwell do in his presentation of theosophical texts? How 
far are his editions actually reliable or accurate? 

It is worthwhile to take a look at the volume V of the FOHAT 
magazine. In the  Summer 2001 edition, pp. 40-41, we see an article 
by Ernest Pelletier on Daniel Cadlwell's book "The Esoteric World of 
Madame Blavatsky" (Quest Books). 

Pelletier considers Caldwell's presentation of theosophical 
texts "impractical to quote from". 

After mentioning outwardly positive aspects of the book,  Pelletier 

"However, there are negative aspects to this book that need mention. 
There has been much silent editing done which renders the contents 
of this book impractical to quote from. While eliminating 
certain `irrelevant' portions of the text may not necessarily affect 
context, it is important to know (and from what I understand, it is 
also a legal requirement  at least in Canada   to indicate)  where 
changes have been made to the original text. Silent editing sets a 
precedent which eventually will erode the authenticity of the whole 
theosophical literature. Knowing this,  one wonders why this 
respected historian who has promoted and defended HPB would be 
compelled to compromise the integrity and accuracy of historical 
theosophical records." 

"Impractical to quote from", these texts,  as edited by Daniel 
Caldwell,  "compromise the accuracy and integrity of historical 
records". A most serious warning to students, coming from an 
insightful theosophist and author.   

In fact,  there is a  rather generalized perception among long-
standing Blavatsky students t hat one should not rely on Daniel 
Cadlwell's  editions (in the internet or in paper) of theosophical 
texts.   This is certainly not a problem that Ernest Pelletier alone 
sees, or that only the Edmonton Theosophical Society perceives. 

In this,  Caldwell seems to be very much in line with the Adyar TS 
tradition of promoting  "silent editing"  in theosophical texts  
or, in Alice Cleathers' words, "tampering with" them.    

I myself have quite a few cases related to the Adyar Theosophical 
Society. The famous example of the Annie Besant's third volume 
for "The Secret Doctrine"   already abandoned by Adyar  is just 
the tip of  a big  submerged iceberg in  the editorial world of 

How can  would-be scholars do such a thing? 

There is no doubt that  "silent editing" is miles apart from being 
any  "scholarly" acceptable procedure. 

As Pelletier says,  at least in Canada it is even unlawful. 

Regards,     Carlos Cardoso Aveline


[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application