Re: The Theosophical Movement: Suggested Reading
Aug 05, 2007 02:13 PM
by Anton Rozman
F. Pierce Spinks' book "Theosophists: Reunite!" is now online. Please
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "danielhcaldwell"
> Learning more about the modern Theosophical Movement
> My first introduction to the history of the
> Theosophical Society was through the book titled:
> (1)"A Short History of the Theosophical Society"
> by Josephine Ransom.
> I first read this book in 1970 when
> I was in college. I remember staying up all night to the
> wee hours of the morning reading and going thru this book.
> The book contains alot of valuable information which
> Mrs. Ransom compiled from diverse sources.
> But as I subsequently discovered the book is
> written from a distinct "Adyar" point of view.
> Nothing is necessarily wrong with that perspective
> but one should be aware that there are OTHER
> "points of view".
> In subsequent years I found out that I needed
> to gain a knowledge of these different views and
> So I give BELOW a list of some of the other books that supplement
> complement Mrs. Ransom's book:
> (2) H. P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement
> by Charles J. Ryan
> This book gives what I will call the "Point Loma"
> perspective of modern Theosophical History.
> (3) The Dawn of the New Cycle: Point Loma
> Theosophists and American Culture by W. Michael
> (4) The Theosophical Movement 1875-1950.
> by the Editors of "Theosophy" magazine.
> This volume presents the "United Lodge of
> Theosophists" point of view concerning modern
> Theosophical history.
> Titles (1) (2) and (4) can be viewed as "partisan"
> histories written by writers from "competing" brands of
> modern Theosophy. Having said that I want to add that
> all three titles contain a wealth of good material.
> (5) The next title I want to mention is titled:
> Ancient Wisdom Revived: A History of the Theosophical Movement
> by Bruce F. Campbell
> This book cn be ordered from Amazon at: http://tinyurl.com/39xjn2
> This is probably the "best" fairly brief history of the Theosophical
> It is certainly a good OVERVIEW in some 250 pages of all the various
> Theosophical groups and societies including overviews of Madame
> Blavatsky's life and the early history of the Theosophical Society
> during the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s.
> In ANCIENT WISDOM REVIVED, Bruce Campbell also gives some helpful
> summaries of the teachings of Theosophy as found in HPB's ISIS
> UNVEILED, THE SECRET DOCTRINE and THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE.
> You might describe it as a "nonpartisan," "neutral," "scholarly"
> and "objective" study and overview of all the different parts and
> groups of the modern Theosophical Movment. But the book does have
> a "skeptical" tone to it in dealing with many of the claims of the
> modern Theosophical Movement.
> But there are some "defects" in the Campbell book. Dr. Gregory
> Tillett wrote a review years ago listing some of these
> historical "imperfections" and mistakes.
> (6) A brief and more accurate OVERVIEW of the Theosophical Movement
> has been written by Dr. James Santucci, the editor of THEOSOPHICAL
> Dr. Santucci's overview can be found in a volume titled ODD GODS:
> New Religions & the Cult Controversy edited by James R. Lewis.
> In this volume Dr. Santucci's 20 page article titled "Theosophy and
> the Theosophical Societies" covers pages 270-289.
> (7)Another title:
> Theosophists Reunite! An Eloquent Plea For A Reunited Society
> by F. Pierce Spinks
> To order from Amazon.com, click on:
> This book was originally published in 1958.
> This book is a goldmine of info on the various Theosophical
> Societies and groups, some of the controversies of the Theosophical
> Movement such as the Judge Case, the Leadbeater Case, etc.
> Mr.Spinks provides a great deal of material that is not easily
> obtainable elsewhere. He reviews the basic teachings of Theosophy,
> and also deals with the controversies about different and competing
> Theosophical teachings as well as some of the competing claims. One
> chapter is even entitled: Who is Infallible?
> You may not agree with all of Mr. Spinks' observations and
> conclusions but there is so much food for thought in this volume.
> (8) And last but not least:
> Theosophy: A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom (first published 1930)
> by Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn.
> Dr. Kuhn analyses the teachings of Theosophy as found in the
> of Madame Blavatsky and the letters of the Masters. Excellent
> material is found in this volume on the history of the various
> Theosophical groups. This Kuhn volumes supplements and complements
> what is given in the other titles listed above.
> Readers especially new students and newcomers to Theosophy who are
> interested in gaining a more "balanced" overview and "impartial"
> perspective on the history of the modern Theosophical Movement would
> do well to read and study these titles.
> Members/students of various Theosophical groups might find it highly
> profitable to read and study these books....
> It is quite helpful and indeed a learning experience to COMPARE AND
> CONTRAST the views and statements made by these various authors.
> See also other relevant titles at:
> "Books on the History of the Theosophical Movement"
> Blavatsky Study Center
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