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Theosophy Versus Neo-Theosophy

Feb 21, 2009 09:19 AM
by danielhcaldwell

James A. Santucci, professor of religious studies at California State 
University (Fullerton) and editor of Theosophical History, has 
written the following:

". . . Annie Besant, the President of the [Adyar Theosophical] 
Society from 1907 to her death in 1933, and Charles Webster 
Leadbeater, arguably the most influential theosophical writer from 
the early years of the 20th century to his death in 1934, . . . were 
largely responsible for the introduction of new teachings that were 
often in total opposition to the Theosophy of [Madame H.P.] Blavatsky 
and her Masters. These teachings were  designated by their opponents 
as Neo-Theosophy . . . or less often Pseudo-Theosophy. The 
differences between Theosophy and Neo-Theosophy are too numerous to 
mention in the context of this paper. . . . An extensive overview [of 
the differences] is given in . . . Theosophy or Neo-Theosophy by 
Margaret Thomas. . . . "  Quoted from "The Aquarian 

Jerry Hejka-Ekins, a long-time student of Madame Blavatsky's 
teachings, has also commented:

"The earliest use of the term 'neo-theosophy' was used by F.T. Brooks 
around 1912 in a book called Neo Theosophy Exposed. . . . Around 
1924, Margaret Thomas published a book called Theosophy Versus Neo-
Theosophy: Part one compares Blavatsky's teachings to those of Besant 
and Leadbeater's by juxtaposing quotes from each party on various 
subjects, so that the thoughtful reader could easily discern the 
differences and contradictions. Part two published documents 
concerning the Leadbeater scandal, and part three publishes documents 
concerning the Judge case. . . . " Quoted 
from "Discussions on the Theosophical Philosophy" 

In his book Theosophy:  A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom (published 
1930), Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn wrote in greater detail: 

"Certain schools of his critics assert flatly that he [C. W. 
Leadbeater] has only succeeded in vitiating her [H.P. Blavatsky's] 
original presentation [of Theosophy]. . . . . . . [Starting in the 
March 15, 1928 issue] The Canadian Theosophist, a magazine 
published . . . at Toronto, published a series of articles [excerpted 
from Margaret Thomas' Theosophy or NeoTheosophy?] in which parallel 
passages from the writings of Madame Blavatsky and the Mahatma 
Letters on one side, and from the books of Mrs. Besant, Mr. 
Leadbeater, Mr. C. Jinarajadasa, on the other, give specific evidence 
bearing on the claims of perversion of the original theories by those 
whom they call Neo-Theosophists. The articles indicate wide 
deviations, in some cases complete reversal, made by the later 
interpreters [Besant, Leadbeater, Jinarajadasa] from the fundamental 
statements of the Russian Messenger [Blavatsky] and her Overlords 
[the Mahatmas]." 

"The differences concern such matters as the personality of God, the 
historicity of Jesus, his identity as an individual or a principle, 
the desirability of churches, priestcraft and religious ceremonial, 
the genuineness of an apostolic succession, and a vicarious 
atonement, the authority of Sacraments, the nature and nomenclature 
of the seven planes of man's constitution, the planetary chains, the 
monad, the course of evolution, and many other important phases of 
Theosophic doctrine. This exhaustive research has made it apparent 
that the later exponents have allowed themselves to depart in many 
important points from the teachings of H.P.B." (pp. 330-331) 

See Margaret Thomas' work online at:

Blavatsky Study Center / Blavatsky Archives

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