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Re: theos-talk Re: Justice to Judge in 2011

Apr 05, 2011 12:24 PM
by Govert Schuller

Dear Joaquim, 

Thank you for linking to Pelletier's response to the reviewers of his book The Judge Case. 

I re-read Brett Forray's review in Theosophical History XI/2. Though I have not read The Judge Case it looks to me that Forray's review is even-handed, informative and critical of Pelletier in a very reasonable way. His main contention is that Pelletier's book "is solely intended to exonerate Mr. Judge's role in this drama" and that it "makes no attempt to impartially portray the many-sided views of this period." Unfortunately Pelletier's response misses many of the points Forray makes. If possible Forray's review should be made available for those interested to see for themselves. 

Important to the "Justice to Judge" campaign is Forray's call to have someone send over to Madras or Mumbai to inspect the crucial Judge to Khandalava letter of September 1884. 

Your list with on-line items is interesting, but misses a good article giving a neutral synopsis of the controversy. So far the most helpful historical rendering of the case comes from the historian Arthur Nethercot in his The Last Four Lives of Annie Besant, chapter 2 "The Judging of Judge." Neither camp will be happy with his presentation, but it seems the best so far. 

Especially one observation by Nethercot, tucked away in a footnote, is I think pertinent to evaluating both Pelletier's book and Carlos Aveline's "Call to Action" and that is his statement that the books The Theosophical Movement 1875-1925 and its revision (or update) "appear to be non-partisan in viewpoint, but are actually strongly biased towards Judge and the Theosophical groups which followed him in splitting from the main T.S." (p. 26) According to Forray, Pelletier relied particularly on the narrative provided by these books from the ULT, and--apparently so acknowledged in Pelletier's introduction--a synopsis of the period provided by a ULT member gave Pelletier "the model for his own outline of The Judge Case." The importance is that Aveline's, in principle commendable "Call to Action" is premised on the idea that "In fact, the 19th century process of unfair persecution against Judge within the Adyar Theosophical Society is very well documented in various books" (refering to the two ULT books and The Judge Case), giving the false impression as if these were objective, independent, non-related studies, while in reality the two ULT books are basically similar and Pelletier's book is apparently modeled after the first two.  

Again, given the above and my observations in me previous e-mail, I think that the "Justice for Judge" initiative at the Edmonton Theosophical Society, commendable as it is, should be seriously revised to reflect a more neutral stand if it wants to bear fruit, not only as far as the truth is concerned, but also to foster cooperation. 



  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: jdmsoares 
  Sent: Saturday, April 02, 2011 8:05 PM
  Subject: theos-talk Re: Justice to Judge in 2011


  Dear Govert, Erika, Konstantin, Sufilight, friends,

  Thanks Govert.

  You are right, the Judge Case it's very important, and you give
  pertinent suggestions.

  Also I must draw attention to you all for a fact.

  Katinka Hesselink came to some conclusions about the Judge Case in her
  review of the important book written by Pelletier.

  I think we should carefully read the "Addressing the Critics of The
  Judge Case

  " by Ernest Pelletier, published in FOHAT, Vol.X, nº1, 2006, pp.
  10-14 and 23.

  This article it is online at
  <> .

  I think the reply by Pelletier is quite enlightening as to the value of
  some conclusions made by Katinka.

  Regarding to hypothetical concerns about the true motives behind those
  who have request the re-open of Judge Case, I think its enough to remind
  the motto of the theosophical movement:

  "There is no religion higher than truth".

  We think the theosophical movement can't be based on falsehoods.

  To those who are interested in know more facts about the "Justice to
  Judge", I leave here a list of texts published on our website:

  "Justice to Judge in 2011" - A Student of Theosophy , at
  <> ;

  "The Truth About William Judge" - Carlos Cardoso Aveline, at
  <> ;

  "Should One Defend William Judge?" - A Student of Theosophy, at
  <> ;

  "From Mexico To India, on W. Judge" - José Ramón Sordo, at
  <> ;

  "An Open Letter to India" - Will Windham, at
  <> ;

  "From Germany To India, on Justice" - Sieglinde Plocki, at
  <> ;

  "Corresponding With India On Ethics" - Carlos Cardoso Aveline,

  "FOHAT And An Appeal for Justice" - A Canadian Theosophist, at
  <> ;

  "Call To Reopen Judge Case" - Leslie Price, at
  <> .

  Best regards, Joaquim

  --- In, "Govert Schuller" <schuller@...>
  > Dear all,
  > Leslie Price should be commended for laying out the issue in a clear
  and even-handed manner in his article "Call to Reopen Judge Case".
  > What caught my eye is the following, imo, very important paragraph:
  > "However, I would not want to single out Adyar in this situation. It
  is but one of a number of relevant Theosophical archives. In the
  pro-Judge TS Pasadena may be found letters of Olcott and Besant to
  Judge, the diaries of Judge, and the letters of the Mahatmas to Judge
  which featured in the Case. Someone might suggest the TS Pasadena was
  suppressing evidence of Judge's guilt."
  > Probably most Theosophists either don't know about the Judge Case or
  are indifferent about it, or leave it alone because it is so complex,
  but for some it's a very important issue. Personnally I'm interested,
  but not to the extent to purchase the $95 book The Judge Case - A
  Conspiracy Which Ruined the Theosophical Cause by Pelletier and go
  through its 984 pages. Katinka Hesselink did and came to the following
  conclusions in her review of the book:
  > "Was W.Q. Judge conspired against? Did Annie Besant become magnetized
  to trust in Brahmin-hinduism too much? Did Olcott lose touch with the
  Mahatmas? I don't know. Unfortunately The Judge Case ignores much of the
  material that has been gathered in the magazine Theosophical History
  over the years, making it necessary for the present reviewer to look
  them up personally. The letter by Blavatsky, the article by Spierenburg
  and the testimony of Wachtmeister taken together pull the rug under most
  of Pelletier's thesis and minor points. I have only gone into the main
  issues here. The result of the Judge case was in all events the split up
  of the Theosophical Society and with that starting point, the movement
  shattered ultimately into far more fragments. Whatever his mistakes, the
  literature Judge produced stands as a monument to his theosophical
  insight even now. As this case is still a dividing point between the
  various theosophical groups, it is unfortunate that a more impartial
  hearing wasn't produced. Still, TJC pulls together pieces of evidence
  and details from Judge's life that have been hard to find otherwise. The
  serious student of theosophical history can't do without this book."
  > Given all of the above and Price's observation that both Ernest
  Pelletier, who compiled The Judge Case, and Carlos Aveline, who wrote
  the open letter "A Call to Action" to Adyar, could be considered
  "hostile" critics of Adyar, I think the move towards resolution and
  reconciliation of and around the Judge Case might be helped by the
  following actions:
  > 1) A new, truly neutral letter with the request to open any and all
  relevant archives should be composed. Mr. Aveline's letter already takes
  the position that Judge was innocent and Besant guilty and basically
  demands Adyar to admit that.
  > 2) The letter should be addressed to all the relevant archives and
  > 3) The "Justice for Judge" initiative at the Edmonton Theosophical
  Society could be structured as a committee with representatives of the
  different organizations, preferrably scholars, and chaired by a neutral
  scholar like James Santucci, the editor of Theosophical History, in
  which findings and documents could be published.
  > Don't know if this helps, but it makes sense to me.
  > Govert Schuller
  > cc: carlosaveline@...
  > ----- Original Message -----
  > From: jdmsoares
  > To:
  > Sent: Friday, April 01, 2011 9:17 AM
  > Subject: theos-talk Re: Justice to Judge in 2011
  > Dear Erica, MKR, friends,
  > Thanks Erica. You are right.
  > For those who haven't read yet I will take the liberty to share here
  > an important text by Leslie Price, entitled "Call to Reopen Judge
  > Case".
  > Best regards,
  > Joaquim
  > 0000000000000000000000000
  > Call To Reopen Judge Case
  > Notes by the Way
  > Leslie Price
  > 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 Reproduced from
  > bulletin,Volume 2, No 4; April 2006, pp. 91-92. Mr.Leslie Price is a
  > well-known British historianof the Theosophical Movement. In the
  > 1980s, hefounded the magazine "Theosophical History".
  > 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
  > Let's summarise, and then comment on a recent Theosophical
  > A Brazilian Theosophist has called on the Adyar-based Theosophical
  > Society to reopen the case of one of its founders, later its
  > leader, William Quan Judge (1851-1896). In 1894, Judge was accused
  > misusing the name of and handwriting of the Mahatmas, the advanced
  > believed to have inspired the formation of the Society. This led to
  > schism among Theosophists which persists to this day. The United
  > of Theosophists, the T.S. Pasadena, and the independent Edmonton
  > Theosophical Society (Alberta, Canada) are among groups supporting
  > Judge.
  > In a letter published in the Edmonton journal Fohat (Spring 2006)
  > Cardoso Aveline suggests that "independent students could write
  > annual, open letters to the Adyar Theosophical Society asking it to
  > re-examine its 'process' moved against William Q. Judge in 1894-5
  > suggesting that its leaders should either show proofs of his guilt
  > declare him innocent of any charges whatsoever." This letter also
  > appears on the Edmonton web site
  > <> In June 2004 the
  > Edmonton Society published a 1000 page book "The Judge Case: a
  > conspiracy which ruined the Theosophical Cause" by Ernest Pelletier
  > which printed much relevant documentation. However in an Addendum to
  > "Supplement" to this book, Pelletier charged that the Adyar
  > Society was withholding relevant documentation, in order to preserve
  > impression that Judge was guilty.In his letter, Aveline draws
  > to the 1885 case of H.P.Blavatsky who was also accused as a fraud -
  > this case by the SPR. In April 1986, however, the SPR (which has no
  > collective views) published in its Journal a paper by a senior
  > Dr Vernon Harrison, which was highly critical of the previous
  > An SPR press release made Dr Harrison's new investigation widely
  > 0000000 Now, does the Blavatsky /SPR case offer lessons for the
  > Case? I believe it does. The SPR had been asked to make available
  > surviving documentation about the Blavatsky investigation by Walter
  > Carrithers ( pseudonym Adlai Waterman ) and it did so about 1960.
  > Carrithers could be regarded as a hostile critic, in much the same
  > as Aveline or Pelletier could be regarded as hostile, but the
  > was made available anyway, and it circulated in photocopied or
  > form among theosophical historians, before bearing fruit. (It
  > incidentally, that Blavatsky had produced bell phenomena in the
  > of members of the investigating committee, but this had been deleted
  > proof stage of a report. The written decision to delete had
  > 91 Later the SPR, after putting Dr Harrison's paper through its
  > review procedure, published it and publicised it. Not all members of
  > SPR agreed with Dr Harrison, just as not all agreed with the
  > Blavatsky report. But the sting of the mutual antipathy which had
  > sometimes characterised SPR/TS relations since 1885 was drawn. Does
  > TS Adyar have any documents which would assist the defenders, or for
  > that matter, the critics, of Judge? In the same issue of Fohat,
  > Pelletier points to at least one relevant letter (Judge to
  > Sept. 17 1884) of which he has a photocopy, but which he suspects
  > have been tampered with in the original. And he has been told by
  > people of other relevant material at Adyar. Any new material could
  > published in a suitable place, like the quarterly journal
  > "Theosophical History." In due course, "The Theosophist"
  > (Adyar's main journal) could carry one of more articles by senior
  > Theosophists of various views and organisations, drawing lessons
  > the case, in the light of what we now know. This might go some way
  > healing the wounds of the schism. However, I would not want to
  > out Adyar in this situation. It is but one of a number of relevant
  > Theosophical archives. In the pro-Judge TS Pasadena may be found
  > of Olcott and Besant to Judge, the diaries of Judge, and the letters
  > the Mahatmas to Judge which featured in the Case. Someone might
  > the TS Pasadena was suppressing evidence of Judge's guilt. In fact
  > archives, by preserving documentation, are performing a vital
  > It would be useful now to move beyond charges and for all parties to
  > work together to get all relevant documentation into the scholarly
  > domain. Beyond this Case, Judge was not only a profound Theosophical
  > thinker, whose writings merit study, but also a witness to a variety
  > HPB phenomena - and a severe critic of the American psychic scene of
  > time. LESLIE PRICE
  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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