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The Use and Value of THE THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY

May 12, 2001 01:52 PM
by Eldon B Tucker


Daniel:

Perhaps, if there's much demand for the Glossary in the
future, it might be useful to typographically distinguish
between quoted and error-prone materials from other
books that Blavatsky drew upon and her own comments. It
would also be fair to the reader to have an introduction
that warned of the source of much of the material in
the book. The book also might say "Compiled By" rather
than imply that Blavatsky wrote all of it.

I'm not sure of the value, though, of continuing with
glossary entries that can be clearly shown to be in
error, simply because Blavatsky may have been the
compiler.

From what I'm hearing of the Glossary, I don't think
that Blavatsky produced it while functioning in the
same higher part of herself that she was in while she
put into words the Stanzas of Dzyan or The Voice of
the Silence.

If I had put my full faith in the book, learned it
by heart, and stuck to its definitions regardless of
their apparent errors at times, I'd feel betrayed to
find out that Blavatsky did not write much of it.
I would want to discredit anything that would require
me to take a major reevaluation in my thinking.

Not having invested much time in the Glossary, preferring
other theosophical books, I don't have a vested
interest in the source and history of the book. My only
concern would be to warn new students to read the book
with an extra bit of caution and skepticism.

I'd consider Blavatsky as a representative of the Masters.
She might speak on their behalf at times. Doing so, her
words bear careful consideration. Given the source of the
definitions in the Glossary, and given the questionable
accuracy of the definitions, it appears that the Glossary
was not, for the most part, her words, and can only be
confusing to the student.

The best theosophical glossary, as I see it, is the
Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary. It might run one or
two thousand pages. Although it has never been published,
it can be read online at:

http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/etgloss/etg-hp.htm

(I'm giving the URL in case some reading my note haven't
heard of it yet.) If it ever gets published, it would go
on my list of recommended books to read.

-- Eldon

At 12:49 PM 5/12/01 -0700, you wrote:

Eldon, you wrote:

> From what I've heard of THE THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY, the situation
>is different. We don't have a book that has inaccuracies that
>can be corrected with proper scholarship. Rather, we have a
>book that was not written by Blavatsky, consisting mostly of
>inaccurate definitions from many other books of her time, that
>is presented, unfortunately, as what she had said.

After studying the original records, my take on the
THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY is that the work was compiled by
HPB from more than 25 other titles to which she added
her own comments. Therefore I don't think it would be proper
to "phase" the book out, whatever that might involve.

My own findings are to be found at:
http://www.theosophy.com/theos-talk/tt06773.html


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