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Jun 10, 2006 08:57 AM
by carlosaveline

Dear Friends, 
How much of ?silent editing?,  unacknowledged changes,  does Daniel Caldwell do in his presentation of theosophical texts? How far are his editions actually reliable or accurate? 
 I have just bought and received, in paper,  the volume V of the FOHAT magazine (2001).   
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). 
After mentioning several superficially positive aspects of the book,  Pelletier admits: 
?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 Neotheosophy.   
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. 
Best regards,     Carlos Cardoso Aveline

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