I am interested in sharing ways of moving hpb's works (ideas and perspectives) from the periphery of current scholarship In various fields of knowledge) to a more central space. In most area's of knowledge her theosophy is simply ignored (sciences, etc). In some fields (ie religious studies) she is a topic of research but her ideas are not seen as valuable perspectives in themselves.

I am of the opinion that we should counter these exclusionary practices. How though do we do it?

David Reigle and David Pratt, (the 2 best writers on current theosophy in my opinion) have shown two ways to go about this. Part of the problem is that society has advanced from the 19th century, while hpb is trapped there in a way. Are her ideas relevant, how do we update them, are they even updatable? Is the processes involved different in different fields, i.e. philosophy vs biology.

How do we undo the marginalisation of theosophical thought in mainstream debates? Or, is it possible that there is no way to do this, in which case do we as 'believers' simply live in our own world, one which is irrelevant to society at large? And if this is the case, why are we content with this compromise?

Rgds, Dewald

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It has always seemed to me that HPB is trapped in the Victorian era. That would have to be overcome.

One main problem is that Theosophists have little respect for science. Many actually believe Sheldrake's criticisms e.g. With that mind-set it is impossible to get anywhere. The Mind-Body problem is in active research by many scientists so they are on top of some of the issues between Science and consciousness (ORCH OR theory is a good try by Penrose et al). I haven't seen anything from HPB that would help the QM approach, or other approaches, to the problem. I expect scientists in this century will solve the remaining issues there. After that, they might look at mysticism/esotericism again (Some scientists did this during the development of QM ~late 1920's and 1930's).

Basically it is a 2-way street. Theosophists have to change and Science has to change. Until both respect each other there is little hope. I think it is easier for Theosophists to change first.

just my .02 cents on the subject.


As an example of what i had in mind.

I am not sure if anyone has seen the following journal article in Pomegranate vol. 15, 2013. "The transvaluation of soul and spirit: platonism and paulism in h.p. blavatsky's isis unveiled". I'd be willing to email a copy if anyone were interested in reading it. It is very critical of hpb's scholarship concerning her use of the terms soul and spirit. Hpb is essentially an amateur dilettante at best, and ignorant and dishonest at worst.

I'd be interested in sharing ideas on how one might respond to an article around this. What are the repercussions for theosophy of an article like this if the scholarship is sound? How would one assess scholarship like this? and so on, i think the challenges raised by an article like this are real if one wants to take hpb theosophy seriously.


Hi -

Someone like Dr. Santucci, or other academic, could respond successfully. See Theosophical History, a peer reviewed journal: http://www.theohistory.org

Perhaps the Pomegranate article is correct. I don't know.

note: Theosophy has been around for almost 1800 years. It will exist easily, and still does, without HPB.

The TS should respond. However, they have a confused focus right now. See Adyar News:

Adyar (TS) News

Just curious, since so much of socially shareable understanding (at least through a medium like language, especially via publication, even e-publication) depends on description of views and the meaning of terms - what are the offered descriptions of the terms "soul" and "spirit" in the Pomegranate article? How are they being critically assessed and "valuated" in contrast to the way HPB assessed, "valuated" and described those words through her own usage?

IOW,  I think a general assumption that we all commonly understand and agree upon what those two words mean and can therefore intelligibly share and develop exchanges dependent upon them in communicable ways, is wrapped in potential and relativistic ignorance unless we press a bit on this point. We need to clarify those meanings and how we use them with whoever is participating in that particular discussion with us at any given time.


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