African Athena: New Agendas is the title of a forthcoming book this December from Oxford University Press. It contains a number of articles by various authors, most dealing with the impact of Martin Bernal’s 1987 Black Athena. Chapter 18, “Lay in Egypt’s lap each borrowed crown’: Gerald Massey and Late-Victorian Afrocentrism,” by Brian H. Murray contains the following mention of Blavatsky:
Perhaps the most influential esoteric of the day, and another Egyptophile, was Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the founder the Theosophical Society and self-proclaimed mouthpiece of the Egyptian Goddess Isis. Blavatsky cited Massey twenty-four times in her esoteric epic the Secret Doctrine and wrote an appreciate letter to him in November 1887, claiming to have ‘read and re-read’ his lectures. Massey would have certainly been familiar with Massey’s work, which like his own, portrayed Christianity as a literalized pseudo-history based on earlier Gnostic philosophy. Though Massey contributed some review articles to the Theosophical magazine Lucifer, he wrote a series of letters to the same publication in 1888 criticizing an article by Blavatsky on the ‘Esoteric Character of the Gospels’. By the 1880s Blavatsky had moved from an Egyptocentric model of religion and was increasingly promoting Tibetan and Sanskrit texts as the purest form of divine wisdom.
Brian H. Murray is completing his doctoral dissertation at King’s College, London, but he will not have much credibility if he continues to promulgate fictions such as Blavatsky was a “self-proclaimed mouthpiece of the Egyptian Goddess Isis.”
And that “By the 1880s Blavatsky had moved from an Egyptocentric model of religion and was increasingly promoting Tibetan and Sanskrit texts as the purest form of divine wisdom,” when, in her first book, Isis Unveiled (which was the publisher’s title), from 1877, in the last chapter of volume 1, headed “India: the Cradle of the Race,” she writes: “we affirm that, if Egypt furnished Greece with her civilization, and the latter bequeathed hers to Rome, Egypt herself had, in those unknown ages when Menes reigned, received her laws, her social institutions, her arts and her sciences, from pre-Vedic India; and that therefore, it is in that old initiatrix of the priests—adepts of all the other countries—we must seek for the key to the great mysteries of humanity.”
And yet Blavatsky is the one ridiculed for shoddy methodology!