Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine Commentaries Reviewed

Aries, the Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism published by Brill in the Netherlands, has a review of Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine Commentaries from Gary W. Trompf in its recently released Volume 11, Number 2, 2011. Trompf, Honorary Professor in the History of Ideas in the Department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney, presented a groundbreaking paper at last year’s Legacies of Theosophy Conference at the University of Sydney on the subject of macrohistory, so whatever he has to say about the cosmogonies in The Secret Doctrine will be of interest. The review (3 pages) is too long to print in full here, but concludes by saying:

Michael Gomes, who has already published an abridgement of both Isis Unveiled (in 1997) and The Secret Doctrine (in 2009), is well known as historian and bibliographer of the Theosophical Movement, and he has done a painstaking and reliable job with this new production. It is a work beautifully presented, supplemented by a listing of those attending the meetings, an index almost amounting to a glossary. The Introduction is somewhat thin (and does not touch on the sensitive context I have just detailed) with the footnotes throughout kept to a minimum; but the service is done and we now have at our disposal for further research previously inaccessible materials of great value concerning Blavatsky and influential figures in the Theosophical Society surrounding her. With this work before us, various enigmas referred to at the beginning of our review can now be better addressed and hopefully resolved.

The journal can be ordered here.

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