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The Campbell Theosophical Research Library

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Tel: (02) 9264 7056 Fax: (02) 9264 5857
e-mail: tshq@austheos.org.au

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The Campbell Library Newsletter

March 1999                                                                            Issue No 1


The Campbell Theosophical Research Library (The Campbell Library) plans to produce an occasional newsletter providing information about its books, journals, other research material and its activities. Research students, whether members or non-members of The Theosophical Society, are most welcome to use the Library which is available by appointment but is not a lending library.

A comprehensive range

The Campbell Library is a specialist research and reference facility and carries a comprehensive range of material on theosophy, the theosophical movement and its history, and on subjects related to theosophical thought.

It has holdings dating from before the early days of the founding of The Theosophical Society, and from many countries. For example, it has journals from Australia, America, Canada, India, England, Ireland, New Zealand, the Philippines, etc. For the Australian Section of The Theosophical Society, the Library has publications from 1892 to the present.

Authors

A diverse range of authors is represented, many with prolific output. For example, Annie Besant was a very significant personality in The Theosophical Society and in various social and political organisations. The Campbell Library has a wide range of publications covering her work, including books, journal articles and leaflets, on topics as varied as theosophy, India, social issues, religions, mysticism and psychology. There are also useful biographies available providing more information about this extraordinary woman.

A student recently researching the work of Annie Besant was pleased to find that the Library has rare copies of The National Reformer, the radical free-thought journal, edited jointly by Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant. The volumes available range from 1876 to 1884.

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BOOK REVIEW

THE THEOSOPHICAL ENLIGHTENMENT, Joscelyn Godwin. State University of New York Press, 1994. pb, 448 pages. This book is available in The Campbell Library and the following are extract from a review by John Cooper, published in Theosophy in Australia, September 1996:

Dr Joscelyn Godwin is a Professor at Colgate University, New York. He has distinguished himself as the author of a series of volumes on the history of the occult, particularly in its relationship to music.

The Theosophical Enlightenment is one of the most important books ever written on the history of the occult. The author with a charming yet erudite style tells us all we need to know about the English occult world from the time of the French Revolution to the early part of this century.

In this volume students of the writings of Madame Blavatsky will find the essence of the teachings of many of the sages about whom she wrote. In addition these occultists are linked to the social and political background of their time and the reader will also be able to trace their links to one another.

The Theosophical Enlightenment is in three parts. The first deals with a revisionist approach to myth which developed into a universal view of history. The personages in this section include Richard Payne Knight, Sir William Jones, Henry O'Brien, Thomas Inman and Godfrey Higgens whose Anacalypsis was seen by one contemporary reviewer as a precursor to Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled. In this chapter Professor Godwin does the reader a service in summarising the 1,500 pages of the Anacalypsis.

The second part deals with the occult sciences in England up to 1850 and covers such diverse characters as Emmanuel Swedenborg, Francis Barrett (author of The Magus), the novelist Bulwer-Lytton, and Frederick Hockley.

The third portion views the rise of Spiritualism and deals in some detail with the mysterious Emma Hardinge Britten who was associated with the founding of The Theosophical Society. It also outlines the origins of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Christian disciples of Jacob Boehme, The Rosicrucians such as P.B. Randolph and Hargrave Jennings. Godwin also investigates the mysterious Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor.

Dr Godwin sees Madame Balvatsky as a product of the sceptical enlightenment of the 19th century who brought together in The Theosophical Society the two threads of western and oriental occultism. He devotes well over 50 pages to the early Theosophical Society and brings forth a number of little-known details.

The research in this volume is encyclopaedic and fascinating. I recommend The Theosophical Enlightenment as essential reading for those students interested in the history of esoteric ideas and in particular for students of Madame Blavatsky.

THEOSOPHICAL RESEARCH PROJECT

As part of its aim to encourage quality research into aspects of the theosophical movement and its philosophy, The Campbell Library is sponsoring a research project which may include research of relevant literature and/or a report of practical research. Participants are asked to select topics form the following areas:
- any aspects of the three objects of The Theosophical Society
- any aspect of theosophy
- Australasian theosophical history.

It is anticipated that one or more entries of an acceptable standard could be published and distributed as appropriate. Members of The Theosophical Society and non-members are invited to participate. For further information please contact Naomi Blumensaadt, The Campbell Library.

The Campbell Library is a part of The Theosophical Society in Australia, whose objects are:

  1. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour;
  2. To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science;
  3. To investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in the human being.

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