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The Campbell Library Newsletter

The Campbell Theosophical Research Library
(The Theosophical Society in Australia)

Theosophy . The Theosophical Movement . Theosophical History

Number 9 — November 2003


Good news for students of theosophy

easy access to theosophical books and periodicals online

Two very useful tools for accessing a wide range of theosophical material are provided by The Campbell Theosophical Research Library.

1. Links to Theosophical Books Online is an exciting new service developed by the Library. It provides a collection of direct links to a large number of theosophical books and some other material now available on the Internet.

A broad and eclectic definition of ‘theosophical’ has been used. As well as obvious theosophical material, also included are a number of classics of interest to students of theosophy such as the Bhagavad Gita, Viveka Chudamani, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, etc.

‘Books’ is also broadly defined. It includes some classical material which may have appeared in booklet, pamphlet or article form, e.g. Colonel H. S. Olcott’s Inaugural Address delivered at the founding of The Theosophical Society in 1875, and The Secret Doctrine and its Study by Robert Bowen. There are also collections of articles such as those on the Blavatsky Net site, but it does not include the large number of individual articles now available on the net. Additions are planned and the Library will be pleased to receive any suggestion from users.

2. The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals, which is on the internet, contains about 119,000 entries in over 100 theosophical and related periodicals and is updated in March, June, September and November each year. Users can browse through any part of the Index examining details relating to titles and authors in particular issues of a periodical. Also, by using a unique ‘Search and List’ facility which can be downloaded, particular information may be located in seconds - e.g. a list of articles by a particular author, or with a particular word or phrase in the title. The web page gives instructions on how to do this. Please note: ‘Search and List’ should be updated each time the Union Index itself is updated in order to include the latest additions.

Access these facilities through the web page of The Campbell Theosophical Research Library:
www.austheos.org.au/campbell.htm

Browsing the Bookshelvess

The Campbell Library has a good collection of books gathered under a liberal interpretation of ‘theosophy’, and many on the theosophical movement and its history. Here are some samples. The following are not reviews — details have been taken from the relevant books:

 

Wading Into The Ocean: A Companion to The Ocean of Theosophy, by Ann Forsyth Danno, Point Loma Publications, 1st edition, 2002, 202 pages

This companion volume to William Q. Judge’s Ocean of Theosophy offers a compendium of supporting quotations that his introductory text did not include. It provides a complete overview of Judge’s original work - from karma to after death, cycles and psychic phenomena, the seven principles, and a concise glossary of Sanskrit terms. It is useful both for classes and for individual study.

Ann Forsyth Danno unexpectedly died before her book was published and it was prepared for the press by Nancy and David Reigle.

W. Q. Judge’s The Ocean of Theosophy was first published in America in 1893 and has been useful as an introduction to theosophy.

Reincarnation: A Bibliography, by Joel Bjorling, Garland Publishing, Inc. N.Y., 1st edition, 1996, 184 pages

In describing the scope of his bibliography Bjorling writes:

“The references are a comprehensive listing of literature on reincarnation, including its related topic, karma.

Chapters include reincarnation in Eastern religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism), in comparative religions and philosophy, in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, cases of reincarnation, past-life therapy, astrology and reincarnation, popular works, reincarnation in literature, and reference works.

Each chapter begins with a general descriptive essay which gives a basic overview of the respective topics. Many of the references may be classified under different topics; for example, a work under Buddhism may also be included under comparative religions, or a case study of reincarnation could also be classified as a popular work. The bibliography consists of English-language resources”.

Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect, by Ian Stevenson, MD., Praeger Publishers, US, 1st edition, 2002, 203 pages

Stevenson is a specialist in psychiatry and a world-renowned scientific investigator of reported paranormal events. He has collected over 2,600 reported cases of past-life memories of children of which 65 detailed reports have been published. The children have been found in Buddhist and Hindu countries of South Asia, among the Shiite peoples of Lebanon and Turkey, the tribes of West Africa, and the American northwest.

Stevenson writes in his preface: “This book introduces and condenses a much longer one entitled Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects. That work is a medical monograph with extensive documentation, references, numerous tables, and many footnotes. This book has none of these. I have written it to satisfy the needs of readers who wish to understand the essential content of the larger work without troubling themselves over details. Let it be read as a series of abstracts .... A reader can only fairly judge the kinds of cases these books describe by close attention to the many details; and I do not believe anyone should express an opinion about my conclusions without having met this condition”.

The Gnostics and Their Remains, Ancient and Medieval, by C. W King, Wizards Bookshelf, 1982, Secret Doctrine Reference Series. Reprint of 2nd enlarged edition, 1897, 472 pages

“When this work first appeared”, writes King, “it became at once an object of unmerited abuse and equally unmerited praise”. H. P. Blavatsky was obviously aware of its merits when she used it as a source in some sections of volumes 1 and 2 of her great work, The Secret Doctrine, The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy, published in 1888.

The contents of King’s book are divided into five parts and the headings give an idea of the contents:

  1. Gnosticism and its Sources;
  2. The Worship of Mithras and Serapis;
  3. Abraxas, Abraxaster and Abraxoid Gems;
  4. The Figured Monuments of Gnosticism;
  5. Templars, Rosicrucians, Freemasons

The work is illustrated with woodcuts and plates, some of the latter including drawings by King himself.

Included also is a useful ‘Bibliographical Appendix‘, produced by Joseph Jacob.

Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing, Stephan A. Hoeller, Quest Books, TPH Wheaton, 1st edition 2002, 256 pages

From Hoeller’s Preface: “This book is a concise and sympathetic presentation of the teachings and spiritual ambience of the Gnostic tradition. .... The title describes it as containing insights into a tradition. This is intended not as a mere figure of speech, for Gnosticism is truly a tradition and not a mere collection of ideas, myths and symbols that may be interpreted according to any whim or opinion. What we have here is a full-blown tradition with its definite worldview, its scriptures, its mystery rites, its priesthoods, and its spiritual lineage. If Gnosticism were purely a form of spontaneously motivated spirituality, unmediated by tradition, there would be no need for a books such as this....

The book is not primarily a work of academic scholarship .... it aspires to serve as an introduction to the subject”.

There is also a range of illustrations and designs.

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Periodical Pleasures

The Campbell Library’s comprehensive range of periodicals includes theosophical and related titles from various countries. There are too many to list here - following are some details of just two of them. Both are included in the Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals online.

The Path: Edited by William Q. Judge and first published in 1886, this was “A magazine devoted to the Brotherhood of Humanity, Theosophy in America, and the study of occult science, philosophy and Aryan literature”. In the 10 years before his death in 1896 Judge produced 10 volumes, writing many of the articles himself under a number of pseudonyms. During this period The Path became the backbone of theosophical publicity in the USA. It included miscellaneous items, book reviews and articles on topics such as Sufism, theosophical symbolism, the soul, karma, evolution, proofs of reincarnation, occultism.

After Judge’s death, the magazine continued to be published but its name was changed to Theosophy with F. T. Hargrove as editor.

The Eclectic Theosophist: Published by Point Loma Publications, the first issue in 1971 was a 4-page newsletter. It evolved into a more substantial publication with the final and special issue of winter 1995, vol 23, no. 5 consisting of 44 pages.

The first edition said: “ ... we lend the pages of this Newsletter, and through them we invite friends and fellow-Theosophists to say their say, speaking fearlessly, honestly, kindly, constructively”.

The final edition included a selection of articles published over the years, which gave an overview of its intent in maintaining the ‘middle way’ view of theosophical philosophy. In this issue there are articles by H. P. Blavatsky, W. Emmett Small, A. Trevor Barker, G. de Purucker, Boris de Zirkoff, Joy Mills, John Coats, John Algeo, Vicente Hao Chin Jr, and others.

The Campbell Theosophical Research Library
4th floor 484 Kent Street Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
Telephone: 61 2 9264 7056   Fax: 61 2 9264 5857
campbell@austheos.org.au   www.austheos.org.au/campbell.htm

The Campbell Library is a part of The Theosophical Society in Australia, a non-sectarian organisation that stands for freedom of search and belief.

The Library is a specialist research and reference facility focussed on theosophy, the theosophical movement and its history. It has a comprehensive range of books, periodicals and other material covering these areas. It also has material that, while not directly related to the theosophical movement, gives a wider historical and cultural context for authors and their works. Anyone interested in its collection is welcome to use the Library which is available most weekdays by appointment. Please note that although material may not be borrowed a photocopying service is available.

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