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Re: re:theosophy historical & doctrinal

Sep 02, 1995 03:00 AM
by Eldon B. Tucker

>Ann: "This is also true of Yogananda's book. There was editing done on it
>by the Self-Realization Fellowship, after he died, to make it fit their
>ideas. Old originals of Biography of a Yoga are highly prized."
>That BURNS MY BUTT and is very, very disturbing to me. What gives people the
>right to edit without documentation? This strikes me as one of the most
>arrogant things one can do, because they place themselves HIGHER than the
>teacher or author, and presume to "correct" their work.
>I wish we could leave published works alone, let them stand the test of time
>on their own. HPB is holding up admirably. If people have a burning need to
>tinker with words, let them write their own books and see how well THOSE hold
>up a century or two later!

I'd generally agree, but would suggest that there is room for some judicious
editing. Like in Boris de Zirkoff's edition of "The Secret Doctrine," he
corrected quotes to the orginal references, and corrected and added proper
accents to Sanskrit terms. Additionally, the revision of the typography of
a book, like setting off quotes so that they are more distinguishable from
the words of the author, is proper, I'd say. I'd finally go one additional
step, and if there were two or three completely out-of-date words, replace
them with their current counterparts. (Like replacing "milliard" in "Esoteric
Buddhism" with "billion".) This last step is debatable, and some would put
the correction in square brackets. Which approach is correct?

There are two goals that the book seeks to achived. Foremost is an accurate
transmission of the author's ideas, of the author's intended communication.
Secondary, but not without merit, we have the goal of a "smooth communication,"
the goal of making this as easy a communication as possible, using the tools
at hand like the typographical layout of the book. This secondary issue will
become of increasing importance in our computer era, where we're but a few
years short of the time when there will be a popular acceptance of electronic

-- Eldon

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