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Theosophy in title?

Oct 13, 1995 00:55 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

About my new book idea--

The feedback I've gotten from potential contributors leads to
several conclusions:

1. Books by single authors are more marketable than collections
of works by multiple authors.
2. From experience, it can be concluded that editing other
people's work can be extremely problematic.
3. It would be better to be somewhat more focused than what I
had proposed.

Based on this, and an offer of assistance received, I've
dropped the idea of a collective work and am concentrating on
what could be done to relate the Cayce material to the
theosophical tradition. Note the small t; I want to compare
and contrast Cayce's teachings on a range of subjects, not just
to those of HPB but rather to their antecedents in esotericism
generally. (As well as examine parapsychological similarities
and differences from previous cases including HPB, and
examine historical connections between Cayce and Theosophy.)

This raises the question of an appropriate title. Here are
some possibilities:
Edgar Cayce and the Ancient Wisdom
The Theosophy of Edgar Cayce
Edgar Cayce and the Esoteric Tradition
Edgar Cayce, Christian Theosopher

So I'd like to hereby solicit comments on the use of
"Theosophy" in a title, and what Theosophist readers would
expect if I were to use it. Antoine Faivre, the world's
leading historian/theorist on the subject, defines theosophy as:
"a gnosis that has a bearing not only on the salvific relations
the individual maintains with the divine world, but also on the
nature of God Himself, or of divine persons, and on the natural
universe, the hidden structures that constitute it in its
actual state, its relationship to mankind, and its final ends.
It is in this general sense that we speak of theosophy
traditionally. Theosophy, in the sense we are using it,
confers on esotericism this cosmic, or rather cosmosophic
dimension, thereby introducing the idea of an intentionality in
the world, that keeps esotericism from succumbing to
solipsism. Theosophy opens esotericism to the entire universe
and by the same token renders possible a philosophy of nature."
pp. 23-24, Access to Western Esotericism

By Faivre's definition, I'd be entirely within my rights to
call Cayce a theosopher (if not Theosophist, which is
misleading) and to call his system theosophical. But if use of
such a term in the title would make Theosophists reject the
book out of hand, as an effort to "pretend" that a
"pseudo-Theosophist" was a real one, then to hell with it, I'd
prefer to avoid the hot potato.

Comments, suggestions?

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