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Mr. Tim Maroney's Remarks on Daniel Caldwell's "K. PAUL JOHNSON'S HOUSE OF CARDS?"

Dec 14, 1996 09:36 PM
by Blavatsky Foundation

Mr. Tim Maroney's Remarks on Daniel Caldwell's "K. PAUL JOHNSON'S HOUSE OF

Mr. Maroney writes on Theos-Roots:

>I have attempted to read the article a few times now, without success.
>The writer constantly makes snide personal imprecations against Johnson
>in lieu of argument, and as one would expect from the title, he really
>does not care if the reader sees that this is mostly intended as a
>personal attack. While more restrained than some Theosophical polemics
>(e.g., Kingsland's "Was She a Charlatan?") the article does not seem to
>have much idea what tone is necessary for scholarly discussion and
>objective weighing of evidence. This rabidity makes the article virtually
>impenetrable for anyone whose concern is to discover the truth of the
>issues rather than to choose sides in a personal war. Were it boiled down
>to some one-fourth the size, so as to focus on its actual issues and
>express them concisely, then it might turn out to have something valuable
>to say; but after reading a couple of thousand words which said nothing
>more than "the Maharajah probably would not be riding a horse by himself,
>and Johnson is a jerk for not mentioning this", I had little interest in
>probing further.

Daniel Caldwell replies:

Mr. Maroney is entitled to his opinion of my HOUSE OF CARDS.
But I find it interesting to compare his estimation of my paper with
letters I have received in the last 2 or 3 weeks from (for example) 8 or
9 individuals who all have PhDs.  Most of these individuals are not in
any way proponents of  Theosophy and yet they have complimented me
for writing my paper.  One said that he was impressed with my
"analysis" of Johnson's thesis.  Another PhD said he read the entire
paper with great interest.  Etc. Etc.  On Dec. 4, one professor e-mailed
me the following:

"Your House of Cards sticks right to the point and does not indulge in any
sidebar personal asides. For that reason, it is valuable and insightful."

Apparently, some scholars do not agree with Mr. Maroney's assessment
of my paper.

I am somewhat surprised that Mr. Maroney says he could not read
the entire HOUSE OF CARDS.  The paper is only 41 pages long!!

Even some reviewers have written that Johnson's three books
were not that easy to read.  Johnson sometimes goes into what may seem
like needless side issues or spends pages on details not really that
relevant to
his main themes.   Some people may find such things distracting, boring, etc.
I don't and I believe such criticisms are really of minor importance since
they relate
to matters of "form" and not of substance.

No doubt, my paper could  have been improved and the arguments might
have been more concisely stated.  Criticize the "outer form" of my paper all
you want.
Nevertheless, I believe that I deal with a number of CRUCIAL issues of
and provide ample evidence as well as detailed reasoning for rejecting many of
Johnson's statements. I think I have partially succeeded in what I set out
to do
from the number of positive responses I have already received.   But each
reader of my paper will have to make up his or her mind on all of this.

1/3 to 1/2 of my  paper is detailed quotations from primary sources (, e.g.,
Colonel Olcott's first hand accounts of meeting the Masters Morya and
Koot Hoomi) and certain secondary sources.   I would have thought that Mr.
would have found this quoted  material somewhat understandable, relevant
and interesting.

*Unfortunately, Mr. Maroney does NOT deal with any of my substantive
He is apparently not interested in addressing directly
the criticisms and issues I have raised.   But if he changes
his mind and  wants to write something on THE ISSUES covered in my paper, I
will be more than happy to post his comments on the World Wide Web with

Yes, I have been plain spoken in my criticisms of Johnson's thesis and
research BUT
I have also tried to show the reader my reasoning, etc.  for making such frank
assessments of Johnson's research.

I am glad that Mr. Maroney mentions William Kingsland's WAS SHE [BLAVATSKY] A
CHARLATAN?  This 60 page analysis of the Hodgson Report points out many of the
inconsistencies and misstatements, etc in Richard Hodgson's attack on Madame
Blavatsky.   Maroney characterizes Kingsland's analysis as "Theosophical
polemics" but he fails to mention any of the excellent points Kingsland
makes about
Hodgson's Report.  Anyone who is interested in reading Kingsland's analysis can
e-mail me for more details on how to obtain his paper.

In summary, I did not write my analysis of Johnson's thesis on the Masters M
and KH
for the casual reader. I did not write my paper just for Phds either.  I
wrote the
paper for thoughtful people who found Johnson's thesis possibly  interesting
even thought provoking  but who would also like MORE facts and input before
accepting his
conjectures for historical reality.

I wonder what Mr. Maroney thinks of Dr. John Algeo's THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY

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