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Re: Thesis vs. Hypotheses by K. Paul Johnson

Dec 22, 1996 12:11 PM
by The Blavatsky Study Center on the WWW

Re: Thesis vs. Hypotheses by K. Paul Johnson

K. Paul Johnson writes several paragraphs on the subject of
"Thesis vs. Hypotheses."  His last paragraph reads:

>So Mr. Caldwell's subtitle is in error when it refers to a
>"thesis" about M. and K.H.  That Ranbir Singh and Thakar Singh
>are their primary prototypes are two hypotheses.  The thesis is
>about all HPB's Masters.

The word "thesis" has a  NUMBER of definitions, one of which is:
"hypothesis," i.e. "a proposition to be proved. . . ."  The word can also
have OTHER  meanings, so in another sense one could agree with Johnson's
statement that his book THE MASTERS REVEALED has "one thesis,
32 hypotheses."  Nevertheless, I think my paper is aptly titled:
K. PAUL JOHNSON'S HOUSE OF CARDS?:  A Critical Examination
of Johnson's Thesis on the Theosophical Masters Morya and Koot Hoomi.

My HOUSE OF CARDS critique was purposely limited to Johnson's thesis
(suggestion, hypothesis, or conjecture---call it whatever you want to!!)
concerning the Masters Koot Hoomi and Morya.  One reason I focused
on these two Masters was because they were "the principal Masters
in question. . ." (as Dr. Godwin points out on p. xv of his Foreword to TMR)
". . .with whom HPB claimed to be in contact. . . ."  [Why are these two
Masters on the cover of TMR with Blavatsky and Prince Ragoczy?  Why
does Dr. French on the back cover of TMR specifically mention Morya
and Koot Hoomi? etc.]

Another reason I focused my research and paper on the
Masters Koot Hoomi and Morya was because Johnson
claimed he could "make a persuasive case" for M.'s and K. H.'s
"identities" as the "historical figures" Ranbir Singh and Thakar Singh.
There were also other reasons in deciding to limit my paper primarily
to these two Masters.  Jerry HE has mentioned one of these other reasons
in his recent discussions with Johnson.

I believe I have shown in my paper that Johnson's "persuasive" case
is nothing but a "house of cards", i.e. "a structure. . .that is insubstantial,
shaky" and has, in light of my critique, finally collapsed.

Speaking of words and their meanings, Johnson has his own "definitions"
of such terms as  "Master", "Adept" and "Mahatma".   John Algeo,
Jerry Hejka-Ekins, Richard Smolley and others have commented
about the confusion Johnson's  "redefinitions" have caused.  If one looks
at the 32 individuals listed in the TMR Table of Contents as "Adepts"
and "Mahatmas", how many of these people were really H.P.B.'s
adepts, Masters or Mahatmas?  For example, could James Peebles,
Charles Sotheran,  or Mikhail Katkov have been any  of HPB's "Adepts"
or "Masters"?

Maybe Jerry HE will REPOST some of his previous Theos-l/Theos-Roots
discussions that he has had with Johnson on Johnson's redefining of the
terms Master, Adept and Mahatma.

As one reads Johnson's various writings on the Masters KH and M
(as well as on  the other Theosophical Masters), one needs to keep
constantly in
mind the following observation by Dr. John Algeo:

"The rhetoric of . . . [Johnson's] presentation disguises the weakness of
the evidence, perhaps even from Johnson himself."  (The
American Theosophist, Late Spring/Early Summer 1995, p. 12.)

In my research on Johnson's books, I have found Algeo's observation to be
correct time and time again.

Daniel Caldwell

>Date: Sat, 21 Dec 96 10:44:42 EST
>From: "K. Paul Johnson" <>
>Subject: Thesis vs. Hypotheses
>Message-ID: <>
>There seems to be some confusion about the difference between
>the overall thesis of a book and the specific hypotheses it
>offers.  Since the topic has found its way onto this list, I'll
>answer here, with apologies to those who would rather not see
>such discussion.
>Paraphrasing what I wrote in response to John Algeo's review of
>The Masters Revealed in Theosophical History, the thesis of a
>book is its general argument that is sustained throughout.
>The thesis of TMR was that Theosophy was genuinely derived from HPB's
>encounters with adepts in many spiritual traditions, but her depiction
>of them was fictionalized in order to conceal their identities.  The book
>names 32 individual acquaintances of HPB (or likely
>acquaintances) who are hypothesized to match either
>general comments she made about her Masters (e.g., Oriental
>Rosicrucians, Brotherhood of Luxor) or specific statements
>about particular Masters.  One thesis, 32 hypotheses.  Dr. Algeo
>identified the book's thesis as that "Johnson has succeeded in
>identifying HPB's Masters [by which he means the characters in Theosophical
>literature named as such] with historical persons."  In fact,
>the thesis, if stated in parallel language, would be "Johnson
>has succeeded in establishing that the Masters as presented by
>HPB are neither totally fictional, as non-Theosophical writers
>have always assumed, or totally factual, as Theosophical writers
>have always assumed, but a very complicated mixture of fact and
>Although my hypotheses about particular cases have been attacked
>and defended, as in the cases of M. and K.H. in my exchange
>with Mr. Caldwell, my thesis has not really been the focus of
>discussion thus far.  It is far more secure than any of the individual
>hypotheses.  Indeed, it would be surprising if any future
>scholarly work on the subject failed to accept it.  The
>position that HPB never lied about the Masters is absolutely
>untenable, as is the position that she never told the truth
>about them.  Yet those two positions have dominated the entire
>literature about her until my books came along.  What is
>interesting now is not whether my thesis is well established--
>it is-- but what particular mixture of fact and fiction
>will be discovered as other researchers probe deeper into these
>mysteries.  All I claim is to have made a significant beginning
>in that direction.
>So Mr. Caldwell's subtitle is in error when it refers to a
>"thesis" about M. and K.H.  That Ranbir Singh and Thakar Singh
>are their primary prototypes are two hypotheses.  The thesis is
>about all HPB's Masters.

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