[These notes correspond to the respective superior numbers
in the text of “The Esoteric Character of the Gospels.”]
1 This refers to H. P. B.’s Editorial in Lucifer, Vol. I, October, 1887, pp. 83-89, which is published in its chronological sequence in the present series of volumes.
2 This refers to G. Higgins’ Anacalypsis, I, 568, where he quotes the Rev. Robert Taylor (1784-1844). The full title of Taylor’s work is: Syntagma of the evidences of the Christian religion: Being a vindication of the Manifesto of the Christian evidence society, against the assaults of the Christian instruction society, through their deputy, J. P. S., commonly reported to be Dr. John Pye Smith . . . . London: Printed for the author, 1828. Reprinted by W. Dugdale [no date]. It is a small book of some 128 pages. The entire passage, as quoted by Higgins, is:
“The complimentary epithet CHRÊST (from which by what is called the Ioticism, or change of the long E into I, a term of respect grew into one of worship), signified nothing more than a good man. Clemens Alexandrinus, in the second century, found a serious argument on this paronomasia, that (Lib. III, Cap. Xvii, p. 53, et circa—Psal. 55, D) all who believed in Chrêst (i.e., in a good man) both are, and are called, Chrêstians, that is, good men.” (Stromata, Lib. II.)
The word “Christian” occurs three times in the New Testament, namely, in Acts, xi, 26; xxvi, 28; and 1Peter, iv, 16. Its spelling differs,
however, in the three most ancient MSS. known, as appears in the following table:
3 In John Kaye’s The First Apology of Justin Martyr (Edinburgh: John Grant, 1912), the translation of this passage runs thus: “. . . . and as far as our name, which is tantamount to a crime against a Christian, if we are tried upon that article, we must certainly be acquitted as very good men.”
Godfrey Higgins, in his Anacalypsis, I, 569, writes in connection with this:
“On this passage Thirlby has the following note: allusio est ad vulgatam eo tempore consuetudinem, quâ Christus ignorata nominis ratione nominabitur Chrestus (Sylburgius). Here is another decisive proof that in the time of Justin the Christians were commonly called Chrêstians. In the next page Justin calls the Christians , and he adds, —‘To hate what is good, chreston, is not just.’ On this Thirlby in a note says legendum haud immerito conjectavit Sylburgius, ex mente scilicet seu potius voce adversariorum (Grabe). And certain it is, that Sylburgius conjectured very truly. For it cannot be doubted that the of Justin is a corruption, and a very absurd corruption. If he have been corrupted in one place he may in others.”
4 Three installments of this Essay on “The Esoteric Character of the Gospels” were published in Lucifer, and the Series remained unfinished.
However, the subject of the esoteric meaning of the Gospel story, the occult significance of its symbolism, and the historicity of Jesus, have been discussed by H. P. B. in several other important essays, articles and footnotes appended to contributions from other writers. Special mention should be made of her lengthy controversy with the Abbé Roca published in the pages of Le Lotus (Vol. II, December, 1887; Vol. III, April and June, 1888); her powerful article on “The Origin of the Gospels and the Bishop of Bombay,” which appeared in The Theosophist (Vol. . IV, October, 1882, pp. 6-9); her article entitled “A Word with the Theosophists” (ibid., Vol. IV, March, 1883, pp. 143-45), her valuable editorial notes to an article on “The Crucifixion of Man,” published in Lucifer (Vol. II, May, 1888,
pp. 243-50), embodying an analysis of the “Cry on the Cross”; her many passages on similar subjects throughout the volumes of The Secret Doctrine and Isis Unveiled; and the several Sections devoted almost exclusively to these themes in the volume entitled “The Secret Doctrine, Vol. III,” which was published in 1897.
5 This has reference to Gerald Massey’s very able letter (Lucifer, Vol. I, No. 2, October, 1887, pp. 135-138) in which he answers an objection from Dr. G. Wyld who is surprised to hear anyone say that the teachings ascribed to Jesus are contradictory. Mr. Massey points out a large number of direct and implied contradictions in the text of the accepted Gospels, such as John, x, 30 and John, xiv, 28 (also Matt., xxiv, 36), John, v, 22, 30 and John, viii, 15, as well as John, xii, 47; John, viii, 14, 18 and John, v, 31; John, v, 33 and John, xv, 27; Matt., v, 16 and Matt., vi, 1; Matt., v, 39, as well as Matt., xxvi, 52, contradicted by Luke, xxii, 36 and Matt., x, 34; Luke, xii, 4 and John, vii, 1.
Mr. Massey expresses his readiness “to meet any competent and well-informed defender of the faith upon the platform or in the press.” He says: “I should prefer it to be a bishop, who is also an Egyptologist. But beggars are not allowed to be choosers. I am prepared at any time to demonstrate the entirely mythical and mystical origin of the Christ, and the non-spiritual, non-historical beginnings of the vast complex called Christianity.”
To this are appended two separate Editorial Notes, presumably by H. P. B. The first states:
“Any ‘Bishop Egyptologist,’ or even Assyriologist, of whom we have heard there are not a few in England, is cordially invited to defend his position in the pages of Lucifer. The ‘Son of the Morning’ is the Light-Bearer, and welcomes light from every quarter of the globe.”
The second Note states:
“As Lucifer cannot concur in the exclusively exoteric view, taken by Mr. Massey, of this allegorical, though none the less philosophical, scripture, the next number will contain an article dealing with the esoteric meaning of the New Testament.”
6 This Kabalistic MS. may be found in the Adyar Archives. It is apparently a continuation, namely Part III, of the work known as The Key to the Hebrew-Egyptian Mystery in the Source of Measures, by J. Ralston Skinner, which was originally published at Cincinnati in 1875. In this MSS., after the heading: “Section I—Introduction—Giving a Key of formation of an ancient language,” the opening sentence runs as follows:
“After the accumulation of much material for the purpose, part of which composed the system of measures set forth in Parts I and II of this work, as to which this is Part III, the writer is quite certain that there was an ancient language which modernly and up to this time appears to have been lost . . .”
H. P. B., has quoted from this MSS. in The Secret Doctrine (Vol. I, pp. 308-09) and elsewhere, with considerable approbation.
Towards the end of the MSS. the author has written:
“I end this closing section of my work on Monday the 18th day of February 1884, in the retiring of the flood of waters of the Ohio at 12 M.
“I, Ralston Skinner, Jany. 10, 1887, shall send this original MSS. to Madame Blavatsky Ostend.”
As would appear from Dr. Jirah Dewey Buck’s little book entitled Modern World Movements (Indo-American Book Co., Chicago, 1913), pp. 39-41, Dr. Buck sent this MSS. to H. P. B. and she wrote him saying that there were Seven Keys to the Kabala, of which Skinner had discovered “two and a half.”
The MSS. is bound in heavy cloth, with tooled leather spine bearing no title or name of author. On the front cover, in gold letters, stands the name of H. P. Blavatsky, and beneath it the capital letters P. S., whose meaning is uncertain. Inside, on the fly-leaf, H. P. B., has written her name: “H. P. Blavatsky, Ostende, 1887,” and on the same page is a rubber stamp: “H. P. B. 17 Lansdowne Rd., London W.”
The inside of the book consists of 358 pages, about 5¾ X 9½, written on one side only on faint ruled paper, about ten words to a line and some 23 or 24 lines to a page, but with numerous interspersions of number arrangements and number diagrams.
There still remain in the book more than a dozen slips of paper, some of them torn scraps with H. P. B.’s handwriting on them, to mark certain pages. She has also written on some of the blank pages opposite the text, and occasionally has even corrected the text or inserted words, phrases or sentences between the lines.
The book is in two Sections, the first one of 53 pages being an Introduction. The Second Section is made up of 18 smaller sections, starting with the number values of various Hebrew letters and relating them to the lunar year, man, Jehovah, etc., etc. Some of the headings are: “How the woman was taken out of the man”; “The covenant of Jehovah”; “The Parker ratio and the British inch”; “The Garden of Eden”; “The Flood”; “The Measures of the Great Pyramid,” etc.
Apart from a few brief passages used by H. P. B. in her writings, the text of this MSS. has never yet been published.
Dr. Buck, in the work mentioned above, also speaks of a long letter of forty pages which H. P. B. wrote to Skinner in reply to his many questions concerning the Kabala and occult mathematics. It is not known what became of that letter, though it may still exist among the papers of Skinner if such have been preserved. He was connected with the McMillan Masonic Lodge, No. 141, in the U.S.A.
7 Instead of doing so, H. P. B. apparently incorporated what she intended to say in the text to The Secret Doctrine, where this subject is treated at length, in Vol. I, pp. 313 et seq.
8 This quotation is from the English translation by Mary Lockwood of François Lenormant’s original French work entitled: Les origines de l’histoire d’après la Bible et les traditions des peuples orientaux. 2 vols. Paris, 1880-84, 8vo.
9 This and other Lectures of Gerald Massey are bound together in a volume available at the British Museum (Press Mark 4018.i.12, 1-9). The words within square brackets, and the italicizing of various portions of the present quotation, are H. P. B.’s own.
Massey’s lectures were all printed privately, and most of them bear the imprint: Villa Bordighiera, New Southgate, London, N.; they are very difficult to get in their original editions, as separate pamphlets. Vide Bio-Bibliogr., Index, s.v. MASSEY, for a comprehensive account of his life, and a list of his works and lectures.
10 The Clementine or Pseudo-Clementine literature is a name generally given to certain writings which at one time or another have been attributed to Pope Clement I (88-97 A.D.), known also as Clemens Romanus, and who is supposed to have been the first of the Apostolic Fathers. He was regarded as a disciple of St. Peter. This authorship is very much in question.
Chief among these writings are: 1. The so-called Second Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. 2. Two Epistles on Virginity. 3. The Homilies and Recognitions, with which may be classed the Epistle of Clement to James. 4. The Apostolic Constitutions. 5. Five Epistles forming part of the forged Decretals.
The Clementine literature throws light upon a very obscure phase of Christian development, that of Judeo-Christianity. Especial prominence was given to the Homilies and Recognitions by the Tübingen School which considered them of primary importance for the history of the first stage of Christianity. The Greek original of these two Scriptures has been lost, but can be placed by conjecture somewhere about the beginning of the 3rd century. We have only a Latin translation by Rufinus of Aquileia (b. ca. 345 A.D.—d. 410 A.D.) a rather unreliable character as far as scholarship is concerned. These works are generally admitted to have emanated from the Ebionitic party of the early Church, once the purest form of primitive Christianity. They are most likely based on older Petrine writings, such as the Preaching of Peter () and the Travels of Peter (). The judaistic and ebionitic character of the lost originals can be inferred from the existing 3rd and 4th century orthodox versions.
The Homilies purport to contain letters from Peter and Clement to James of Jerusalem and some twenty sermons preached by Peter while Clement was travelling with him. The Recognitions use similar
material in another setting. They contain discussions between Peter and Simon the Magician—who may have been St. Paul himself—regarding the identity of the true Mosaic and Christian religions. They show a very decided animus against Paul who is denounced as an impostor.
11 This Lecture of Gerald Massey is also contained in the bound volume of Lectures mentioned in Note 9 supra.
12 Verses 900-902 of Aeschylus’ Choëphoroe (), or “The Libation-Bearers”:
“What then becomes henceforth of Loxia’s oracles, declared at Pytho, and of our covenant pledged on oath? Count all men thy enemies rather than the gods.”
13 Verses 1217-1219 of Euripides’ Ion ():
“Straight from the fears with all the company
Ran forth Apollo’s prince, and laid his charge
Before the sacred bench of Pytho thus:”
(The Ion of Euripides, with a transl. into English verse and an introd. and notes, by A. W. Varrell. Cambridge: University Press, 1890.)
14 This reference might be a typographical mistake. There are a number of passages in Herodotus’ History where this word occurs, one of them being in VII, 17, where we find in the sense of “that which must befall or happen”; ", the feminine participle of , “to declare, to deliver an oracle, to give an oracular response,” is found in VII, 111; the masculine form of this would be . It is not very clear what particular passage was meant by H. P. B.
15 The actual wording in Sophocles’ Philoctêtês (), 437, is:
. . . . . . . .
and the English translation of the passage (by F. Storr, Loeb Classical Library) is:
“Dead like the rest, for this in sooth is true:
War never slays an evil man by choice,
But still the good.”
16 Harold North Fowler (Loeb Class. Lib.) translates thus the passage where these words occur:
“You flatter me in thinking that I can discern his motives so accurately.”
17 These two passages are taken from Gerald Massey’s essay entitled “The Name and Nature of the Christ” published in the Agnostic Annual of 1888, an issue which has become very scarce, and can be consulted only in the Central Library of Manchester, England. The passages are both from page 11.
18 Verse 1320 of Euripides’ Ion contains an exclamation of the Pythoness:
usually translated as:
“Pause, O my son! From yon prophetic stool. . . . . . . . . . .”
19 This reference is most likely a misprint. It is impossible to say what work of Aeschylus is meant here. According to L. Dindorf’s Lexicon, there is only one instance in Aeschylus where the word is used, namely in Persae, line 228 (224 in Dindorf), where the meaning of “ prosperous “ is attached to it.
20 The original Greek text of verses 5 and 6 (or 10 acc. to another numeration) in Part IV of Pindar’s Ode to Pythia runs thus:
usually translated to the effect that the priestess of Zeus, “in the presence of Apollo, declared that Battos, the coloniser of fruitful Lybia. . . . . .”
21 The passage in the Iliad, XXIII, 186 is:
. . . . . , . .
. . . . . and with oil anointed she him, rose-sweet, ambrosial. . . . .
The words referred to in the Odyssey, IV, 252, are:
. . . . . ,
. . . . . anointed him with oil
The same idea is to be found in Odyssey, IV, 49, where the word-form occurs.
22 From G. Massey’s “The Name and Nature of the Christ,” in the Agnostic Annual of 1888, p. 11.
23 For some reason or other, possibly due to dogmatic interpretation of earlier texts, the distinction pointed out by H. P. B., is partially lost in current editions. By consulting Migne, Patrol. Curs. Compl., Series Graeca, Vol. VIII, 1891, where both Greek and Latin texts appear in parallel columns, and the English translation in The Ante-Nicean Fathers (New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1913), we find the following:
“Jam qui in Christum [ in Greek text] crediderunt, chresti [ in Greek text], id est, probi, et sunt, et dicuntur: sicut ii, qui sunt revera regales, regi curae sunt.”
“Now those who have believed in Christ both are and are called Chrestoi (good), as those who are cared for by the true king are kingly”
24 The passages of the Talmud to which allusion is made are to be found in the treatises known as Sotah (chap. ix, 47a) and Sanhedrin (chap. xi, 107b). The complete existing evidence on this controversial subject has been fully discussed by G. R. S. Mead in his valuable work, Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.? (London and Benares: Theos. Publ. Society, 1903).
Éliphas Lévi, writing in La Science des Esprits (ed., of 1909, Paris, Félix Alcan, p. 37), speaks of a book which he calls the Disputation of Rabbi Jechiel. This is the Disputacio R. Jechielis cum quodam Nicolao, which is the second volume of a work by Johann Christoph Wagenseil (1633-1708) entitled: Tela ignea Satanae (Altdorfi Noricorum, 1681. 4to.). It is a very rare work which can be consulted in the British Museum. The same work contains also the Hebrew text of the Sepher Toldoth Jeshu (see Bibliogr. of Oriental Works, for further data).
Jehiel Ben Joseph of Paris, tosafist and controversialist, was born at Meaux towards the end of the twelfth century. His French name was Sir Vives. In rabbinical literature he is variously designated as Jehiel of Paris, Jehiel the Holy, Jehiel the Pious, and Jehiel the Elder. He was one of the most distinguished disciples of Judah Sir Leon, whom he succeeded in 1224 as head of the Talmudistic School of Paris. This School was attended under him by upward of 300 disciples, among whom were well-known rabbis of the thirteenth century. Jehiel was held in great esteem even by non-Jews, and was favorably received at court. He was forced into many controversies with Christians, the main disputation having been the one he had to sustain, together with several other rabbis, on June 25-27, 1240, in the presence of Saint Louis and the court, against the Jewish apostate Nicholas Donin. The latter denounced the Talmud as containing blasphemies against Christianity. In spite of Jehiel’s great courage and dignity, this disputation resulted in the condemnation of the Talmud, after which the state of the Jews in France grew worse, and Jehiel was forced to leave with his son for Palestine, where he died in 1286. He was the author of several tosafot on various Talmudistic treatises. The passage from Arnobius Adversus Gentes, I, 43, runs as follows (See The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VI, p. 425):
“My opponent will perhaps meet me with many other slanderous and childish charges which are commonly urged. Jesus was a Magian [magus]; He affected all these things by secret arts. From the shrines of the Egyptians He stole the names of angels of might, and the religious system of a remote country. . . .”
25 Speaking of the celebrated acrostic embodying the pronouncement of the Erythraean Sibyl, Godfrey Higgins writes as follows (Anacalypsis, I, 568):
“. . . It will not be denied that this is among the very earliest of the records of Jesus Christ, whether it be a forgery or not, and it is very important, as it proves to every Greek scholar that the name of Christ does not necessarily come from the Greek word to anoint, but may come from the word benignus, mistis; for it is here written in the manner which was common in very ancient times, but in the later times disused, when the became changed into the ––as in , which became >.* Thus became . The constantly changed into the i, but I believe seldom or ever did the i change into the . This I say with diffidence, not professing to be learned enough in the Greek language to give a decided opinion on so nice a point, or to say that in all the Greek writers the change never occurs. However, no Greek scholar will deny that it may as readily have changed from the to the as to the i, and that any word which was written in ancient times with the , like , may have changed, like it, into ".
“The first name of Jesus may have been , the second , and the third . The word was used before the H was in use in the language.”
It should be noted that Higgins spells the words Chreistos and Chrêstos, as well as Christos, with the archaic letter sigmatau in the middle of these words, standing for the sound st. He has the following to say on the subject of this letter and its later changes (op. cit., I, 580-81):
“If we turn to Scapula we shall find that and have precisely the same signification, and are convertible terms. In short, it is evident that they are used indiscriminately for one another. It is not to be supposed that in the very early times, perhaps before the invention of letters, when the names of places first took their rise, the same strictness in the pronunciation, or at first, after the invention of` letters, the same strictness in the writing of them, took place, as was observed by the Greeks when they became, in regard to their language, the most fastidious people in the world. It has been shown that the Tau in the ancient languages was constantly written by a cross. For reasons which will appear hereafter, I think the root of the has been . It was the constant practice of the Greeks to soften the harsh sounds of their language. Thus Pelasgos became Pelagos, Casmillos Camillos, Nesta Nessa, Cristos Crissos; where a strong consonant comes after the , it is often dropped. became ignotus, the island of , the country of Crestonia had its capital Crisa and its port Crysos. . . . .
* See Payne Knight’s History of the Greek Alphabet, p. 105.
“. . . . . . With the Chaldeans the Sigma and Tau were convertible, as in Tur and Sur, and in Assyria called Aturia, as Dion Cassius has observed. I suspect it was from the indiscriminate use of these two letters that at last the sigmatau arose. The S was not only in Chaldaic and Syriac, but also in Greek so frequently changed into the T, that Lucian composed a dialogue upon it. In the Latin language, in old manuscripts, the c and the t are often written indiscriminately; as, for instance, initiale with a c. From this, I think, came the French c” which is really in figure nothing but the sigmatau of the Greeks. But though I have met with an assertion that the sigma and the sigmatau were used indiscriminately by the early Greeks, I rather believe the change was from to , and , comformably to the practice of softening The sigma has something very particular about it, it is neither a mute, liquid, nor aspirate; therefore it has been called solitarium. It partakes something of the sound of the Theta. . . . . . This, I think, in part accounts for the indiscriminate use of the Sigma and the Tau, and the rise of the Sigmatau.”
26 Vide Compiler’s Note No. 2.
27 This passage is from the work of Lucian entitled , “The Lover of his Country, or the Student.” It occurs in section 17. This work is considered spurious by some scholars, and is not to be found in certain editions of Lucian’s writings. It is, however, included in the edition of C. Iacobitz, Vol. III, p. 419. In this passage, a certain Triephon answers the question whether the affairs of the Christians were recorded in heaven, by saying: “All nations are there recorded, since Chrêstos exists even among the Gentiles.”
28 This passage is translated as follows by T. R. Glover (Loeb Class. Library):
“‘Christian,’ as far as translation goes, is derived from ‘anointing.’ Yes, and when it is mispronounced by you ‘Chrestian’ (for you have not even certain knowledge of the mere name) it is framed from ‘sweetness’ or ‘kindness.’“
29 Higgins refers to the Unitarian critic, John Jones, LL.D. (1766?-1827), who wrote under the pseudonym of Ben David a work entitled: A Reply to . . . “A New Trial of the Witnesses,” etc., and. . . . “Not Paul but Jesus,” etc., 1824. 8-vo. See Bio-Bibliogr. Index, s. v. JONES.
30 The authorized version has: “The Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love. . . .”
31 The whole subject concerning the Sibyls of antiquity is shrouded in considerable mystery. They were supposed to be women inspired
by influences from higher regions, who were consulted for their prophetic utterances and flourished in different parts of the ancient world. It is likely that they ranged from the mediumistic and sensitive stage to that of true seership. According to Varro, they were ten in number, one of them being the Erythraean, whom Apollodorous of Erythrae claimed as a native of that city, though some considered her of Babylonian origin. She is said to have predicted to the Greeks, when they were sailing for Troy, that this city was destined to perish. The most celebrated Sibyl was the Cumaean, in Italy, spoken of by Naevius, and other Latin writers, especially Virgil. This was the Sibyl that accompanied Aeneas to the lower regions (Ovid, Metam., XIV, 104 et seq.; Servius, In Verg. comm., vi, 321).
According to a well-known Roman legend, one of the Sibyls came to the palace of Tarquinius the Second, and offered to sell him nine books which she declared to contain the inspired prophecies of the Sibyl of Cumae. For these treasures she asked what the monarch regarded as an extravagant price. He refused to purchase the books and dismissed the woman with ridicule. The Sybyl turned aside and burned three of the volumes in the king’s presence. She then offered the remaining six for the same price previously asked for the whole, and when Tarquinius again refused and laughed at her, she burned three more, and offered the remaining three for the same price as before. This strange behaviour produced a great impression upon the monarch. She whom he had ridiculed as mad, he now regarded as inspired. He accordingly purchased what remained of the prophetic treasures, and the Sibyl disappeared and was never seen after.
These books of so-called Sibylline verses were preserved with great care, a college of priests being appointed to have charge of them, and they were consulted with the greatest solemnity when the state seemed to he in danger, to the end that the will of the gods might be known and the danger averted. When the Capitol was burned during the troubles of Sylla, 83 B.C., the Sibylline books deposited there were destroyed. To repair this loss, commissioners were sent out to different parts of Greece to collect whatever could be found of the inspired writings of the Sibyls, to make a new collection. As regards the final fate of this second collection, much uncertainty prevails. It would seem, however, according to the best authorities, that the Emperor Honorius issued an order, 399 A.D., to destroy it, in pursuance of which, Stilicho burned all these prophetic writings and demolished the temple of Apollo where they were deposited.
It should be clearly understood that the eight books of Sibylline verses extant today have no definite relation to these early Roman collections. They are oracles for the most part of a Judeo-Christian origin. Because of the great vogue enjoyed by the oracles of antiquity, and because of the influence they had in shaping the
religious views of the period, the Hellenistic Jews in Alexandria, during the second century B.C., composed verses cast in a similar form, and attributed them to Sibyls, they were circulated among pagans as a means of diffusing Judaism. This custom was continued down into Christian times, and was borrowed by some Christians, so that in the second and third centuries A.D. a new class of oracles emanating from Christian sources came into being. Some of these were adaptations from previous Jewish sources, and others were entirely written by Christians.
It is most likely that these Alexandrian and later collections contained in their text some fragments from the earlier, purely pagan oracles, and the one ascribed to the Erythraean Sibyl, and commented upon by H. P. B., is apparently one of these. It is to be found in acrostic form in the initial letters of verses 217-250 of Book VIII of the extant collection of Sibylline Oracles.
The subject of Sibyls and their utterances calls for serious study and elucidation by students of the Esoteric Philosophy, as it throws a flood of light upon the latent powers of man and the mysteries of his psychic and noetic consciousness.
One of the fullest accounts we have of the Sibyls of old is that found in the writings of Firmianus Lactantius (Divine Institutes, Bk. I ch. vi; J. P. Migne, Patr. C. Compl., Ser. Latina, Vol. VI, 140-47) This Latin Father flourished about the close of the 3rd century A.D.; he refers to Varro as his authority. The Sibyl and her oracles are the subject of the entire ch. xxxvii of a treatise entitled a Hortatory Address to the Creeks, usually attributed to Justin the Martyr and published in his writings (Migne, Part. C. Compl., Ser. Graeco-Latina, Vol. VI, 309 et seq.; M. S. Terry, The Sibylline Oracles, has a transl. of Migne’s Greek text), though its real authorship is uncertain. Augustine (De civitate dei, Bk. XVIII, ch. xxiii) cites the first 27 lines of the above-mentioned acrostic, in a Latin translation which aims at retaining the acrostic form of the Greek. There is an English transl. of Augustine’s Latin version by Marcus Dods in Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (quoted by Terry also), where Dods aims to retain in English the acrostic form. The acrostic verses are quoted in full by Eusebius in his report of Constantine’s Oration to the Assembly of the Saints, xviii (Migne, Patr. C. Compl., Ser. Graeco-Latina, XX, col. 1288-89).
For the benefit of the serious student we list below certain works and essays which give a great deal of information on the subject of Sibyls, their utterances, and divination in general:
G. R. S. Mead, “The Sibyl and her Oracles,” The Theosophical Review, Vol. XXII, July and August, 1898; and “The Sibyllists and the Sibyllines,” ibid., Vol. XXIII, September, October and November, 1898. Considerable bibliographical information included.
Milton S. Terry, The Sibylline Oracles translated from the Greek into English blank Verse, New York, 1890. Very complete bibliography. New ed., revised after the text of Rzach. New York: Eaton and Mains; Cincinnati: Curts and Jennings, 1899.
C. Alexandre, Oracula Sibyllina, Paris, 1841 and 1853. Also a later ed. of 1869. Greek text.
A. Bouché-Leclercq, Histoire de la divination dans l’antiquité. Paris: E. Leroux, 1879-82. 4 vols. 8-vo. Exhaustive bibliography. Work crowned by the French Academy.
Fernand Cabrol and Henri Leclercq, Dictionnaire d’archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie. Paris: Librairie Letouzey et Ané, 1903-54. Fifteen tomes in 30 vols. 8-vo. Vide long and most valuable article on Oracles.
Charles Daremberg and Edmond Saglio, Dictionnaire des antiquités grecques et romaines. Paris: Librarie Hachette, 1877-1919, etc. Five tomes in 10 vols. Vide article on Sibyllae, Sibyllini libri.
32 Usually translated as “. . . . our estimable Socrates. . . .” (Cf. Loeb Class. Library).
33 In the same “ Life of Phocion,” chap. xix, Plutarch speaks of the fact that “the reputation [of his second wife] was not less than that of Phocion for probity,” the last word being the equivalent of the Greek chrêstotêti.
34 “He who sows or plants,” according to Macrobius, Saturnalia, I, 9; I, 15. Conserentes dii, who preside over generation.
35 This reference is to Lucian’s work, sometimes called Trial in the Court of Vowels, the last paragraph of which runs as follows, according to the English translation of H. W. and F. G. Fowler (The Works of Lucian of Samosata. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1905 and 1939):
“. . . men weep . . . and curse Cadmus . . . for introducing Tau into the family of letters; they say it was his body that tyrants took for a model, his shape that they imitated, when they set up the erections on which men are crucified. EJ"LD`l the vile engine is called, and it derives its vile name from him. Now, with all these crimes upon him, does he not deserve death, nay, many deaths? For my part I know none bad enough but that supplied by his own shape—that shape which he gave to the gibbet named FJ"LD`l after him by men.”
36 This important passage is from E. D. Clarke, LL.D., Travels in various Countries of Europe, Asia and Africa. 4th edition. London: Printed for T. Cadell and W. Davies in the Strand, by R. Watts, Crown Court, Temple Bar, 1816-24. 11 vols. It occurs in a description of Delphi, in Vol. VII, chap. vi, “Lebadéa to Delphi,” pp. 239-40. We quote the greater part of it:
“The remains of the Gymnasium are principally behind the monastery Within the monastery we found the capitals of pillars, broken friezes, and triglyphs. . . . . And within the
sanctuary, behind the altar, we saw the fragments of a marble Béma, or Cathedra; upon the back of which we found the following inscription, exactly as it is here written, no part of it having been injured or obliterated; affording, perhaps, the only instance known of a sepulchral inscription upon a monument of this remarkable form:
It is in honour of a youth of Larissa in Thessaly, who died at eighteen years of age. As to the words and , it may be remarked that all the epitaphs upon Larissaeans, which Spon has preserved, contain these words.* There were many cities having the name of Larissa; consequently the city of which the youth here commemorated was a native, has the distinction of . It is mentioned by Strabo, in his description of Thessaly: † it had the name of Larissa Pelasgia, although its situation was without the Pelasgiotis.”
Transliterated, the inscription reads: Chrêstos protou Thessalos Lareisaios Pelasgiôtês etôn. Iê Hêrôs.
With no desire of raising the question as to the accuracy of H.P.B.’s interpretation of this inscription, as far as its occult meaning is concerned, it is advisable, however, to point out that the grammatical form “protou” does not mean “the first,” which would be “protos”; actually it means “of the first.” However, it is the considered opinion of a Greek scholar that in this particular case the word could well mean “ son of Protos.” In the English rendering given by H. P. B., “. . . from Larissa, Pelasgiot . . .” should actually be “. . . from Larissa-Pelasgia . . .”
37 Higgins, Anacalypsis, I, 582.
* Vide Spon, Miscell. Antiq., 331.
† Strabo, Geogr., lib. IX, p. 630. Ed. Oxon.
38 Dr. E. D. Clarke, Travels, etc., Vol. VII, pp. 237-38. There is some uncertainty in the punctuation and construction of H. P. B.’s sentence which immediately follows this quotation; we have left it unaltered.
39 Agnostic Annual for 1888, p. 12.
40 These copious excerpts are all from Gerald Massey’s essay on “The Name and Nature of the Christ,” in the Agnostic Annual of 1888, pp. 9-14. Vide Compiler’s Note No. 17.
41 “Life of Phocion,” ch. x, sec. 2. Cf. Compiler’s Note No. 33.
42 This passage is from Gerald Massey’s essay on “The Name and Nature of the Christ,” Agnostic Annual of 1888, p. 12. Vide Compiler’s Note No. 17.
The reference in this pas-age is to Augustus Böckhs’ Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum in 4 volumes. Berlin: Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften. Fol., 1828-77. In the 4th volume of this series are listed the 1,287 inscriptions entitled “Inscriptiones Christianae,” numbered 8606-9893. These inscriptions are from Egypt, Nubia, Syria, Greece, Illyria, Sicily, Sardinia, Italy, Asia Minor, Gaul, Germany, etc.
43 H. P. B. quotes from J. Ralston Skinner, Key to the Hebrew-Egyptian Mystery in the Source of Measures, p. 256. Cincinnati: R. Clarke & Co., 1875, 324 pp.; 2nd ed., Philadelphia: David McKay Company .
44 Op. cit., p. 259.
45 Op. cit., p. 260.
46 Op. cit., p. 260.
47 Op. cit., p. 255.
48 The first expression is from Lucian’s work entitled Zeus eleghomenos (Latin, Iuppiter Confutatus), Zeus Cross-Examined, a dialogue between Zeus and a Cynic.
The second expression has not been positively identified.
49 This reference stands for the Thesaurus Graecae linguae (), of Henricus Stephanus. 5 vols. Geneva, 1572, fol. (British Museum: 680.g.1-4). This remarkable scholarly work was republished in London, 1816-26, fol. (Edited by A. J. Valpy), and also in Paris, where it was issued by A. Firmin Didot, 1831-65, in eight volumes. Stephanus was the pseudonym of Henri Estienne (1528-98, 2nd of the name), a most prolific French classical scholar who belonged to a family of scholars and printers that produced a large number of scholastic works on classical antiquity.
50 H. P. B. appended several footnotes to Rev. Headley’s article; they will be found in their chronological sequence, in February, 1888, in the present series.
51 Vide Compiler’s Note No. 6. The words within square brackets occurring in this passage are H. P. B.’s own.
52 The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter XV.
53 The accepted rendering of Gal., iii, 3, is as follows: “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
54 In the English translation of Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, made from the Greek original by Rev. C. F. Crusé (London: George Bell & Sons, 1908), the passage referred to runs as follows: “. . . . the best refutation of Basilides that has come down to us, is that of Agrippa Castor, one of the most distinguished writers of the day. . . . He says, that he [Basilides] composed 24 books upon the Gospels. . .” (pp. 121 -22) .
This subject is thoroughly gone into in Cassels’ work. See note 55 below.
55 Originally published anonymously by Walter Richard Cassels (1826-1907). 2 vols. London, 1874. Its sub-title was: An Inquiry into the Reality of Divine Revelation. By 1875, six editions had appeared. In 1877, a 3rd volume was added by the author. 5th ed., London: Longmans, Green & Co.; Boston: Roberts Bros., 1875-77. 3 vols. Popular editions in one volume appeared in 1902 and 1905.
The reference is to Vol. II, Part II, chapter vi, “Basilides—Valentinus.”
56 This reference, in reality, is not as definite as H. P. B. seems to imply. The passage merely mentions a certain Glaucias who is alleged to have been the interpreter () of St. Peter, and who was claimed as an instructor of Basilides.
57 In J. P. Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Latina, Paris, 1879, this passage is to be found in Chapter XLVI, B, of De praescriptionibus adversus haereticos (The Prescription against Heretics), where, according to an older manuscript, it is also paged as . It occurs in a brief section which is introduced with the sub-title: CONTRA HAERETICOS EXPLICIT, as an addition to the main work.
In the Ante-Nicene Fathers (Vol. III, pp. 649-50, Buffalo, 1885), this passage appears in the English translation of Rev. S. Thelwall. The entire section to which it belongs is published separately from De praescriptionibus, under the title of: Against All Heresies (Adversus Omnes Haereses), as a fragment which is considered by many scholars as being spurious. Oehler attributes this fragment to Victorinus Petavionensis, i.e., Victorinus Bishop of Pettaw, on the Drave, in Austrian Styria, who fell a martyr in the Diocletian persecution, probably about A.D. 303. St. Jerome does likewise.
H. P. B.’s rendering is somewhat abbreviated and has minor differences from the original. Migne’s Latin text is as follows:
“Postea Basilides haereticus erupit: hic esse dicit summum Deum nomine Abraxan, ex quo mentem creatam, quam Graece NOYN appellat. Inde Verbum. Ex illo providentiam ex providentia
virtutem et sapientiam: ex ipsis inde principatus, et potestates, et angelos factos, deinde infinitas angelorum editiones et probolas: ab istis angelis trecentos sexaginta quinque coelos institutos, et mundum in honore Abraxae, cujus nomen hunc in se habebat numerum computatum. In ultimis quidem angelis, et qui nunc fecerunt mundum, novissimum ponit Judaeorum Deum, id est Deum legis et prophetarum; quem Deum negat, sed angelum dicit.”
S. Thelwall’s translation is as follows:
“Afterwards broke out the heretic Basilides. He affirms that there is a supreme Deity, by name Abraxas, by whom was created Mind, which in Greek he calls Nous, that thence sprang the Word; that of Him issued Providence, Virtue [or, Power], and Wisdom; that out of these subsequently were made Principalities, Powers [Potestates], and Angels; that there ensued infinite issues and processions of angels; that by these angels 365 heavens were formed, and the world [mundum], in honor of Abraxas, whose name, if computed, has in itself this number. Now, among the last of the angels, those who made this world, he places the God of the Jews latest, that is, the God of the Law and of the Prophets, whom he
denies to be a God, but affirms to be an angel “
58 Ref. is mainly to Vol. II, pp. 423-28, 434, 471-73.
59 In Isis Unveiled, II, 182, footnote, H. P. B. quotes the passage on page 35 of Hermann Olshausen’s work, in its English rendering, thus:
“It is remarkable that, while all church fathers say that Matthew wrote in Hebrew, the whole of them use the Greek text as the genuine apostolic writing, without mentioning what relation the Hebrew Matthew has to our Greek one! It had many peculiar additions which are wanting in our evangel.”
Olshausen’s work has been translated into English by Dr. Fosdick, under the title of: Proof of the genuineness of the writings of the New Testament. Andover (US), 1838. 12-vo (Br. Museum. 1216.b.1.).
However, by referring to the original German text of Nachweis der Echtheit, etc., the last sentence of the quotation, as given above, could not be located. The original text of` the first two sentences is as follows:
“Sonderbar ist nur der Umstand, dass, während alle Kirchenväter erzählen, Matthäus habe herbräisch geschrieben, sie doch insgesammt den griechischen Text brauchen als echte apostolische Schrift, ohne zu bemerken, wie sich der hebräische Matthäus zu unserm griechischen verhalte. Denn dass die altern Kirchenlehrer das Evangelium des Matthäus nicht etwa in einer andern Form hatten, als wir es jetzt besitzen, ist ganz ausgemacht.”
60 At this point, in the original place of publication, in Lucifer, reference is made in parenthesis to St. Jerome’s Comment. to Matthew,
Book II, chap. xii, 13; from the middle of this paragraph, one would easily imagine that H. P. B. is taking these facts from this particular Commentary, especially as it is mentioned in the text itself.
However, if the student refers to Isis Unveiled, II, 182, he will find the same facts spoken of, and quoted excerpts ascribed to “St. Jerome, V, 445.” This latter reference has proved to be an insurmountable obstacle to a number of scholarly students, who were unable to find it in the writings of St. Jerome, in spite of repeated efforts over a period of years. At the time that a large number of quotations occurring in Isis Unveiled were being checked for accuracy, this one had to be abandoned for lack of adequate data as to its source.
As a result of more recent search, the actual source of these quotations, or rather series of excerpts, has been located. In connection with this, we owe a debt of gratitude to Foster M. Palmer, Reference Assistant in Charge of Reference Section, at the Harvard University Library, Cambridge, Mass., whose interest and helpfulness have been of much value in the course of the editorial work incident upon the publication of the present series of volumes. The passage used by H. P. B. was located in the Johannes Martianay edition of St. Jerome’s Works published in Five Volumes in Paris by Ludovicus Roulland, 1693-1706. The date of Vol. V is 1706, and in column 445 occurs the passage under discussion, in its original Latin.
However, this whole section is made up of material falsely ascribed to St. Jerome, and is entitled: “Sancto Hieronymo Stridonensi falso adscriptorum opusculorum tripartita series.” Our particular piece is in the third series, described as: “In tertia similiter quae suos Auctores ipsa prae se ferunt; sed quae parum docta habentur.” The Latin text is as follows:
HIERONYMUS CHROMATIO & HELIODORO EPISCOPIS
“Dominis sanctis & beatissimis, Chromatio & Heliodoro Episcopis, Hieronymus exiggus Christi servus in Domino salutem. Qui terram auri consciam fodit, non illico arripit quicquid fossa profuderit lacerata, sed priusquam fulgens pondus vibrantis jactus ferri suspendat, interim vertendis suspendendisque cespitibus immoratur, & specialiter qui nundum lucris augetur. Arduum opus injungitur, cum hoc fuerit Matthaeus Apostolus & Evangelista voluit in aperto conscribi. Si enim hoc secretum non esset Evangelio utique ipsius quod edidit addidisset: sed fecit hunc libellum Hebraicis literis obsignatum: quem usque adeo edidit, ut & manu ipsius liber scriptus Hebraicis literis à viris religiosissimis habeatur, qui etiam à suis prioribus per successus temporum susceperunt. Hunc autem ipsum librum, nunquam alicui transferendum tradiderunt: textum ejus aliter atquc aliter narraverunt.
“Sed factum est ut à Manichaei discipulo nomine Seleuco: qui etiam Apostolorum gesta falso sermone conscripsit: hic liber editus, non aedificationi, sed destructioni materiam exhibuerit: & quod talis probaretur in synodo cui merito aures Ecclesiae non paterent. Cesset nunc oblatrantium morsus: non istum libellum canonicis nos superaddidimus scripturis: sed ad detegendum haereseos fallaciam, Apostoli atque Evangelistae scripta transferimus: in quo opere non tam piis jubentibus Episcopis obtemperamus, quam impiis haereticis obviamus. Amor igitur est Christi cui satisfacimus, credentes quòd nos suis orationibus adjuvent: qui ad salvatoris nostri infantiam sanctam per nostram potuerint obedientiam pervenire.”
In the considered judgment of Professor Mason Hammond, Pope Professor of Latin Language and Literature at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., to whom the above text was submitted, the Latin of it was rather confused and did not make clear sense. He and Professor La Piana, at home in the field of Church History, drew our attention to a more recent work in French entitled Les Évangiles Apocryphes, published in Textes et Documents pour l’étude historique du Christianisme, issued under the supervision of Hippolyte Hemmer and Paul Lejay (Paris: Picard, 1911-14. 2 vols.). In Vol. I of this work are several apocryphal gospels edited by Charles Michel, of which the second is “Pseudo-Matthew.” This is prefaced by two letters; the first being from the Bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus to Jerome, and the second being his reply to them. This second letter, in which we are interested, is to be found on pages 56-58, together with a translation into French. The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew is discussed in the Preface, pp. xix-xxii, where Michel dates it, on the basis of these letters, as not before the end of the 4th century A D and probably in the 6th. He regards the letters as “evidently apocryphal,” written at a period “when the name of St. Jerome had a very great authority.”
Now the text given by Michel differs considerably from the one quoted above, which may be due to ancient errors of transcription or to later improvements. What is of importance is that Michel’s text makes far better sense. We append it below:
“Dominis sanctis & beatissimis Chromatio & Heliodoro Episcopis, Hieronymus exiguus Christi servus in Domino salutem. Qui terram auri consciam fodit, non illico arripit quicquid fossa profunderit lacerata, sed priusquam fulgendum pondus vibrantis jactus ferri suspendat, interim vertendis supinandisque cespitibus immoratur, et spe alitur qui nundum lucris augetur. Arduum opus injungitur, cum hoc fuerit a vestra mihi beatitudine imperatum quod nec ipse sanctus Matthaeus Apostolus & Evangelista voluit in aperto conscribi. Si enim secretius non esset, Evangelio utique ipsi quod edidit addidisset: sed fecit hunc libellum Hebraicis litteris obsignatum, quem usque adeo non edidit, ut hodie manu
ipsius liber scriptus Hebraicis litteris à viris religiosissimis habeatur, qui eum à suis prioribus per successus temporum susceperunt. Hunc autem ipsum librum, cum nunquam alicui transferendum tradiderunt; textum vero ejus aliter aliterque tradiderunt.
“Sic factum est ut à Manichaei discipulo nomine Seleuco, qui etiam Apostolorum gcsta falso sermone conscripsit, hic liber editus non aedificationi, sed destructioni materiam exhibuerit, & quod talis probaretur in synodo, cui merito aures Ecclesiae non paterent. Cesset nunc oblatrantium morsus: non enim istum libellum canonicis nos superaddidimus scripturis; sed ad detegendum haereseos fallaciam Apostoli atque Evangelistae scripta transferimus. In quo opere tam jubentibus piis obtemperamus Episcopis, quam impiis haereticis obviamus. Amor ergo Christi est cui satisfacimus, credentes quod nos suis orationibus adjuvent qui ad salvatoris nostri sanctam infantiam per nostram potuerint obedientiam pervenire.”
Translated into English, the above Latin text is as follows:
“. . . . . An arduous task has been enjoined by your beatitudes on me, namely what St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, did not wish openly written up. For if it had not been rather secret, he would have added it to the Evangel which he gave forth as his own; but he wrote this book sealed up in Hebrew characters; and he did not provide until now for its publication, in such a way that this book, written in Hebrew script and by his own hand, is today possessed by the most religious men, who, in the succession of time, received it from those who preceded them. Though they never gave this book to anyone to be transcribed, they transmitted its text some in one way and some in another.
“And so it happened that this book, published by a disciple of Manichaeus, named Seleucus, who also wrote in false speech the Acts of the Apostles, contained matter not for edification, but for destruction; and that being such it was approved in a synod which the ears of the Church properly refused to listen to . . .”
As to the Commentary to Matthew, Book II, chap. xii, 13, the only sentence in it which relates to the present subject is the following one:
“. . . . In Evangelio, quo utuntur Nazaraeni et Ebionitae (quid nuper in (Graecum de Hebraeo sermone transtulimus, et quod vocatur a plerisque Matthaei authenticum), homo iste, qui aridam habet manum, caementarius scribitur . . .” *
* Vide Hieronimi, Commentarius in Evangelium secundum Matthaeum. J. P. Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus. Series Latina. Tomus XXVI. Col. 80-81. Paris: Garnier frères, 1884.
which, translated into English reads:
“. . . . In the Evangel which was used by the Nazarenes and the Ebionites (which we recently translated from a Hebrew sermon into Greek, and which by many has been declared to be the authentic Matthew), the same man who had the withered hand was a stone-mason. . . . . .”
As to H. P. B.’s footnote reference to St. Jerome’s De viris inlustribus liber, cap. 3, it is of course fully apposite to the general subject, but seems to be attached at a wrong place in the text, resulting in somewhat of a confusion, possibly due to faulty proofreading of her MSS. The paragraph referred to in chapter 3 of St. Jerome’s work is as follows:
“Mattheus, qui est Levi, ex publicano apostolus, primus in Iudaea propter eos qui ex circumcisione crediderant, Evangelium Christi Hebraeicis litteris verbisque composuit: quod quis postea in Graecum transtulerit, non satis certum est. Porro ipsum Hebraeicum hebetur usque hodie in Caesariensi bibliotheca, quam Pamphilus martyr studiosissime confecit. Mihi quoque a Nazaraeis, qui in Beroea urbe Syriae hoc volumine utuntur, describendi facultas fuit. In quo animadvertendum, quod ubicumque Evangelista, sive ex persona sua, sive ex persona Domini Salvatoris, veteris Scripturae testimoniis abutetur, non sequatur Septuaginta translatorum auctoritatem, sed Hebraicam, e quibus illa duo sunt: ‘ex Aegypti vocavi Filium,’ et: ‘quoniam Nazaraeus vocabitur’.” *
which, translated into English reads:
“Matthew who was called Levi, and who from a publican became an Apostle, was the first one in Judea who wrote an Evangel of Christ, in Hebrew language and letters, for the sake of those among the circumcized ones who had believed. It is not sufficiently certain as to who afterwards translated it into Greek. The Hebrew original could be found to this day in the library diligently collected at Caesarea by the Martyr Pamphilus. It was possible even for me to have access to this volume which the Nazarenes had been using in Veria, a city in Syria. It should be noted that wherever the Evangelist brings forth the testimony of the Old Testament, either himself or according to the man Salvatore, he does not follow the version of the Septuaginta, but quotes directly from the Hebrew. From it come the following two passages: ‘From Egypt have I called the Son,’ and ‘for this reason was he called the Nazarene’.”
* Vide J. P. Migne, P. C. C., Series Latina, Tomus XXIII, Col. 613. Paris, 1883.
This entire subject-matter is also covered by H. P. B. in her powerful article entitled: “The Origin of the Gospels and the Bishop of Bombay,” (The Theosophist, Vol. IV, October, 1882, pp. 6-9) which will be found in its correct chronological order in the present series. A few additional passages from the Fathers are brought into the discussion.
61 This quotation is an English rendering of Salomon Munk’s (1803-67) original French text, in his Mélanges de Philosophie Juive et Arabe (Paris: A. Franck, 1859), p. 976, which is as follows:
“ . . . . . . . Il nous paraît évident, au contraire, que le compilateur s’est servi de documents anciens, et entre autres de certains Midraschîm, ou recueils de traditions et d’expositions bibliques, que nous ne possédons plus aujourd’hui. . . .”
62 This is a rather misleading reference, seeing that H. P. B. does not quote from any works of Augustus Tholuck (1799-1877) in her text above. By referring again to S. Munk’s Mélanges, etc., we find that on the same page 276 he continues in the following manner:
“. . . Nous croyons aussi qu’on peut reconnaître dans les sephirôth des analogies frappantes avec les doctrines de certains gnostiques, notamment de Basilide et de Valentinien.”
At this point, Munk appends the following footnote:
“Cf. Tholuck, l.c., pag. 24 et 31.—Hâya Gaôn, mort en 1038, est à notre connaissance le premier auteur qui développe la théorie des sephirôth, et il leur donne des noms que nous retrouvons plus tard chez les kabbalistes (cf. Jellinek, Moses ben Schem-Tob de Leon, pag. 13, note 5); ce docteur, qui avait de fréquents rapports avec des savants chrétiens syriens ou chaldéens, a pu par ces derniers avoir connaissance de quelques écrits gnostiques.”
It is this passage from Tholuck that H. P. B. quotes in its English rendering. By consulting earlier pages of S. Munk’s Mélanges, it would appear that the l.c. (loco citato) refers to Tholuck’s Commentatio de vi quam graeca philosophia in theologiam tum Muhammedanorum tum Judaeorum exercuerit, pp. 24 and 31.
63 Adolf Jellinek (sometimes spelled Gellinek) (1821-1893), Moses ben Schem-tob de Leon und sein Verhältniss zum Sohar. Eine historischkritische Untersuchung über die Entstehung des Sohar. Leipzig, 1851. 8-vo (British Museum: 4033. dd. 8.).
64 In 1890, George R. S. Mead (1863-1933), Theosophist, classical scholar and close collaborator with H. P. B. at the London Headquarters, translated into English M. G. Schwartze’s Latin version of the Pistis-Sophia, made from the original Coptic MSS. in the British Museum (MS. Add. 5114). He published pages 1-252, with commentaries and notes, in Lucifer, Vols. VI, VII and VIII, between April, 1890, and May, 1891. H. P. B. added a considerable number
of her own Commentaries and Notes, which unfortunately are unsigned.
In 1896, G. R. S. Mead, after re-translating the whole work again and checking it by É. Amélineau’s French translation (Paris, 1895), published it in book-form (London: The Theosophical Publishing Society), with a valuable Introduction. It does not include any Commentaries or Notes of any kind. He seems to have intended publishing a separate volume of Commentaries, but no such volume ever appeared, nor have any MSS. on this subject been found among his papers by his executor, John M. Watkins.
H.P.B.’s Commentaries and Notes, which originally appeared in Lucifer will be found in Volume XIII of the present Series, with as much of the text of Pistis-Sophia as seems necessary for the under standing of H.P.B.’s text. In the same place succinct data will be found regarding the existing literature concerning this work, and other pertinent information.
H.P.B.’s intention to write another installment of her series on “The Esoteric Character of the Gospels,” with explanations regarding Pistis-Sophia, does not seem to have ever been carried out.