The Key to Theosophy
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
The Key to Theosophy
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
The Policy of the
Q. In the days of Ammonius there were several ancient great religions, and
numerous were the sects in
A. By doing that which we again try to do now. The Neo-Platonists were a large
body, and belonged to various religious philosophies; so do our Theosophists.
It was under Philadelphus that Judaism established itself in
forthwith the Hellenic teachers became the dangerous rivals of the College of
The Buddhist, Vedantic, and Magian systems were expounded along with the
supposed that the strife of words ought to cease, and considered it possible to
extract one harmonious system from these various teachings … Panaetius,
Athenagoras, and Clement were thoroughly instructed in Platonic philosophy, and comprehended its essential unity with the Oriental systems.
In those days, the Jew Aristobulus affirmed that the ethics of Aristotle
represented the esoteric teachings of the Law of Moses; Philo Judaeus endeavored to reconcile the pentateuch with the Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy; and Josephus proved that the Essenes of Carmel were simply the copyists and followers of the Egyptian Therapeutae (the healers). So it is in our day.
We can show the line of descent of every Christian religion, as of every, even the smallest, sect. The latter are the minor twigs or shoots grown on the larger
branches; but shoots and branches spring from the same trunk-the
wisdom-religion. To prove this was the aim of Ammonius, who endeavored to induce Gentiles and Christians, Jews and Idolaters, to lay aside their contention and strife, remembering only that they were all in possession of the same truth
under various vestments, and were all the children of a common mother. This is
the aim of Theosophy likewise. Says Mosheim of Ammonius:
Conceiving that not only the philosophers of Greece, but also all those of the
different barbarian nations, were perfectly in unison with each other with
regard to every essential point, he made it his business so to expound the
thousand tenets of all these various sects as to show they had all originated
from one and the same source, and tended all to one and the same end.
If the writer on Ammonius in the Edinburgh Encyclopedia knows what he is talking about, then he describes the modern Theosophists, their beliefs, and their work, for he says, speaking of the Theodidaktos:
He adopted the doctrines which were received in Egypt (the esoteric were those
great whole; concerning the eternity of the world … and established a system of
moral discipline which allowed the people in general to live according to the
laws of their country and the dictates of nature, but required the wise to exalt
their mind by contemplation.
Q. What is your authority for saying this of the ancient Theosophists of
A. An almost countless number of well-known writers. Mosheim, one of them, says that:Ammonius taught that the religion of the multitude went hand-in-hand with philosophy, and with her had shared the fate of being by degrees corrupted and obscured with mere human conceits, superstitions, and lies; that it ought,
therefore, to be brought back to its original purity by purging it of this dross
and expounding it upon philosophical principles; and the whole Christ had in
view was to reinstate and restore to its primitive integrity the wisdom of the
ancients; to reduce within bounds the universally-prevailing dominion of
superstition; and in part to correct, and in part to exterminate the various
errors that had found their way into the different popular religions.
This, again, is precisely what the modern Theosophists say. Only while the great
Philaletheian was supported and helped in the policy he pursued by two Church
Fathers, Clement and Athenagoras, by all the learned Rabbis of the Synagogue,
the Academy and the
are abused and persecuted. People 1,500 years ago are thus shown to have been
more tolerant than they are in this enlightened century.
Q. Was he encouraged and supported by the Church because, notwithstanding his heresies, Ammonius taught Christianity and was a Christian?
A. Not at all. He was born a Christian, but never accepted Church Christianity.
As said of him by the same writer:
He had but to propound his instructions according to the ancient pillars of
Hermes, which Plato and Pythagoras knew before, and from them constituted their philosophy. Finding the same in the prologue of the Gospel according to St. John, he very properly supposed that the purpose of Jesus was to restore the
great doctrine of wisdom in its primitive integrity. The narratives of the Bible
and the stories of the gods he considered to be allegories illustrative of the
truth, or else fables to be rejected. As says the Edinburgh Encyclopedia:
Moreover, he acknowledged that Jesus Christ was an excellent man and the "friend of God," but alleged that it was not his design entirely to abolish the worship of demons (gods), and that his only intention was to purify the ancient
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