Portrait of Madame Blavatsky resized


No Religion Higher Than Truth

Meaning of the word "Theosophy"

Theosophy” comes from the Greek”Theos” and “sophia” meaning literally “Divine Knowledge“. It is a body of knowledge – accumulated since time immemorial – that answers the great questions of life – Who am I, Where am I going, What am I doing here, What is the nature of the soul, What is the origin of the universe and What can be said about the nature of divinity.

The term theosophy (in its Greek and other forms) had been used about 100 or so times over two millennia in western civilization before Madame Blavatsky. The term came to be the most appropriate word to describe her teachings and so, with a capital “T”, Theosophy came to be the name given to that which she taught in the 19th century.

Some have, quite understandably, extended the meaning of the word to cover that entire body of knowledge known to Blavatsky’s teachers – a portion of which was imparted to her. Some academics have taken to using the word to mean “comparative religion”, now that the word has become well known – but this certainly dilutes the specific meaning it acquired during the time of Blavatsky. And regrettably, some writers in the 20th century have based themselves on her writings but subtly altered the teachings and then continued to call their writings Theosophy – misleading any number of students in the process.

Blavatsky Net defines Theosophy as “what Madame Blavatsky wrote”. All other writings are theosophical in their nature. We suggest the student read the following article by HPB “What is Theosophy” and also the article by William Q. Judge, “Theosophy – Its Claims, Doctrines and Progress.”

In the course of time we will be adding more articles herewith that explain, set out and discuss some of the pertinent aspects of the meaning of the word Theosophy, why it was chosen, why it is still used, and what of the future for the theosophical community.
For some more detail on the scope of her writings see Checklist – some basic principles of Theosophy