Theosophy

(the society was founded in November, 1875). It means divine wisdom, the “wisdom religion,” the “hidden wisdom.” It is borrowed from Ammonius Saccas of the third century A.D. Theosophists tell us there has ever been a body of knowledge, touching the universe, known to certain sages, and communicated by them in doles, as the world was able to bear the secrets. Certainly Esdras supports this hypothesis. Of the two hundred books Jehovah said:

“The first that thou hast written publish openly, that the worthy [esoterics] and the unworthy [exoterics] may read it; but keep the seventy last that thou mayst deliver them only to such as be wise among the people, for in them is wisdom and the stream of knowledge.” - 2 Esdras xiv. 45-47.

“At my first approach to the `Wisdom Religion.' I rather resented the necessity of having to master the profusion of technical terms which Madame Blavatsky very freely sprinkles about her Key to Theosophy, such as DAVACHAN, BUDDI, ATMA, MANAS, SAMADHI, etc.” —F. J. Gould.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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