Leadbeater and the Gospels

One of the interesting, and perhaps unexpected, results of modern New Testament scholarship, including the discovery of ancient documents, has been to essentially confirm traditional accounts of the origin and dating of the Gospels. This contradicts Leadbeater’s claims, allegedly based on his clairvoyant research, regarding the Gospels.

Those claims were initially made to a group of his students and originally published in the private (or secret) ES publication, The Link, May, 1908 [although the date at the top of the pages on which the work was published read May, 1901].

The Link Gospels i

The Link Gospels ii

The Link Gospels iii

The claims were then repeated and expanded in The Inner Life. Theosophical Talks at Adyar (1911):

Certainly the Christian Bible ought not to be taken literally, for many of its statements are symbolical, and others are simply not true. When we examine clairvoyantly the life of the Founder of Christianity, for example, we can find no trace of the alleged twelve apostles, it would seem that as men they never existed, but that they were introduced into the story for some reason– possibly to typify the twelve signs of the zodiac. The disciple Jesus, whose body was taken by the Christ, was not an illegitimate son, as is implied in the gospel, nor was his father a carpenter. He was in reality of the highest aristocracy of the Jews, a descendant of their own old royal line. He may however have had a tinge of Aryan blood in him, which would be quite enough to cause the exclusive Jews to say that he was not legitimately of the seed of David, and that statement might very easily be taken to mean such an irregular birth as is suggested by the narrative.

The truth is that the four gospels at any rate were never intended to be taken as in any sense historical. They are all founded upon a much shorter document written in Hebrew by a monk named Matthaeus, who lived in a monastery in a desert to the south of Palestine. He seems to have conceived the idea of casting some of the great facts of initiation into a narrative form and mingling with it some points out of the life of the real Jesus who was born 105 B. C., and some from the life of another quite obscure fanatical preacher, who had been condemned to death and executed in Jerusalem about 30 A. D.

He sent this document to a great friend of his who was the chief abbot of a huge monastery at Alexandria, and suggested to him that he, or some of his assistants, might perhaps recast it, and issue it in the Greek language. The Alexandrian abbot seems to have employed a number of his young monks upon this work, allowing each of them to try the task for himself, and to treat it in his own way. A number of documents of very varying merit were thus produced, each incorporating in his story more or less of the original manuscript of Matthaeus, but each also adding to it such legends as he happened to know, or as his taste and fancy dictated. Four of these still survive to us, and to them are attached the names of the monks who wrote them, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The splendid passage with which the gospel of St. John opens was not original but quoted, for we found it in existence many years before the time of the Christ in a manuscript which was even then of hoary antiquity.

The Inner Life. Theosophical Talks at Adyar Rajput Press, Chicago, 1911: Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, 1917:119-120. The 1917 edition is available on-line at: http://www.anandgholap.net/Inner_Life_Vol_I-CWL.htm