Book Reviews

1901 The Monist  
Vasubandhu, not Vasubhandu) should be spelt Seshin; etc. But the importance of the subject-matter outweighs all these minor defects. T. S. FRAGMENTS OF A FAITH FORGOTTEN. Some short sketches among the Gnostics mainly of the first two centuries,-a contribution to the study of Christian origins based on the most recently recovered materials. By G. R. S. Mead, B. A., M. R. A. S. London and Benares: Theosophical Publishing Society. 1900. Pages, xxviii, 630. Price, 10s. 6d. net. The writing of the
more » ... he writing of the present work has been a congenial task to Mr. Mead, and he has brought to bear lovingly and zealously upon the portraiture of the figure of Christ and of early Christianity, all the knowledge which a deep study of Oriental religions from their emotional side could furnish. The book is published by the Theosophical Publishing Society, and bears of course the marks of its associations; but it may be stated at the outset that there is very little of what is commonly regarded as the Theosophic method apparent in the work, which is the product of a scholarly though withal very devotional spirit. Mr. Mead's aim has been to enable the reader to obtain a glimpse of a world of which he has never heard at school, and of which no word is ever breathed from the pulpit; to take him away from the pictures which the rationalists and the apologists have presented, and to enable him to obtain an unimpeded view of that wonderful panorama of religious strife which the first two centuries of our era presented. He will here see "a religious world of immense activity, a vast upheaval "of thought and a strenuousness of religious endeavor to which the history of the "Western world gives no parallel. Thousands of schools and communities on "every hand, striving and contending, a vast freedom of thought, a mighty effort " to live the religious life. Here he finds innumerable points of contact with other " religions ; he moves in an atmosphere of freedom of which he has previously had " no experience in Christian tradition. Who are all these people-not fishermen " and slaves and the poor and destitute, though those are striving too-but these "men of learning and ascetic life, saints and sages as much as many others to " whom the name has been given with far less reason ?" The task will be, the author says again, "to point to certain considerations " which may tend to restore the grand figure of the Great Teacher to its natural "environment in history and tradition, and disclose the intimate points of contact " which the true ideal of the Christian religion has with the one world-faith of the " most advanced souls of our common humanity,-in brief, to restore the teaching "of the Christ to its true spirit of universality. Not for one instant would we try " to lessen the reverence and the love of any single soul for that Great Soul " who watches over Christendom; our task will rather be to point to a soil in " which that love can flourish ever more abundantly, and ever more confidently "open its heart to the rational rays of the Spiritual Sun. That soil is rich enough "for the full growth of the man-plant; it is part of the original soil, and gives by guest on June 7, 2016 Downloaded from
doi:10.1093/monist/12.1.148 fatcat:wyxuqe3tyjgrppkcpqal3tceae