Judge, William Q(uan) (1851-1896)

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Judge, William Q(uan) (1851-1896)

Prominent American Theosophist and one of the founders of the Theosophical Society along with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott. Born April 13, 1851, in Ireland, Judge studied occult literature and immigrated to the United States, where he became a lawyer. After Blavatsky and Olcott moved to India, Judge became the leader of the American branch of the society. Following the death of Blavatsky, he was involved in the case of the Mahatma letters, in which communications allegedly from the Koot Hoomi, a mysterious adept, appeared to favor Judge's taking charge of the esoteric section of the society, as opposed to Blavatsky's choice to succeed her, Annie Besant.

At the 1895 convention of the American section of the Theosophical Society, members decided to secede from the parent society. Judge was elected president for life of the Theosophical Society in America. He died March 21, 1896, and passed leadership to Katherine Tingley.

Among his various writings Judge produced his own edition of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, study notes on the Bhagavad Gita, and a book, The Ocean of Theosophy (1893).


Eek, Sven, and Boris de Zirkoff. William Quan Judge: Theosophical Pioneer. Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing House, 1969.

Judge, William Q. Echoes of the Orient. 2 vols. San Diego, Calif.: Point Loma Publications, 1975, 1980.

. The Ocean of Theosophy. Reprint, Point Loma, Calif.: Theosophical University Press, 1974.