Mead, G(eorge) R(obert) S(tow) (1863-1933)

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Mead, G(eorge) R(obert) S(tow) (1863-1933)

Theosophist, scholar, and writer on Gnosticism and early Christianity. Born March 22, 1863, he was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge (M.A., 1885). In 1884 Mead joined the Theosophical Society, and in 1889 he gave up his work as a teacher to be closely concerned with the Theosophical Society and its cofounder Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Mead became her private secretary for the last three years of her life and sub-edited her monthly magazine Lucifer, which he renamed the Theosophical Review on becoming editor. Mead was one of the few of Blavatsky's associates to have a realistic view of her complex character. He believed her to be a racy personality as well as a powerful medium, and not simply a charlatan, as alleged by her critics.

In 1890 Mead was appointed general secretary of the Theosophical Society, a position he held for eight years. Among his first tasks, he helped to edit the second edition of Blavatsky's massive text, The Secret Doctrine (1890).

In 1908 he resigned from the society (with some 700 other members) in protest against the sexual scandals concerning C. W. Leadbeater. In March of the next year, Mead founded the Quest Society, which he saw as a group of sincere seekers after spiritual wisdom without taint of charlatanism. He edited the Quest, a quarterly review, for over 20 years (1909-30). After the death of his wife, Mead became actively interested in psychic science and sat with several mediums. He died September 28, 1933, and is remembered for the many books he wrote and edited.


Mead, George R. S. Apollonius of Tyana. 1901. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1966.

. Did Jesus Live 100 B.C. ? 1903. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1968.

. The Doctrine of the Subtle Body. 1919. Reprint, London: Stuart & Watkins, 1967.

. Echoes from the Gnosis. 1907. Reprint, Hastings, E. Sussex, England: Chthonius Books, 1987.

. Fragments of a Faith Forgotten. 1900. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1960.

. Pistis Sophia. London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1921.

. Simon Magus. London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1892.

. Thrice Greatest Hermes. London: Theosophical Society, 1906.