20 u80icf36 A technical digression is necessary here, in order to resolve a long-standing
u80icf36 A technical digression is necessary here, in order to resolve a long-standing problem of attribution.
The official publications of the A...A... are grouped in five classes, from << A >> to << E >>. The classification system was devised to obviate potential confusion regarding the relative sanctity or authority of the books and papers evaluated. The system has generally succeeded in this, although (as will be seen) confusion still arises. Crowley placed the Holy Books in Class << A >>, which (by his definition) << consists of books of which may be changed not so much as the style of a letter: that is, they represent the utterance of an Adept entirely beyond the criticism of even the Visible Head of the Organization.>> As has been shown, the Class << A >> category of literature ultimately derives from the first and foremost of the Holy Books, Liber Legis.
The term << holy book >> itself possibly derives from Liber LXV V:58: << in the number five and sixty seal thou the holy book.>> Crowley never explicitly defined it, or listed the books to which it applied. Some students only allow the term << Holy Books >> to the Class << A >> writings collected in Thelema, a compilation published in 1909 E.V., and deny the term to Class << A >> documents published later in The Equinox. included Libri VII, XXVII, LXI, LXV, CCXX and DCCCXIII, and was meant to serve a specific and limited purpose, being the core curriculum of aspirants in the Outer College of A...A.... It was not intended to be the definitive edition of the Thelemic sacred writings, as some students hold.
Much tangible mischief has resulted from this mistaken assumption. For example, a 1952 E.V. Canadian limited edition based on was given the title The Holy Books, with no qualification of the title to account for the many Holy Books excluded. Compounding this error, and illustrating the problem of loosely-applied titles, three books excerpted from were recently published as The Holy Books, leading many students to believe that only three books deserve the term. Thus, the corruption Crowley took such pains to forestall arose after his death due to the confusion of a bibliographic reference (the book ) with an ill-defined oral tradition concerning the << Holy Books >> as a literary subgroup.
In the years following the publication of in 1909 E.V., additional Class << A >> books were written and incorporated into the A...A... curriculum. The << Curriculum of A...A... >>, published in 1919 E.V., includes all Class << A >> writings except Liber CCCLXX, a curious exception that goes to prove the rule. The note immediately following Liber CCCLXX in The Equinox clearly places it in the graded curriculum. Attributed to the grade of Dominus Liminus, Liber CCCLXX picks up the series where the five books in left off at the preceding grade of Practicus. Supporting this is the fact that all five books published in had similar notes appended to them; for comparative purposes, these notes have been transferred to the Synopsis in the present edition.
According to the best available evidence, Crowley never cited as the << Holy Books >>; he refers to the book in his writings, but always by the proper title. Crowley did use the term << Holy Books >> in a general sense, usually when citing Libri VII or LXV. But in a telling instance (his commentary to Liber LXV V:51) he applies the term to Liber I, still unwritten at the time of 's publication. This is irrefutable evidence for a broader definition of the Holy Books.
Finally, it is difficult to believe that Crowley would have left any ambiguity as to the sanctity of the books in Class << A >>, of all classes of literature; their very definition argues against it.
There is thus firm evidence for expanding the term << holy book >> beyond the few books published in . For the present compilation (in many ways a more complete edition of the original collection) all Class << A >> writings are treated as Holy Books. The original title of is retained, and popular usage is acknowledged in the subtitle The Holy Books of Thelema.
Curiously, considering the reverence with which Crowley treated it, Liber I was first published in Class << B >>. It was later placed in Class << A >> in the authoritative << Synopsis of Official Publications of the A...A...>>. In view of its reclassification, and Crowley's explicit reference to it as a Holy Book, it is included in this compilation in Class << A >>.
Liber LXI was first published in , where it appeared under imprimatur in Class << A >>. Crowley evidently had second thoughts, for it is placed in Class << D >> in later publications and listings. Liber LXI differs from the Holy Books on almost all points. Questions of style apart, it is not a << received >> text at all, but rather a revision of the History Lection of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Crowley drafted a revision of this historical paper in 1906 E.V., and rewrote it, as it stands today, in 1907 E.V. It is a literary cornerstone of the A...A..., which rose from the ashes of the Golden Dawn during this period. Liber LXI should not, however, be considered a Holy Book, but rather an Introduction to the series of Holy Books, as Crowley suggests. Supporting this view is the fact that verses 29 - 30 refer to << Sacred Writings >> such as Libri CCXX, LXV and VII; this would seem to place Liber LXI outside the category. Since Liber LXI was included in (the model for the present compilation) it is included in the present compilation, but under its most recent imprimatur in Class << D >>. It serves as the Introduction, and immediately follows the Synopsis.
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