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More on Root Races

In my article on Root Races I wrote that Blavatsky originated the term. Someone asked me if it was not true that Alfred Percy Sinnett first published the term in his book “Esoteric Buddhism” (1883). I looked into it a bit, and found the following. The idea and structure of root races, but not the term itself, was present in Blavatsky’s 1877 book “Isis Unveiled”. Sinnett’s “Esoteric Buddhism” may have been the first book to print the term. I haven’t seen the text of the 1883 edition, only the 1885 revised edition, which does include the term. It may have been used in a magazine article as well; I haven’t been able to run down the first published use. However, Sinnett was frequently with Blavatsky as one of her close pupils throughout this period while she was writing “The Secret Doctrine”. It is clear that the whole concept comes from Blavatsky, even if Sinnett did publish the term first (and I’m not sure he did, though he may have). Sinnett himself would certainly not claim credit for originating it.

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