To answer that question we need to distinguish between Modern Theosophy and Ancient or Timeless Theosophy.
Timeless Theosophy is also called by many names such as the:
- Ancient Wisdom
- Wisdom of the Aages
- Ageless Wisdom
- Perennial Philosophy
This is a tradition found in human cultures all over the world and at all times in history. It is the basis of the inner or mystical side of many philosophies, religions, and cultures. Modern Theosophy is a contemporary statement of that tradition.
The term dates from the third century AD when Ammonius Saccas and his disciples in Alexandria, Egypt, organized the Eclectic Theosophical System to teach certain moral truths based in eternal truths. Their purpose was to reconcile religions and nations. The word “theosophy” is derived from the Greek – theo-sophia, which means “divine wisdom”.
The modern Theosophical Society was founded in 1875 by H.P. Blavatsky, H.S. Olcott, and W.Q. Judge in New York, bringing to the western world the first public restatement of the Ageless Wisdom, and esoteric truths found at the core of all religions, with the hope to stem the tide of materialism prevalent at that time, and the violence about to erupt in the coming century.
Theosophy is the body of truths which forms the basis of all religions, and which cannot be claimed as the exclusive possession of any.
It offers a philosophy which renders life intelligible, and which demonstrates the justice and the love which guide its evolution.
It puts death in its rightful place, as a recurring incident in an endless life, opening the gateway to a fuller and more radiant existence.
It restores to the world the Science of the Spirit, teaching man to know the Spirit as himself and the mind and body as his servants.
It illuminates the scriptures and doctrines of religions by unveiling their hidden meanings, and thus justifying them at the bar of intelligence, as they are ever justified in the eyes of intuition.
Members of the Theosophical Society study these truths, and Theosophists endeavor to live them. Everyone willing to study, to be tolerant, to aim high, and to work perseveringly, is welcomed as a member and it rests with the member to become a true Theosophist.