Tales Study

The Tales and Background Research

Where our knowledge is lacking, in respect of the real world activity Beelzebub mentions, we need to educate ourselves. Beelzebub speaks of ancient civilizations, including Babylon and Egypt, where there is a partial historical record. He covers Greece and Rome, where the historical record is fairly rich. He covers 20th century Russia, France, Germany, Britain and America where information abounds, but about which...

The Tales and Philology

“Philology provides a better path to the truth than philosophy.” ~ George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff At the beginning of The Tales, not on the first page, but actually before the first page on the "copyright page"  we find the following paragraph: Original written in Russian and Armenian. Translations into other languages have been made under the personal direction of the author, by a group of translators chosen by him...

The Revision of The Tales (Part 3)

As we noted in the first posting in this series, this discussion of the revision of The Tales is not intended to be a critical take-down of the Gurdjieff Foundation’s publication of it. Mme de Salzmann ordered the revision, and it was not published until after her death, so there was never any possibility of discussing it with her.  She said Gurdjieff asked her to revise it and there is no reason to believe that...

The Revision of The Tales (2)

There is an old joke that did the rounds when the first English Russian translation computer was announced. Someone who was given access to it decided to put in an English phrase, translate it into Russian and then immediately translate the Russian words back to English. He entered the words "Out of sight, out of mind." When it translated the Russian words it had assigned back into English the computer spat out...

The Revision of The Tales (1)

The discussion here of the revision of The Tales is not intended to be a critical broadside against the Gurdjieff Foundation's publication of the revised version of The Tales. Several things are interesting about the 1992 revised version. Discussing them will, I believe, be instructive to readers of The Tales. Let's simply begin with known facts about the revision. Mme de Salzmann ordered it. She said Gurdjieff...

Reading Skills and The Tales

“I have buried in this book certain bones, so that certain dogs with great curiosity and strong scent may dig down to them and, strange thing, when they have done so, are men.” ~ George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff That's the beguiling promise Gurdjieff made. Quite likely it is correct, but the required effort to fathom the gist of The Tales is significant. It begins with learning how to read. If you thought you had that...

How To Read The Tales

The aim of this series of articles is to provide the reader with information that may assist their efforts to profit from reading Gurdjieff’s collective writings. It is no secret that many people find Gurdjieff’s writings difficult. Significant effort is required even to read the First Series, Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, just once. Gurdjieff provides the following advice on almost the first page of the book....