“Living the Enlightenment: Freemasonry and Politics in 18th Century Europe” by Margaret Jacobs
Long recognized as more than the writings of a dozen or so philosophes, the Enlightenment created a new secular culture populated by the literate and the affluent. Enamoured of British institutions, Continental Europeans turned to the imported masonic lodges and found in them a new forum that was constitutionally constructed and logically egalitarian. Originating in the Middle Ages, when stone-masons joined together to preserve their professional secrets and to protect their wages, the English and Scottish lodges had by the eighteenth century discarded their guild origins and become an international phenomenon that gave men and eventually some women a place to vote, speak, discuss and debate. Margaret Jacob argues that the hundreds of masonic lodges founded in eighteenth-century Europe were among the most important enclaves in which modern civil society was formed. In France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Britain men and women freemasons sought to create a moral and social order based upon reason and virtue, and dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality. A forum where philosophers met with men of commerce, government, and the professions, the masonic lodge created new forms of self-government in microcosm, complete with constitutions and laws, elections, and representatives. This is the first comprehensive history of Enlightenment freemasonry, from the roots of the society’s political philosophy and evolution in seventeenth-century England and Scotland to the French Revolution. Based on never-before-used archival sources, it will appeal to anyone interested in the birth of modernity in Europe or in the cultural milieu of the European Enlightenment.
“Revolutionary Brotherhood” by Steven Bullock
In the first comprehensive history of the fraternity known to outsiders primarily for its secrecy and rituals, Steven Bullock traces Freemasonry through its first century in America. He follows the order from its origins in Britain and its introduction into North America in the 1730s to its near-destruction by a massive anti-Masonic movement almost a century later and its subsequent reconfiguration into the brotherhood we know today. With a membership that included Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Paul Revere, and Andrew Jackson, Freemasonry is fascinating in its own right, but Bullock also places the movement at the center of the transformation of American society and culture from the colonial era to the rise of Jacksonian democracy. Using lodge records, members’ reminiscences and correspondence, and local and Masonic histories, Bullock links Freemasonry with the changing ideals of early American society. Although the fraternity began among colonial elites, its spread during the Revolution and afterward allowed it to play an important role in shaping the new nation’s ideas of liberty and equality. Ironically, however, the more inclusive and universalist Masonic ideas became, the more threatening its members’ economic and emotional bonds seemed to outsiders, sparking an explosive attack on the fraternity after 1826. American History
“Solomon’s Builders: Freemasons, Founding Fathers and the Secrets of Washington D.C.” by Christopher Hodapp
DID THE FREEMASONS CREATE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?
Step back in time to the birth of a revolutionary new republic and discover how the utopian ideals of a visionary secret society laid the foundation for the most powerful nation on earth. Follow George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and other Founding Fathers as they transform the democratic principles of their Masonic lodges into a radical new nation.
Solomon’s Builders unravels history from myth as it takes you on a Freemason’s tour of Washington, D.C. It reveals the evidence of Masonic influence during the construction of America and its new capital, including clues hidden in plain sight:
- Masonic connections to national monuments
- Puzzling pentagrams and symbolism in city streets
- Washington’s temples of the “Widow’s Sons”
Solomon’s Builders relates the true stories of our visionary Founders, and the fascinating meaning behind the cryptic codes, enigmatic symbols and intriguing architecture that was the basis for the sequel to The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s novel The Lost Symbol.
About the Author
Christopher Hodapp is a Freemason and a Past Master of two Masonic Lodges. His first book, Freemasons for Dummies, is the most popular modern guide to the ancient and accepted fraternity of Freemasonry. He has appeared on the History and Discovery Channels, and recently developed episodes for “Brad Meltzer’s Decoded.”
“The Genesis of Freemasonry” By David Harrison
This book is a revealing but thoroughly enjoyable journey through the intricate history of English Freemasonry. Historian Dr. David Harrison reconstructs the hidden history of the movement, tracing its roots through a mixture of mediaeval guild societies, alchemy and necromancy. He examines the earliest known Freemasons and their obsessions with Solomon s Temple, alchemy, and prophecy, to the formation of the Grand Lodge in London, which in turn led to rebellions within the Craft throughout England. Harrison also analyzes the role of French immigrant, Dr Jean Theophilus Desaguliers in the development of English Freemasonry, focusing on his involvement with the formation of the mysterious modern Masonic ritual. All Freemasons and more general readers will find much of interest in this fascinating exploration of the very beginnings of Freemasonry, still one of the most mysterious brotherhoods in the world.
“The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland’s Century, 1590–1710” by David Stevenson
This book is a new edition of David Stevenson’s classic account of the origins of Freemasonry, a brotherhood of men bound together by secret initiatives, rituals and modes of identification with ideals of fraternity, equality, toleration and reason. Beginning in Britain, Freemasonry swept across Europe in the mid-eighteenth century in astonishing fashion–yet its origins are still hotly debated today. The prevailing assumption has been that it emerged in England around 1700, but David Stevenson demonstrates that the real origins of modern Freemasonry lie in Scotland around 1600, when the system of lodges was created by stonemasons with rituals and secrets blending medieval mythology with Renaissance and seventeenth-century history. This fascinating work of historical detection will be essential reading for anyone interested in Renaissance and seventeenth-century history, for freemasons themselves, and for those readers captivated by the secret societies at the heart of the bestselling The Da Vinci Code. David Stevenson is Emeritus Professor of Scottish History at the University of St. Andrews. His many previous publications include The Scottish Revolution, 1637-1644; Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Scotland, 1644-1651; and The First Freemasons; Scotland, Early Lodges and their Members. His most recent book is the The Hunt for Rob Roy (2004). Previous edition Hb (1988) 0-521-35326-2 Previous edition Pb (1990) 0-521-39654-9
“Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation” by Henrik Bogdan
For more than three hundred years the practice of Masonic rituals of initiation has been part of Western culture, spreading far beyond the boundaries of traditional Freemasonry. Henrik Bogdan explores the historical development of these rituals and their relationship with Western esotericism. Beginning with the Craft degrees of Freemasonry—the blueprints, as it were, of all later Masonic rituals of initiation—Bogdan examines the development of the Masonic High Degrees, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn—the most influential of all nineteenth-century occultist initiatory societies—and Gerald Gardner’s Witchcraft movement of the 1950s, one of the first large-scale Western esoteric New Religions Movements.
“…Bogdan’s book is a valuable contribution to the developing academic discipline of Western Esotericism and new religions … this book will provide an important linguistic and historical step forward in a previously unrecognized field that appears to be—finally—coming into its own.” — Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review
“Bogdan’s book offers a useful brief primer on the history of Freemasonry and scholarship on Western esotericism, presenting considerable bibliographic information for interested scholars new to the fields. For that alone its value is assured. But Bodgan’s work also illustrates important tensions within the study of Western esotericism and the connected field of Pagan Studies.” — The Pomegranate
“…offers a very promising new take on the question of esotericism and its historical continuity.” — Journal of Religion
“This is truly an original work on an important subject. The most significant thing is probably the definition of ‘ritual.’ The field of Western esotericism is a young one, and while some of its terminology is now a matter of common consent, ritual has never been subjected to scrutiny in this context. Bogdan also shows how different rituals convey different elements of the Western esoteric tradition: some Freemasonic ritual teaches alchemy; the Golden Dawn teaches Kabbalah; and witchcraft teaches principles of sexual magic. The entire book has an earnestness about it that makes the reader take these rituals seriously.” — Joscelyn Godwin, author of The Real Rule of Four
“William Hogarth: A Freemason’s Harlot” By Jeremy John Bell
William Hogarth, England’s most famous artist, was one of the first Freemasons to receive the Third Degree from the newly created Grand Lodge of England. Curiously, he hid all the signs, passwords and secret ‘knocks of recognition’ within his most popular artwork. Concealed so brilliantly within his paintings, they have not been seen for nearly three centuries. Hogarth also hid several details that slandered the ‘Father of Freemasonry’, Jean Desaguliers. The artist featured the third 3rd Grand Master covered in wax, dressed in drag, and ‘catching a fart’. Other curious details that have confused commentators for centuries can now be finally explained by their Masonic connection: Masturbating Kings, Ejaculating Ministers, Orgasmic Curtains and a Stabbed Chicken. However, the most shocking discovery is that Hogarth exposed a Earl and a Viscount as homosexuals, using graphic details within his most popular paintings. He did this in order to defend his Grand Lodge against a rival faction of Jacobite Freemasons. Over 300 illustrations explain this fascinating story of how Hogarth was commissioned by the Premier Grand Lodge to ensure its very survival. It will be of great interest in this, the Tercentenary of the inception of Modern Freemasonry. William Hogarth – A Freemason’s Harlot – with a foreword by Professor Sean Shesgreen author of Complete Engravings, (Dover Fine Art, 1973), Hogarth Times of Day, (Cornell, 1983). Available at brotherhogarth.com – Jeremy Bell has written articles on Freemasonry for the British Art Journal and articles on art for the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.