“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
“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
“The Mason’s Words: The History and Evolution of the American Masonic Ritual ” By Robert G Davis
Freemasonry is entirely built around traditions. From time immemorial, those who have belonged to the world’s oldest and largest fraternal order have metaphorically passed between the pillars of Solomon’s Temple to nurture within themselves a harmonious bond between tradition and modernity. This is the story of the Masonic ritual, the language and ceremonial forms that have evolved into the present structure of American Freemasonry, defined its lodge space, and offered its members the same stablizing influence of instruction that has prevailed on every continent for nearly 400 years. The reader will discover that the language of the world’s oldest fraternal society has also made its own interesting journey, and been tested by the most powerful and the most humbling of men. The result is, that, in Masonic lodges across America, and, indeed, the world, men from every walk of life, of all ages, every social category and every spiritual and philosophical conviction are able to find a basis for reflection on who they are, why they are here, and what has meaning to them. By its common language delivered in a common culture of fraternal relationship, Freemasonry is enabled to exemplify a univeral brotherhood of man. This is the story of the Mason’s words; the history and evolution of the American Masonic ritual. It is an interesting bit of history that is perhaps all the more fascinating because it is so rarely known.
“Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry?” by Arturo de Hoyos and S. Brent Morris
For as long as there have been Freemasons, there has been a calculated effort to disparage and discredit them as well as their practices. But why does this incessant attack exist, and where does it originate from? In this insightful text, masons Arturo de Hoyos and S. Brent Morris explore the origins of the anti-Masonic mind-set and delve into the falsehoods on which critics have based these perennial sentiments. Confronting opponents one at a time, the authors methodically debunk the myths that have surrounded Freemasonry since its establishment, investigating the motives and misconceptions that drive these antagonists to spread deceit about Masonic traditions. With close readings and thorough research, they uncover a history of fallacies that have been handed down through the generations, and ultimately expose anti-Masonic prejudices that reach almost three hundred years into the past.
“The Freemasons” by Jasper Ridley
What did Mozart and Bach, Oscar Wilde and Anthony Trollope, George Washington and Frederick the Great, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt have in common? They were all Freemasons, a subject of endless fascination. To the layman, they are a mysterious brotherhood of profound if uncertain influence, a secret society purported in some popular histories to have its roots in the fabled order of the Knights Templar, or in the mysteries of the Egyptian pyramids. They evoke fears of world domination by a select few who enjoy privileged access to wealth and the levers of power. The secrecy of their rites suggests the taint of sacrilege, and their hidden loyalties are sometimes accused of undermining the workings of justice and the integrity of nations.
Though not a mason himself, Jasper Ridley nonetheless refutes many of the outrageous allegations made against Freemasonry, while at the same time acknowledging the masons’ shortcomings: their clannishness, misogyny, obsession with secrecy, and devotion to arcane ritual. In this much-needed reassessment, he offers a substantial work of history that sifts the truth from the myth as it traces Freemasonry from its origins to the present day.
“The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet”
From the very first Kabbalistic work, through the Talmud, through an impressive array of rabbinic literature, great minds have found the Aleph-Beis to be a gold mine of wisdom and guidance. This fascinating best-seller weaves these golden threads into a glorious tapestry, presenting hundreds of ideas and comments on the Aleph-Beis, including: the Aleph-Beis as the force of Creation, as a primer for Jewish living, and as a fountainhead of Torah insight and mystical meaning. The product of decades of learning, thinking, and teaching by the revered educator, lecturer, and community activist Rabbi Michael L. Munk. A treat not to be missed.
“Freemasonry: A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol” by W. Kirk McNulty
Explores the origins, development, rituals, and symbolism of Freemasonry, and examines Freemasonry as part of a tradition of Western mysticism going back to the Middle Ages
“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