Dr. Margaret Jacobs and Masonry

This last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to go to the Hollywood /West Hills Lodge in Tarzana, Ca to listen to Dr. Margaret Jacobs discuss the origins of Freemasonry. Interesting lecture, that caught me off guard in it’s content.

Essentially, what it boiled down to is that Freemasonry comes from English craft mason guilds allowing non-masons in for financial reasons, eventually being dominated by non-masons as the unions became less enforceable (economically). So as different guilds deteriorated, the masons maintained their status because of no operative (members who were not masons) dues.

Mixed well with the English revolution, and Cromwell’s ousting of the king, these free thinking groups flourished, along with the new protestant ideas, it allowed this tolerance of sorts to exist. Seeing the change in England, the king of France at this time (mid 1600’s) decided to revoke the crowns tolerance of other religions (protestants) giving them the option of converting to Catholicism, or getting out. Many converted, many left, to various points in Europe. One in particular was the Netherlands.

Having left France, many of these protestants began writing tracts denouncing the king, and his sovereign authority. Around this same time, many of these protestants became fascinated with this English Phenomenon of “Free Masonry” and began forming their own lodges with similar purposes, to share in fidelity and union with other like minded people in a “proto democratic” society. Around this time, ideas of Isaac Newton have started to merge into the “craft” lodges. Opening the idea of God, Divinity, and symbolism, merging them with the ideas of Geometry, These builder guilds, now truly were free under the idea of Freemasonry.

With Newtonian ideas of a Great Architect, and this increase demand of “everything English” these ideas began to broaden and spread across Europe and to the new world, broadening the ideas of democracy outside of the traditional lodge room, laying the groundwork for the American and later French Revolution.

Interesting lecture to say the least.


~ by Greg on August 1, 2005.

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