Wednesday, May 28, 2008
"THE TRUE HISTORY OF SCOTTISH ESOTERIC MASONRY"
is the title of an article by Eric Wynants found online recently. The article interesting because of some of the admissions made by the author--admissions that Masons in other venues have tried to deny.
It's a long article that prints out at 42 pages. I will use page citations and leave the footnote citations in to give you an estimation of where in the article you can find the quote.
The article makes it clear that at the time of the birth of Freemasonry, politics in the lodges played a big part of its formation.
All the royalist plans were thrown into full gear when news arrived on the Continent of the death of Oliver Cromwell in September 1658. When the inept Richard Cromwell assumed the Protectorship, the royalists increased their overtures to Monk in Scotland. On 30 September a Cromwellian officer in Leith wrote to Thurloe that Scottish preachers were now using mystical language, while they pray for the deliverance of' the exiles and captives to be delivered from the yoke of Pharaoh and out of Egypt: "Thus they speake, but so ambiguously that they can evade, if questioned; yet see plainly that the whole people knowes their meaning." (26)(p. 9)
The use of mystical Hebraic terminology harked back to the days of the first Covenantand its underlying Masonic organization. Moreover, many Scottish masons were currently employed on the fortifications at Leith, which were directed by the Swedish architect Tessin and his commander Monk. Tessin had earlier been initiated in the Edinburgh Lodge, which was directed by John Mylne.
According to Burnet, who probably received the information from Moray or the Bruces, "Thus Cromwell had all the king's party in a net. He let them dance in it at his pleasure; and upon occasion clapt them up for a short while." (30)
"There is no department of knowledge that gives us more certainty of Christ‘s divinity than magic and cabala," wrote Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, the translator of the so called writings of "Hermes" in 1486.
The ritualized unification of the Masters Word drew on Christian Cabalistic lore, in which the unification of the letters of the Tetragrammaton was "predicated on and facilitated by some form of visualization of these letters within the imagination. (p. 11)
From the time of Charles II's oral commitments to the Jews at the Restoration, his philo-Semitic policies over the next twenty-five years fueled a secretive tradition of Jewish-Masonic collaboration that emerged dramatically in the next century. Moreover, this tradition would be strongest in the Rosicrucian degrees of Ecossais rites developed by exiled supporters of the Stuart dynasty....In the Stuart Temple of Wisdom, not only Protestants and Catholics but Jews and Moslems would be welcomed as comrades in chivalric fraternity. (p. 13-14)
In january 1663 Charles and his foreign secretary Arlington established a new precedent by allowing a naturalized Jew from Barbados, the diamond merchant Da Vega, to become a Freeman of a Company in London. (37)
Though Charles still could not count on parliamentary support, he communicated to various Portuguese Jews in April that "he was resolved to grant" permission to a large number of Marranos to immigrate to England. (38)...
The king's policy also opened the doors for renewed Hebrew studies in Scotland, where it was well-known that Lauderdale was an expert in the language. One Jew travelled to Scotland, where he instructed Patrick Gordon, who became Professor of Hebrew at King's College, Aberdeen. (40)
At St. Andrews the king donated Pound 50 for a Professor of Hebrew, while at Edinburgh a converted Jew was invited to teach Jewish language and history. (41) (p. 14)
In a manuscript entitled "The History of Masonry," written by Thomas Treloar in 1665, there is a striking merger of Scottish Masonic tradition and Hebrew royalist panegyric. An inscription on the manuscript reads: "History and Charges of Masonry, Copied by me Jon Raymond MDCCV." (46)
In the surviving fragment, there are inscriptions in Hebrew lettering which reinforce the stress of Jewish and Solomonic traditions in the restored fraternity. The text begins with the Hebrew inscription, "in the beginning God created the heaven and earth," and then recounts the story of' Hiram the architect.
The text then relates a highly Judaised version of the Old Charges, adding peculiar details and claiming Jewish sources for the discoveries of Euclid and Pythagoras. McLeod observes that in standard English texts of the Old Charges, Solomon's Temple is simply one episode of many and not the most important at that... (p. 16)
McLeod expresses puzzlement at this "remarkable I early- naming of the architect as Hiram, but Stevenson suggests that the Hiramic legend in Scottish Freemasonry was already present in William Schaw's time. Thus, "the mental lodge" or "memory temple" described in late seventeenth-century catechisms contained the grave of Hiram, "the greatest of all architects." Through certain Cabalistic and necromantic rituals, the initiate could discover and rejuvenate Hiram. The emphasis on his role as the "widow's son" pointed to Charles II's role as Henrietta Maria's son----a Stuart reference that would take on more poignant significance for Jacobite exiles in the next century. (48) (p. 16)
Sabbatai Zevi's heresy is mentioned in the manuscript:
In the year when the manuscript was written, the Jewish community in London must have worried that religious sectarians in Britain were linking their cause to Jewish millenarian developments in the Middle Last. Reports of the messianic claims of Sabbatai Zevi, a Cabalistic prophet in Smyrna, stimulated waves of enthusiasm among many Jews on the Continent....
In November 1665 Robert Boulter published in London a Sabbatian message to serve the agenda of radical dissidents, who opposed Charles II's policy of toleration. He claimed that he received a letter from Aberdeen which dcscribed the arrival on the Scottish coast of a mysterious ship, loaded with Hebrew-speaking Jews who were gathering their brethren from all over the world to return to Jerusalem. (51)
The Sabbatians boldly proclaimed on their satin sails, "THESE ARE THE TEN TRIBES OF ISRAEL," who would give liberty of' conscience to all (except the Turks). It is unclear whether Boulter believed there were actual Jews living in Scotland, or whether he hoped to insult the Scots and their Stuart king by implying that they where Jewish.
Meanwhile in Amsterdam, some Jewish admirers of Sabbatai Zevi hoped that the English king would assist them, despite the current state of war between England and Holland which had spread to the Mediterranean.
But when Sabbatal Zevi -under threat of death-apostasized to Islam, the royalists in Britain were relieved that the potentially incendiary movement fizzled out. There is little evidence that Jews in London supported the campaign, which threatened to undermine their delicate position under the king's protection. (52) (p. 17)
I'll pick up this Sabbatian link in the manuscript next time.