By making the rich visual record of Freemasonry in upstate New York accessible to researchers for the first time, Godwin and Goodwillie have provided a magnificent service to all scholars. Symbols in the Wilderness is highly recommended to all serious students of Masonic culture.
One of Freemasonry's most overlooked traditions is also among its oldest: the fundamental responsibility of the Master of the Lodge to educate his fellows. This article traces that role and shows how Masonic legend and tradition reinforces the educational mandate of the station through symbolism and ceremony. The full text of Wellins Calcott's 1767 Masonic charge for installation of a lodge Master, which became absorbed into standard installation ceremonies in most English-speaking Masonic jurisdictions, is included and analyzed.
A brief account of the first Masonic song created about George Washington. The song appears to be the origin of the theme of the apotheosis of Washington. Includes the text of the song and detailed information about its author, John Park/Parke (1754–1789), who served in the Continental Army under Washington, and was a graduate of William Smith's College of Philadelphia.
An in-depth scholarly analysis of the June 24, 1734, "Dissertation upon Masonry," the oldest surviving American Masonic speech, and the third oldest in the world. Critical commentary includes intertextual relationships and an analysis of the types of esotericism mentioned in the document.
Discussion and text of "A Discourse on Good Behaviour for the Guidance of the Members of the Craft" by Martin Clare (1735), with annotations indicating verbatim and paraphrased intertextuality with the 1712 edition of Some Thoughts Concerning Education by John Locke.
Transcript of the oldest surviving private Masonic lodge instructional lecture, dated June 24, 1734, with critical notes and introduction. The text provides a clear early testimony of the conscious esotericism of Masonic practice. The notes demonstrate that the oration had at least a limited circulation in the American colonies, as it was both quoted and paraphrased by Rev. William Smith of Philadelphia in major Masonic sermons given in 1778 and 1795.
Plato’s famous allegory of the cave, written around 380 BCE, is one of the most important and influential passages of The Republic, and is considered a staple of Western literature. It vividly illustrates the concept of Idealism as it was taught in the Platonic Academy. In this dialogue, Socrates (the main speaker) explains to Plato’s brother Glaukon that we all resemble captives who are chained deep within a cavern, who do not yet realize that there is more to reality than the shadows they observe fleeting across the rock wall before them.
Delineates three distinct taxons for the meaning of the word esoteric as it applies to Freemasonry, from the nominal (the regulation of the secret work), to the conceptual (the location of secret meanings within Masonic myth and ritual), to the cultural (referring to western esotericism as a cross-traditional genre).
An earlier version of this article appeared in The Journal of the Masonic Society, 2(2008): 16–21.