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The origins of Freemasonry

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  1. Introduction
  2. Operative masons and freemasonry
  3. Freemasons and the Knights Templar
    1. Origins of the Knights Templar
    2. Beyond the Holy Land
    3. Templars and Freemasons
  4. Metaphysical thought in Europe
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

Freemasons have been a focus of interest for centuries, partly because of their secrecy, and partly because they have been linked to esoteric and secret knowledge. One of the most common questions asked about Freemasonry is, how did it begin? It may surprise some that this question is hotly debated within Freemasonry itself. There are two traditional theories. The first is that Freemasons are a continuation of the trade guilds of medieval builders, and the second is that the Freemasons are a secret continuation of the Knights Templar from the fourteenth century. A more recent and probably more historically based theory is that Freemasonry arises out of a combination of various strains of metaphysical or occult thought that came together in seventeenth-century Europe, which could have included ideas brought to Europe by the early masons and Templars. The most likely correct answer to the question of where Freemasonry came from is ?all of the above.? It is likely that all of the influences that have been claimed by Freemasons and scholars?the mason guilds, the Knights Templar, and metaphysical thought?had an influence on the development of Freemasonry.

[...] MI: Missouri Lodge of Research Hall, Manly P. The Lost Keys of Freemasonry: Or, the Secret of Hiram Abiff. Richmond, VA: Macoy and Masonic Supply Co Hamill, John. The Craft: A History of English Freemasonry. Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire: Crucible Haywood, H. L. The Great Teachings of Masonry. New York: George H. Doran John Hamill, The Craft: A History of English Freemasonry (Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire: Crucible, 1986) Jacob, Margaret C. Living the Enlightenment: Freemasonry and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Europe. New York: Oxford University Press Knight, Christopher. The [...]


[...] The theory that the Templars influenced the formation of Freemasonry in Scotland depends on the belief that the Templars brought their information north after the Order was closed down. One link in this chain involves the Scottish family of Sinclair (formerly St.-Clair), which dates back at least to the time of the Templar escapes and was later connected to first masonry and then Freemasonry. In 1441, the Scottish king James II appointed a later Sinclair, Sir William, the Patron and Protector of Scottish Masons. [...]


[...] When Freemasonry became a speculative organization instead of a trade guild in the seventeenth century, the Sinclair family was involved and has continued to be involved in Scottish Freemasonry. There was a continuity of the Sinclair family from the time that the Templars would have arrived, to the time of the masons trade guilds, to the time of speculative Freemasonry. This has contributed to belief that the Templars were the precursors of Freemasonry and to the belief that the Templar library and treasury are or were buried at Rosslyn Chapel. [...]

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