What is the Ahiman Rezon?

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by Blake Bowden, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    rezon-d1.jpg

    The first Masonic book published in America was printed in Philadelphia by Brother BENJAMIN FRANKLIN in 1734. It was a reprint of what is known as "Anderson's Constitutions," which was published in 1723 under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England, and entitled: "The Constitutions of the Freemasons, Containing the History, Charges, Regulations, & of that Most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity. For the use of the Lodges," and was compiled by Brother James Anderson, D.D. This reprint is now very scarce. A copy of it is in the Library of the Grand Lodge.

    The first Book of Masonic Law published by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was entitled: "Ahiman Rezon abridged and digested: as a Help to all that are or would be Free and Accepted Masons." It was prepared by the Grand Secretary, Rev. Brother William Smith, D.D., Provost of the University of Pennsylvania.

    Source: Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
  2. NY.Light.II

    NY.Light.II Registered User

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    Thanks for the informative post. On this, I've always been curious to know the source of the term "Ahiman Rezon"? Is it a foreign language? Some coded phrase? What is its definition?
     
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  3. Ressam

    Ressam Registered User

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    In Wikipedia it's written that:
    [...The title Ahiman Rezon has been often said to be of the Hebrew language and variously mean "to help a brother", "will of selected brethren", "The secrets of prepared brethren", "Royal Builders" and "Brother Secretary"...]
    Don't know is it right or wrong.
     
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  4. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    These strange words were first used Masonically by Laurence Dermott (1720- 1721) as a title of the Book of Constitutions, printed in 1756, used by the Ancient Grand Lodge in London. The Title Page of this Ancient Tome is as follows: A

    HIMAN REZON or, A Help To A Brother

    Showing the excellency of secrecy, the principles of the craft And the Benefits arising from a strict Observance thereof.

    What sort of Men ought to be initiated into the Mystery, and what sort of Masons are fit to govern lo with their Brethren in and out of the Lodge. Likewise the prayers unfed in the Jewish and Christian Lodges, the Ancient Manner of Constituting new Lodges, with all the Charges, Etc. Also the old and new Regulations. The Manner of Chufing and Installing GrandMaster and Officers, and other useful Particulars too numerous here to mention. To which is added, The Greatest Collection of Masons Songs ever presented to public view, with many entertaining Prologues and Epilogues. Together with, Solomon’s Temple and Oratorio as it was performed for the benefit of Freemasons by Brother Laurence Dermott, Sec. According to “The Builders,” at one time or another, eight American Grand Jurisdictions have used the words as a title to their Books of Law; Georgia, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Two still retain the old title; Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Georgia now has “Masonic Manual and Code;” Maryland, “Constitutions, By-Laws and Standing Orders;” New York, “Book of Constitutions;” North Carolina, “Code,” also named “Constitution and Regulations;” Tennessee, “Masonic Code;” and Virginia, the “Text Book,” commonly referred to as the “Methodical Digest.” Pennsylvania’s Ahiman Rezon contains the following: SECTION XII - HISTORICAL NOTES - AHIMAN REZON. The first Masonic book published in America was printed in Philadelphia by Brother Benjamin Franklin in 1734. It was a reprint of what is known as “Anderson’s Constitutions,” which was published in 1723 under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England, and entitled: “The Constitutions of the Freemasons. Containing the History, Charges, Regulations, &c., of the Most ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity. For the use of the Lodges,” and was compiled by Brother James Anderson, D.D. This reprint is now very scarce. A copy of it is in the Library of the Grand Lodge. The “Ahiman Rezon; A Help to a Brother,” was prepared in 1756 by Brother James Dermott, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of England According To The Old Institutions,” once called the “Ancients.” This corresponded to the Book of Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of England, once called the “Moderns.”

    The first Book of Masonic law published by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was entitled: “Ahiman Rezon abridged and digested” as a help to all that are or would be Free and Accepted Masons.” It was prepared by the Grand Secretary, Rev. Brother William Smith, D.D., Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, and was almost entirely a reprint of Dermott’s work; it was approved by the Grand Lodge November 22, 1781, published in 1783, and dedicated to Brother George Washington. It is reprinted in the introduction to the first or edited reprint of the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, 1730-1808. (See the Library, p 201.)

    On April 18, 1825, a revision of the Ahiman Rezon was adopted, being taken largely from “Anderson’s Constitutions.” Another revision was adopted June 15, 1857, which was followed by the revisions adopted June 15, 1867, December 5, 1877, December 6, 1893, December 4, 1895 and December 1, 1915. The revision of 1825 contains the following as the definition of the words Ahiman Rezon: “The Book of Constitutions is usually denominated Ahiman Rezon. The literal translation of “Ahmian” is a “Prepared Brother’,” from “Manah” to “Prepare,” and “Rezon”, “Secret;” so that “Ahiman Rezon” literally means, the secrets of a Prepared Brother. It is likewise supposed to be a corruption of “Achi man Ratzon,” the thoughts and opinions of a true and faithful Brother.”

    As the Ahiman Rezon is not a secret. but a published book, and the above definition has been omitted from subsequent revisions of the book, the words were submitted to Hebrew scholars for translation upon the assumption that they are of Hebrew origin. The words, however, are not Hebrew. Subsequent inquiry leads to the belief that they come from the Spanish, and are thus interpreted: “Ahi” (which is pronounced “Ahee”), is demonstrative and means “there,” as if pointing to a thing or place; “Man” may be considered a form of “Monta,” which means the “Account, amount, sum total,” or “Fullness;” while “Razon” (or Rezon) means “Reason, Principle,” or “Justice,” the word justice being used in the sense of law. If, therefore, we ascribe the words “Ahiman Rezon” to Spanish origin, their meaning is - “There is the full account of the law.”

    South Carolina’s Ahiman Rezon, under “Masonic Definitions,” states: “The Book of Constitution of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina is also called the Ahiman Rezon. The title is derived from three Hebrew words, “ahim,” brothers; “manah,” to appoint or select; and “ratzon,” the will or law; and it consequently literally signifies “the law of appointed or selected brothers.” It contains the rules and regulations of the Order, the details of all public ceremonies to be used on various occasions, such as consecrations, installations, funerals, etc., and is, in fact, a summary of all the fundamental principles of Freemasonry. To this book reference is made in all cases where the by-laws of the Grand Lodge are silent or not sufficiently explicit. In all public processions, the Ahiman Rezon, or Book of Constitutions, should be carried before the Grand Master by the Master of the oldest Lodge present. Considerable controversy has taken place over the meaning of the words, and many and ingenious have been the explanations offered by various students.

    Mackey, who erred so seldom that his monumental Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, albeit enlarged and revised, is still a foundation stone for most structures of Masonic lore; interpreted them to mean “the will of selected brethren.” Dr. Fredrick Dalcho, learned Masonic authority of early years, believed that a better translation of the Hebrew was “the secrets of a prepared brother.” For the benefit of those who are not familiar with the structure of Hebrew, it may be stated that many words in that ancient tongue are susceptible of many interpretations; indeed, many words in English have different meanings, according to context. “Case,” for instance, may be an action-at-law, a container, and illness or an injury. Other words pronounced alike but spelled differently have divergent meanings, as t-w-o, and t-o-o, or i-n and i-n-n. Written Hebrew is often without vowels (instance JHVH, usually written Jehovah in English) so the difference in translation of these two able Masonic scholars is not particularly strange. Later authorities, however, believe that both were mistaken and that the real meaning of Ahiman Rezon is “faithful brother Secretary,” for technical reasons which have been well set forth by noted Hebrew scholars, including Brother the Reverend Morris Rosenbaum, a quarter of a century ago, in the Transactions of Quatuor Coronati (the great research Lodge in London).

    According to the theory of the more modern translation, Dermott chose the word “Ahiman” because, as a Hebrew proper name, it was translated in the Geneva or “Breeches” Bible as “a brother of the right hand.” It is interesting to note that Young’s Concordance of the Bible (1924 revision) translates Ahiman, which occurs four times in the King James version, as meaning “brother of man.” Numbers, Joshua and Judges refer to Ahiman, a son of Anak, who dwelt in Hebron, and First Chronicles to Ahiman, a Hebrew porter in the Temple. Dermott, however, must have used the Geneva Bible; all the texts in his book, quoted in his address “To the reader,” are verbatim excerpts from this work. In that “Breeches” Bible is the familiar “Table of Names and their Interpretations familiar in many editions of the Scriptures. Here Dermott must have found this “brother of the right hand” which he evidently took to indicate brother of fidelity, a faithful brother. However incorrect this translation may be - apparently it comes from the Hebrew “ah,” brother, and “yamin,” right hand - it was the translation to which Dermott had access. In the same Bible “Rezon” in translated “a secretarie or leane.” In the dedication of his second edition of the Ahiman Rezon, Dermott wrote: I hope you will do me the honor of calling me a faithful brother.”

    Dermott had a smattering of Hebrew, but he fell into the common error of those whose knowledge runs not very deep; he lacked perspective and any feeling for the relativity of facts about the difficult tongue. Moderns find the same attitude of mind among the unschooled; an ignorant man denies that the earth is a ball, because it “looks” flat, but has no difficulty in believing in ghosts and banshees; he can “understand” how “speech travels through a telephone wire” but cannot comprehend the verity of the geological doctrine that the earth is many, many times six thousand years old. Similarly, Dermott could go to a Bible for his Hebrew words and their meanings, and not comprehend that a Hebrew scholar might make a mistake. It is curious to find the pseudo-science of numerology called upon to explain Dermott’s choice of a name for his Book of Constitutions, which was, so oddly, to persist long after its contents was superseded by more modern text. Yet the evidence is plain; one need not credit that belief which ascribes magical powers of prophecy to the numerical value of the letters in a name to see the point.

    An ancient Jewish writer chose as a title of his work, words the numerical value of the letters of which would equal or nearly approximate the numerical value of the letters of his name, thus cryptographically offering evidence that he did, indeed, have the right to claim its authorship . . .a custom at least as old as 1200 A.D. In all probability Dermott knew this; without such knowledge, it is difficult on any theories of probability to account for the fact that the numerical value of the letters in Ahiman Rezon is 372, while those in Laurence total 371. The difference of one is not actually a discrepancy, because Gematria, or numerical cryptography, regards a difference of but one as an equality, and even gives such a factor a name.

    It may well be that this old Jewish custom was set forth for Dermott by a Jew, who would naturally demonstrate it only with a given name, not a surname; this may be why Dermott chose words which cryptographically equal “Laurence” and not “Laurence Dermott.”Whatever the real meaning of Ahiman Rezon - whether it be Hebrew, properly translated “faithful brother secretary,” or “the will of selected brethren,” or “the secrets of a prepared brother,” or Spanish in origin, properly understood “There is a full account of the law” as Pennsylvania sets forth - the name for many years caught the imagination of Masons. Only lately has it fallen from its former high estate. Two old and greatly respected American Jurisdictions still find it all sufficient as the title of their official books of the law. It is to be noted, however, that but little of Laurence Dermott remains in either Pennsylvania’s or South Carolina’s volume; only the name there persists as a reminder of the Antient: influence in both these Grand Lodges.

    Source: Short Talk Bulletin - Jan. 1935

    Masonic Service Association of North America
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
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  5. NY.Light.II

    NY.Light.II Registered User

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    This was a great post. Until I saw "source:Unknown". I'm not saying that the post is false, but it can't be verified as true.
     
  6. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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  7. PennsylvaniaMason

    PennsylvaniaMason Registered User

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    As a Pennsylvania Mason, we have copies of the Ahiman Rezon at all our elected officer's stations.
    I could be mistaken (please correct me if I'm wrong), but I believe the Ancients adhere to the Ahiman Rezon, and the Moderns adhere to Anderson's Constitutions.
     
  8. NY.Light.II

    NY.Light.II Registered User

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    Are there any atients v moderns post-schism? Maybe particularly traditions associated with historical jurisdictions, but I thought the split had been healed.
     
  9. PennsylvaniaMason

    PennsylvaniaMason Registered User

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    No. When I state Ancient or Modern I'm making the association that some lodges conduct ritual under the ancient form, and some modern:

    http://www.masonic-lodge-of-education.com/af-and-am-vs-f-and-am-states.html

     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015
  10. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Great info from everyone! One of the things that I really like about this site is that it contributes greatly to my continued Masonic education!
     
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  11. Derek Harvey

    Derek Harvey Registered User

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    I saw on of these on ebay. Very old
     
  12. DaveBowman

    DaveBowman Registered User

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    Brother Bowden, in responding to the original question, "What is the Ahiman Rezon," which is the title of this particular discussion, wrote:

    "The first Masonic book published in America was printed in Philadelphia by Brother BENJAMIN FRANKLIN in 1734. It was a reprint of what is known as "Anderson's Constitutions," which was published in 1723 under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England, and entitled: 'The Constitutions of the Freemasons, Containing the History, Charges, Regulations, & of that Most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity. For the use of the Lodges', and was compiled by Brother James Anderson, D.D."

    Of course, what Brother Bowden wrote is correct. But, as it immediately follows the question, "What is the Ahiman Rezon?" it appears that Brother Bowden is suggesting that the Ahiman Rezon and Anderson's Constitutions of 1723 are one and the same. Of course, that is incorrect.

    No one asked what "the first Masonic book published in America, was, so I don't know why he began his response to the question with an entire paragraph about an entirely different book written by a different author.

    Then, in the second part of his answer, Brother Bowden quotes from a former Grand Secretary of Pennsylvania, who wrote that the first book published by that grand lodge was titled the "Ahiman Rezon," which, although true, does not answer the question, which is: "What is the Ahiman Rezon?"

    Here is the answer: The Ahiman Rezon was the 1754 Book of Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of England, According to the Old Institutions, also called the "Ancients Grand Lodge." The term also applies to any of the later editions of the book, or to one of the Books of Constitutions used by several U.S. grand lodges. The original 1754 book was the work of Laurence Dermott, Grand Secretary of the Ancients' Grand Lodge.

    PennsylvaniaMason who posted that his lodge has a copy of the Ahiman Rezon at each of the elected officers stations is referring to his own grand lodge's Book of Constitutions. This is not the Ahiman Rezon compiled and published by Laurence Dermott. In most Masonic discussions, when the topic of conversation is the Ahiman Rezon, the majority will be referring to the original work by Dermott, and not the Constitutions of one American grand lodge.

    NY.Light.II asked if there were any "Ancients vs. Moderns post-schism," as he thought the "split" had been healed. Actually there was no "schism" as such, and the myth of an 18th-century Masonic schism was laid to rest in the late 1800s by Brother Henry Sadler, Librarian of the United Grand Lodge of England. The notion that a group of Masons "broke away" from the Moderns grand lodge and formed the Ancients grand lodge across town, is simply a false and incorrect notion. We now know (and have known for over a hundred years) that the brethren who formed the Ancients grand lodge in 1751 were not former members of lodges under the Moderns grand lodge, but were members of time-immemorial lodges that had never affiliated with the Moderns grand lodge.

    In fact, the accepted practice, going back to the origins of speculative Freemasonry, is that all lodges were independent, as there was no such thing as a "grand lodge." Then, in 1717, when four London lodges decided to "hold" a grand lodge, it was not their intent to form a superior organization for the control of all lodges. It was simply their intent to hold an "assembly and feast," and that was stated clearly by Anderson in his reconstructed minutes of the first meeting, held at some point prior to 24 June 1717.

    In fact, up to that time, in England, lodges were not permanent organizations, but were occasional meetings. In England, the definition of the word "lodge," as it was used by those whose writings survive, is a meeting. Lodges were "held." Elias Ashmole wrote in his diary that on 10 March 1682, he "received a summons to appear at a lodge to be held the next day at Masons' Hall, London." Note that he wrote that "a lodge was to be held...." He didn't give the name of the lodge, because lodges didn't have names, as they were not permanent organizations. By the same token, the Masons that attended the first "assembly and feast" called that dinner a "grand lodge" simply because it was comprised of officers of several lodges. By this time, the notion of a lodge being a permanent organization was evolving.

    However, over the next several years, the idea of a grand lodge being a permanent, ongoing, controlling organization continued to grow. By 1723, when George Payne's General Regulations were approved and published, the organization was a fait accompli. By the mid-1720s, the many other Masons in London were referring to the members of those lodges under the new grand lodge as "Moderns." This derogatory appellation was due in large part to innovations introduced into their ritual of which the members of the older, traditional strain of Freemasonry did not approve.

    So, what we see is that the Ancients were those Masons who adhered to the older, more traditional type of Freemasonry that had existed from the 1600s. It was more elaborate, more philosophical, more spiritual, and the ritual more decorous. The Ancients tended to be middle-class Englishmen, Irishmen and Scots, most of whom were Tories, and among whom you would find sympathy for the old exiled House of Stuart. The Moderns, on the other hand, tended to be wealthier upper-middle class and upper-class Whigs, followers of Robert Walpole, and staunch supporters of King George and the House of Hanover. The ritual of the Moderns was substantially simplified, trimmed of its old traditional and decorous language, much less philosophical and spiritual, and what the Ancients might have called "dumbed-down."

    Today, in spite of the Union of 1813, when the two grand lodges merged, there are still "Ancients" and "Moderns" among us. The individuals who seek more esoteric enlightenment from the fraternity can be identified as "Ancients." And those who see the fraternity as little more than an alternative to the Lion's Club, the Kiwanis or Rotary, who feel that "real Masonry" consists of memorizing the ritual and doing a community service project a couple of times a year, can be identified as "Moderns."
     
  13. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Even Scottish Masonry is more modern than appeals to me.
     
  14. Tombraidergirl

    Tombraidergirl Registered User

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    Rezon the Syrian
    Rezon the Syrian was an enemy of King Solomon mentioned in 1 Kings. Some 19th century scholars equated Rezon as the throne name of King Hezion. He is known only from the Old Testament. Wikipedia
     
  15. Tombraidergirl

    Tombraidergirl Registered User

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    REZON
    re'-zon (rezon; Rhazon): Son of Eliadah, and a subject of Hadadezer, king of Zobah (1 Kings 11:23). The name appears to be given as chezyon; Hazein (1 Kings 15:18; see HEZION), where he is the father of Tabrimmon, whose son Ben-hadad I is known through his leaaue with Asa, king of Judah. When David conquered Zobah, Rezon renounced his allegiance to Hadadezer and became powerful as an independent chief, capturing Damascus and setting up as king. Along with Hadad, the noted Edomite patriot, he became a thorn in the side of Solomon, the one making himself obnoxious in the South, the other in the North, of the kingdom of Israel, both being animated with a bitter hatred of the common foe. It is said of Rezon that he "reigned over Syria" (1 Kings 11:25), and if the surmise adopted by many scholars is correct that he is the same as Hezion (1 Kings 15:18), then he was really the founder of the dynasty of Syrian kings so well known in the history of this period of Israel; and the line would run: Rezon, Tabrimmon, Ben-hadad I, and Ben-hadad II.



    If one done study maybe could date back to this TIME , and exclude this until the present day and age, during the wars and other wars In the middle as of that of BC. We could study the time when the temple of solomons time era ended to that of his son Rehoboam became king, and during that time, he failed to the armies of Egypt , within taking the temples Gold and all its treasures, so common sense pictures will give you an ideal of all the mythological and timing of history of what we call study into the unknown, secrets and treasures have played a part as the curses and blessing maybe follow those... but one needs to hit the root before one can present facts and that would be that before the Genesis Period , but we can speculate , always ask questions with a question and never question your question. .
     
  16. Tombraidergirl

    Tombraidergirl Registered User

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