Origin of speculative masonry

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by jermy Bell, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

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    I was sitting at a 3rd degree awhile back, watching the second section and was wondering how the speculative came from the operative. The operative were stone workers who built temples etc. So how did the speculative come from this ? Did the stone cutters preform ritual to initiate workers or what. I've asked brothers who have been masons for 60 years this question and no one knows.
     
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  2. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    You are NOT alone in this!
    It didn't. What we have is role-playing theater based upon operative lore, lexicon and backdrops. It is not speculative in any way that patterns operative progression in a speculative form. However, rudimentary theatrical training is more in line with what we have now.
    They most likely had something in place. However, the mix of freemasonic lore and stonecraft history is so messed up that it would take some major sorting to get through the mire.
    Well, some know. They simply ain't very popular.
     
  3. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    Firstly, you're assuming the "history" we tell ourselves, and the public, is accurate. There are more than a few books and discussion threads where that is debated. If we assume it to be true, it becomes hard to willfully suspend disbelief, in my opinion. I don't see my local pipefitters union initiating journeymen using esoteric rituals.

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  4. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    If I dont remember it wrong the initations (atleast here in sweden) where more in the forms of hazings then anything else.
    Drinking toiletwater etc.
     
  5. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

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    Nooooooo, our 3rd degree ritual revolves around the building of the temple. So how do we go from that to being a speculative mason and charity, making men better etc. ? There's something missing. Ok, commercial airline pilot. They fly a 747 etc. They train to be one but flight time in etc. But someone starts a speculative airlines where you talk about flying, then add theory and start doing charity work and base the ritual on the principle of flying. And call themselves pilots.See these are 2 different things one does one thing the other is where did this come from ?
     
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  6. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    But that's the whole point! We do absolutely no speculative training, much less authentic speculation. What we do is provide theatrical training and encourage baseless and fanciful conjecture.
    Yes! Absolutely!

    Here it is: We do not practice what we preach and we do not follow the directions provided to us by ritual.
    Yup! And that's what's missing - Authentic training, speculative internship and follow though applications.
     
  7. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Lol!
     
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  8. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    Funny enough the third degree is the youngest and actully did not exist when speculative freemasonry was formed. It didnt even exist until the 1720s.
    Maybe the temple dont refer to an actual building but rather something else ;)
     
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  9. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Of what?
     
  10. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    Of the original three.
     
  11. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Ah! Thanks for that clarification. Indeed!
     
  12. Luigi Visentin

    Luigi Visentin Registered User

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    Totally agree!:)
    Without identifying the real ancient Freemasons is not possible to make assumption about if the were only operative or also speculative. The ancient manuscripts indicates at least one speculative Mason existing in the tenth century. For sure its is very hard to believe that an illiterate middleage stonecutter after a hard day of work could have the energies to dedicate time to speculative matters. Perhaps he could do it only on Sunday, that is when he was allowed to rest (but I'm not sure that this rule was valid for poor people too).
     
  13. Mike Martin

    Mike Martin Eternal Apprentice Premium Member

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    I'll tell you what I believe and you can make your own mind up. The caveat is that my belief is based on Masonic reading spanning the last 3 decades, including books by authors (Masonic and non-Masonic) who try to accredit the evolution of today's speculative Freemasonry to many different causes which are variously bizarre and/or ridiculous.

    In Britain the Reformation hit home in the 1520s and King Henry the VIII made more use of it than many other European Monarchs going so far as to curtail the power of the Roman Catholic Church completely on this island by removing the Church of England from it and declaring himself its Head in 1534. Now it may not seem obvious but the Church was a major employer building as it did Churches, Cathedrals, Monasteries and all manner of religious buildings and the Stone Masons trade was hit harder than most by these events. Now Stone Masons had, as far as we know, always been keen on holding funds to support the Widows and/or Orphans of Masons killed on the job and with the reduction in work these became harder to maintain. It is my belief that the edifice to which we belong today's origins were this innocuous and the seed was the casual admission of a non-Stone Mason in order to protect these funds (think about some of the drivers within our ceremonies). Thanks to the late Rev'd Neville Barker-Cryer we know that, currently, the earliest recorded non- Stone Mason initiated into a Lodge was in 1572 when a local Fishmonger was Initiated into the "Old Lodge at York" this had been an operative Lodge for 2 centuries by this point and continued to accept and Initiate non-Stone Masons for the rest of its existence.

    As innocuousness goes there would have been little else to report were it not for the fact that the cultural phenomenon known as the Renaissance was under way and it was changing the way people thought about their daily lives and broadened the thinking away from purely answering everything as being down to "the will of God". All manner of new expressionism was underway and it would be hard to see why this did not have an impact on how the simple Ceremonies (Halliwell Manuscript aka Regius Poem believed to date to the early 1400s) of the Stone Masonsnow being shared with non-Stone Masons were altered and "fluffed" up so that by the early 1600s with the likes of Elias Ashmole and Sir Robert Moray and their ilk that the ceremonies were considered to be esoteric. We also know this from the writings of outsiders such as the “pot-shot” at the “Accepted Masons” and their esoteric concerns in “Poor Robin’s Intelligence”, Author unknown, on 10th October 1676 and Dr Robert Plot in his 1685 book " The Natural History of Staffordshire" where he is pretty derogatory about "the Free Masons and their Word" that some were already talking about the "secret" nature of Masonic ceremonials. It is a very short fast forward from 1685 to the goings on of 1717 and the next upfluff of the Ceremonies.
     
  14. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Your hypothesis sounds as reasonable as any other that I have heard.
     
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  15. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

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    It really makes sense , it doesn't include a bunch of nonsense information. Like other threads I've read on the subject.
     
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