Question about strange claim

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by BryanMaloney, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    “Geometry is taught in colleges now,†Lettelier says. “But 200 years ago, geometry was only taught in Masonic Lodges. During the Renaissance, men of social class joined their local Masonic Lodges so that they could learn these things.†(from http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/decoding-secret-societies/).

    Is this a mis-quote? Anyone can easily prove that geometry was taught in colleges 200 years ago, 300 years ago, possibly back to the original foundation of "colleges" in the Middle Ages. I do hope this is a mis-quote of Mr. Lettelier. If so, it shows how tricky communication with others can be. This is such a patently absurd claim that attributing it to a Mason within the context of discussing Freemasonry can make everyone look silly.
     
  2. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    Well from what I've read and understand, in the 15 and 1600s architecture was only taught in operative Masonic lodges, under the apprenticeship of a master mason (literally) . Sir christopher wren was one of the last operative masons, which we all know he was the architect of St. Paul's cathedral.
     
  3. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    And also from what I've gathered, the sciences of architecture and everything down those lines were seen as sacred and came directly from the GAOTU, which only those that have proven themselves, were worthy to know this knowledge.
     
  4. barryguitar

    barryguitar Registered User

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    I too think that may be an accurate statement. There is no evidence that Geometry was known outside of the building trades before the enlightenment. Even in colonial America it was the Masons who knew how to "mark and ley the land" and acted as surveyors. It was Issac Newton (who may or not have been a Mason) who elevated mathematics with his writing on Algebra. Arabic numerals did not even come into Europe until the crusades and were brought most assuredly by the cathedral builder monks.
     
  5. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    As a history teacher, I believe Mr. Lettelier to be mostly wrong.

    Almost all colleges before the Enlightenment focused on training clergy. No one would have needed to study a working, practical knowledge of geometry except the few craftsmen who actually needed it.

    The overwhelming majority of learned individuals, up until the Enlightenment, were classically trained in what was called the Trivium and Quadrivium. The first of the 7 Liberal Arts was called the Trivium and was basically underclassmen. These classes prepared you for the latter Quadrivium which encompassed the latter of the 7 Liberal Arts. And while geometry would have been covered in the Quadrivium, the main focus of this education was to become a well-rounded intellectual with the mental capacity to be a lawyer, physician, clergy or bureaucrat; most ending up as clergy.

    The geometry covered in these classes would have been very simple and would purposely be used to teach the student about the Nature and Grace of God. Working knowledge of masonry and engineering would have propagated through the guilds, which guarded these secretly aggressively. So aggressive that they would often get patronage from nobility to protect their craft in a court should anyone try to practice it without the guild's consent.

    Now, this being said, some schools did study a good bit of higher geometry. Thomas Bradwardine of Oxford in the 1300's was doing calculations on velocity and such and would have required a very deep working knowledge of geometry to do so.

    I would venture to say that Mr. Lettelier would have been more correct to say, "But 200 years ago, practical geometry was also taught in Masonic Lodges. During the Renaissance, men not interested in getting a complete education, men interested in becoming speculative masons, or men of middle social class joined their local Masonic Lodges so that they could learn these things."

    https://www.dpmms.cam.ac.uk/~piers/F-I-G_opening_ppr.pdf
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_of_the_12th_century#Science
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_Calculators
     
  6. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    That's a great bit of history thx brother
     

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