Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

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Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

Postby AndyF » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:43 am

I've been doing some research into the history and development of masonic ritual, and have hit a snag around 1720s-1730s in France.

I'm really hoping someone can point me towards some good books or leads from which I can source reliable information.

I really like the craft/symbolic degrees of the Scottish Rite. From the different versions I've seen I've been able to compare them with what I know of masonic ritual from around that era, and take a guess at how each part came about. However, guesswork has no place in a research paper

From the list of complaints against the Moderns written by the Ancients, and from Samuel Pritchard's exposure of the Modern's workings in "Masonry Dissected" we have a fair idea of what 3 degree masonry in each system looked like in England around 1730.

The moderns had both wardens situated in the west and did not use deacons to conduct candidates. The ancients had the JW in the south and SW in the west, and made use of deacons. After Pritchard's exposure the Moderns switched the 1st and 2nd Degree secrets around.

A lot (but not all) of the Scottish Rite rituals I've seen have both wardens in the west. A lot of them have a "Grand Expert" instead of a Senior Deacon. Some have the 1st and 2nd Degree secrets switched around. I'm making the assumption that most if not all Scottish Rite rituals developed out of the moderns ritual.


However, in cases where they don't follow the moderns ritual, are we to assume that both moderns and ancients lodges popped up in france? That one saw the peculiar "Scottish Rite" practices the other was using, and merely inserted them into their own ritual?


Everything I've read so far makes a slight reference to its origins before leaping off into explaining the history of high degree freemasonry. Its incredibly frustrating that I haven't been able to find anything on the development of the symbolic degrees.

Is anyone able to help?
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Re: Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

Postby russellholland » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:08 pm

Hi Andy

It seems interesting to me that the London Masons of 1717 who formed their own grand lodge did not know about the 3rd degree but when it was known about 1727 suddenly understood that it was an ancient landmark. This suggests to me that there was an authority recognised by those London brethren.

I also note that the raising of Noah (about 1700) had no reference to lost secrets. By 1727 we have the death of Hiram and the loss of the secrets. Were the secrets were lost after 1700?

The presence of an external authority is also reflected in the announcement of the higher degrees and their initial structures as grand bodies rather than collections of time immemorial local bodies.

Was there an Invisible College sponsoring Masonry? If so, the development of the ritual may show discontinuities where the sponsor intervened.


Cheers
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Re: Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

Postby jshandalla » Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:21 am

AndyF wrote:Everything I've read so far makes a slight reference to its origins before leaping off into explaining the history of high degree freemasonry. Its incredibly frustrating that I haven't been able to find anything on the development of the symbolic degrees.

Is anyone able to help?
You're looking too far back in History for the origins of the Scottish Rite craft Degrees. Pierre Noel has shown that the Scottish Rite Craft Degrees were developed ~ 1803 and are almost directly lifted from "Three Distinct Knocks" and some French Rite thrown in.
This explains why the SR craft Degrees more faithfully follow the English Hiramic Legend as opposed to the one typically told on the continent.
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Re: Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

Postby AndyF » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:01 am

russellholland wrote:Hi Andy

It seems interesting to me that the London Masons of 1717 who formed their own grand lodge did not know about the 3rd degree but when it was known about 1727 suddenly understood that it was an ancient landmark. This suggests to me that there was an authority recognised by those London brethren.

I also note that the raising of Noah (about 1700) had no reference to lost secrets. By 1727 we have the death of Hiram and the loss of the secrets. Were the secrets were lost after 1700?

The presence of an external authority is also reflected in the announcement of the higher degrees and their initial structures as grand bodies rather than collections of time immemorial local bodies.

Was there an Invisible College sponsoring Masonry? If so, the development of the ritual may show discontinuities where the sponsor intervened.


Cheers

The Graham MS (the one which mentions the raising of Noah) does indeed reference lost secrets, hence the attempt to raise him and discover substituted ones. From what I've seen, elements of the three degrees were always there, except usually divided into two degrees. Around 1711 in Ireland we see three distinct degrees appear.

In "Masonry Dissected" in 1730 it mentions that the secrets were lost and found again. I suppose this explains why the moderns saw no need for a Royal Arch Degree.
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Re: Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

Postby AndyF » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:48 am

jshandalla wrote:
AndyF wrote:Everything I've read so far makes a slight reference to its origins before leaping off into explaining the history of high degree freemasonry. Its incredibly frustrating that I haven't been able to find anything on the development of the symbolic degrees.

Is anyone able to help?
You're looking too far back in History for the origins of the Scottish Rite craft Degrees. Pierre Noel has shown that the Scottish Rite Craft Degrees were developed ~ 1803 and are almost directly lifted from "Three Distinct Knocks" and some French Rite thrown in.
This explains why the SR craft Degrees more faithfully follow the English Hiramic Legend as opposed to the one typically told on the continent.


I guess its the development of the French Rite I need to be looking into. Just looking at what the GLNF website has to say about the French Rite, all the practices which I thought were uniquely Scottish Rite, were indeed pinched from the French Rite. Thanks for the tip.
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Re: Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

Postby russellholland » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:51 am

AndyF wrote:The Graham MS (the one which mentions the raising of Noah) does indeed reference lost secrets,


I should read it then.

AndyF wrote:
In "Masonry Dissected" in 1730 it mentions that the secrets were lost and found again.


They must have been more easily satisfied than present day brethren who still await the recovery of the genuine secrets - without the use of search parties. Or were the genuine secrets lost again in the 18th century?

I seem to recall a reference to "overly scrupulous" Irish brethren burning documents so that London brethren would not read them. Perhaps that contributed to the lack of the genuine secrets in London.

So why the move from Noah to Hiram? Who could authorise such a change?
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Re: Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

Postby jshandalla » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:37 pm

AndyF wrote:
jshandalla wrote:
AndyF wrote:Everything I've read so far makes a slight reference to its origins before leaping off into explaining the history of high degree freemasonry. Its incredibly frustrating that I haven't been able to find anything on the development of the symbolic degrees.

Is anyone able to help?
You're looking too far back in History for the origins of the Scottish Rite craft Degrees. Pierre Noel has shown that the Scottish Rite Craft Degrees were developed ~ 1803 and are almost directly lifted from "Three Distinct Knocks" and some French Rite thrown in.
This explains why the SR craft Degrees more faithfully follow the English Hiramic Legend as opposed to the one typically told on the continent.


I guess its the development of the French Rite I need to be looking into. Just looking at what the GLNF website has to say about the French Rite, all the practices which I thought were uniquely Scottish Rite, were indeed pinched from the French Rite. Thanks for the tip.

Actually, look more closely at "Three Distinct Knocks" - that was the primary basis of the SR craft Degrees.
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Re: Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

Postby Trouillogan » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:05 pm

To put a great deal of this into context, how the 3° was there all the time, how something was lost and found even before the 1720s, how the RA or something very like it was there too, you will find carefully explained for those willing to apply their own thought processes, in Cryer's Did You Know This Too? Available from all the usual Masonic sources.
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Re: Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

Postby russellholland » Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:48 pm

Trouillogan wrote:...you will find carefully explained for those willing to apply their own thought processes...


I rather like explanations that lead to new discoveries, otherwise I am concerned that the evidence is being explained away.

That leads of course to consideration of the nature of the evidence. In my experience of investigating public sector agencies, what seemed to be evidence for one theory often turned out to be evidence for quite another situation. The problem was that the observer (me) looked through a filter of beliefs and thereby missed the subtleties in the data.

So what beliefs might filter the views of Masonic brethren?
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Re: Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

Postby AndyF » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:18 am

jshandalla wrote:
AndyF wrote:
jshandalla wrote:You're looking too far back in History for the origins of the Scottish Rite craft Degrees. Pierre Noel has shown that the Scottish Rite Craft Degrees were developed ~ 1803 and are almost directly lifted from "Three Distinct Knocks" and some French Rite thrown in.
This explains why the SR craft Degrees more faithfully follow the English Hiramic Legend as opposed to the one typically told on the continent.


I guess its the development of the French Rite I need to be looking into. Just looking at what the GLNF website has to say about the French Rite, all the practices which I thought were uniquely Scottish Rite, were indeed pinched from the French Rite. Thanks for the tip.

Actually, look more closely at "Three Distinct Knocks" - that was the primary basis of the SR craft Degrees.

The things which got my attention about the SR craft degrees were those elements missing from my own (emulation style) ritual. By that I mean, the Chamber of Reflection, the bitter cup, the three journeys, trials by elements etc.

It was the introduction of these things which I was refering to in my original post. Thanks to your help, I've since learned that they first turned up in the French Rite - hence why I'll now be researching the development of the French Rite instead. Thats not to say I won't be having another look at Three Distinct Knocks with fresh eyes (47)
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Re: Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

Postby jshandalla » Sat Oct 26, 2013 5:52 am

AndyF wrote:It was the introduction of these things which I was refering to in my original post. Thanks to your help, I've since learned that they first turned up in the French Rite - hence why I'll now be researching the development of the French Rite instead. Thats not to say I won't be having another look at Three Distinct Knocks with fresh eyes (47)

The French Rite gives some of the "flavour" to the SR Craft Degrees, but Three Distinct Knocks is where the story comes from. See "The Evolution of the Hiramic Legend in England and France" by Joannes Snoek http://204.3.136.66/web/heredom-files/v ... /snoek.pdf and you'll see what I mean.
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Re: Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

Postby najatuw4646 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:21 pm

towards some good books or leads from which I can source reliable information.
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Re: Development of Scottish Rite craft degrees

Postby eckywan2 » Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:12 pm

Alternative source??

As a G l o S mason Im not able to visit the many French lodges that are not "recognised"
But have had great welcome at GO museum in Rue Cadet and GLd F nearby just in museums not attending lodge

wehy dont you try asking them about literature they could make available for your studies?
J'ai dit

eckywan edinburgh
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