Grand Lodge of Arizona Library News
Publication of December 27, 2007
Some New Acquisitions:
Marilyn Hopkins' The Enigma of the Knights Templar is a good, "coffee table" type book, profusely illustrated, on the history of the Knights Templar. In general, it's historically true, but read the parts about the Masonic connections and the old story about the treasure being whisked away to Scotland with a grain of salt. Also, there is no relation at all between Rosslyn Chapel and the Templars, and the Templars were not at the battle of Banockburn, as recent historical research has shown.
The Enigma of the Freemasons, by Tim Wallace-Murphy is another "coffee table" book with a lot of nice illustrations. It not only discusses the Masons, but the origin of early Christian spirituality. But again, the history is largely fanciful. It is, however, a good introduction to Freemasonry book for the general reader.
Two new books on Eliphas Levi are Eliphas Levi and the Kabbalah and Eliphas Levi, Master of the Cabala, the Tarot and the Secret Doctrines. Levi was only briefly a Mason, but his work is of interest to us largely due to the inclusion (uncredited!) in Pike’s Morals and Dogma.
Michael White’s The Pope and the Heretic, about Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake in 1600 for having the audacity to suggest that there might be other planets circling other stars, among other things. While having reached his conclusions logically, rather than by observations, as did Galileo, he was right, and unlike Galileo, he held to his convictions even knowing it meant a slow, agonizing death at the hands of the Holy Inquisition. Bruno is considered quite a hero, especially among Italian Masons, although not directly connected with the Masons.
Freemasonry and Its Ancient Mystic Rites is a reprint of a classic work dating to the 1920s. While we might smile at the conclusions of the author that Freemasonry is a descendent of ancient mysteries (as Pike also firmly believed) it is good in its explanation of those rites.
A recently acquired VHS set is Grand Lodge, the Ultimate Tour, a tour through the magnificent building of the United Grand Lodge of England in London.
A reprint of an early 1900s book is Una Birch’s Secret Societies: Illuminati, Freemasons, and the French Revolution with an introduction and notes by a modern editor. In spite of the title, the book only touches on the influences the Freemasons and Illuminati might have had in the French Revolution, an idea now discredited by most historians; the French Revolution was a class revolution against the French nobility, but French Freemasonry was mostly composed of the nobility and the Illuminati was a German organization that had been dissolved some years prior to the revolution and was never very widespread. However it a good history of the Revolution, if this interests you.
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