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He was writing at almost the same time, but on the other side of the pond.

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Woodford was one of these nineteenth-century Freemasons that through research took the Order to another level. Besides being a reverend of the Anglican Church, Woodford was an avid Masonic practitioner and researcher. The book was edited by Woodford, by the time a Past Grand Chaplain of the UGLE, and shows a view as authorial as well-supported of the topics to be defined. He wrote.

Some of us may be disposed to reject this multiplication of Rites; others may look favourably upon some, at any rate; and therefore, in a work of reference, we have to mention them, whether we approve of them or not, whether we believe in them or not. It is impossible to give all here, as it would, we think, be profitless. Some say there are rites and grades; but many of them are clearly only quasi- Masonic, and some not Masonic at all. A list of these works would be fascinating but terribly extenuating. Arturo de Hoyos.

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As in any handbook, de Hoyos had few pages to give an introductory, but deep, account of that topic. I shall go back to that in the next post.


For now, it is important to close this series on definitions of Masonic Rite. After the lexicographic definition, de Hoyos informs, among other things:. This chapter focuses on the latter application. A Rite may be compared with a staircase, which is comprised of individual steps. The steps represent individual masonic degrees, whereas the staircase as a whole is analogous to a Rite.

The degrees of a Rite will usually, although not always, have a numerical designation or fixed position on a calendar or schedule. It is possible to verify how Arturo de Hoyos condensed and sophisticated the definition of Rite to comprise all the variations of conferring Masonic degrees. However, in the same article, he points out some differences that I understand as pivotal for a narrower definition of Masonic rite.

As I also stated in the previous text that the inverted commas and the questioning itself are enough to show that I am casting doubt over an expression that is used by some researchers, and some Freemasons. However, Freemasonry is complex as any old institution, have a history, vocabulary, idioms [1] , customs of its own, and on top of that, the broadening of the Masonic phenomenon across the globe added some more terms, customs, degrees, etc.

So, a next step is trying to establish what a Masonic Rite is, mostly for the Freemasons. For this purpose, some Masonic reference works should be used. I will bring them forward in chronological order so it will be possible to follow the development of this understanding of rite for Freemasonry. Of course, this small research is far from exhaustive, being limited by works which I have instant access to and that bring some definition of rite. In his definition it is possible to see the bifold interpretation that will prevail, as a structure, to explain until today what is a Masonic rite.

In the English case, examples would be the procession, the circumambulation, the opening of the lodge, etc. Robert Macoy was one of these American phenomena when it comes to Freemasonry.

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Not only was he a prominent Mason, but also the founder of a Masonic publishing and supply company. According to Macoy, we could characterize rite as one method or form in which Freemasonry presents itself. One out of many. In its first edition, available at the webpage of the Hathi Trust hathitrust. More than cultural differences, there were dissimilarities of Masonic practices between the two authors. Although rather insignificant now, we will highlight this information again in the future. Macoy, adopts a more ecumenical stance towards Freemasonry which will characterize the American Craft South, Central, and North American until today.

We will get back to that as well. Going for conferences on Freemasonry is not just an opportunity to learn, meet researchers, establish a network, make friends, meet brethren and taking pictures in which you look very important. It is also a chance to spot where the research community on Freemasonry agrees or disagrees, which topics are getting more attention, so on and so forth.

Alas, most disagreements do not come from a theoretical or literary in the bibliographical sense concern. Often, researchers just cling onto the bits they agree on and overlook the parts they disagree on. For the sake of research to progress. And what I want to say with that? Well, I cannot highlight enough that research on History, is like any other, in the sense that: on one hand, we need to establish consensus, on the other hand, we need to challenge the ones that we think based on at least some acceptable, non-diversionist, rationale are wrong.

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  • That being said, I would like to develop with you, my dear reader, a question to which the answer will be barbarically transformed into one footnote one day. The question is: Is there an English Rite? Calm down, I am not intending to diverge from the question, or to offer a paradoxical response. But the answer, my answer, is not blunt.

    And by the inverted commas you, smart reader, can guess what it will be. So, now that we did our Sunday research, we can go home happy, there is an English Rite. But wait, if you check my previous post wink wink , you will see that we should be more cautious. I could call upon my Masonic practice, but it is always better to offer a less biased and less solipsistic way of answering it. And, spoiler alert, they are going to beat the hell out of my proposition. I heard one very interesting testimony from a colleague yesterday. He was telling me about a fellow Mason asking him about the origin of a specific tendency on Freemasonry.

    The question was rather interesting, but it was one of these cases of a simple question, with a complicated answer. One of the points which turned his questions into something more complex was that it involved tendencies, intellectual influence, the formation of culture, and other less tangible matters.


    That would be great, but this kind of straightforward statements, let alone official statements, are quite difficult to find; or just inexistent, period. Most researches are circumstantial, that means researchers besieging a big question, disguised as small questions, pulverized in several different situations, documented if you are lucky. I am not keen on explaining things etymologically… who am I kidding? I used the word circumstantial because that is the very movement of research. This last one designs a strategy in which the enemy forces are isolated until their defeat; blockades and sieges are modalities of encirclements.

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    That is why the delimitation of the research question and the researched period are so important. They help the researchers to better sharp their questions and their vision of that specific period. Most works, even — and mostly — the ground-breaking ones, are product of a dedicated, long, tedious and time-consuming research, in which someone went through several boxes, and sundry documents, to present you with a condensed, thoroughly organized, and time adjusted account of the past, in order to make sense of it.