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The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland's Century, 1590-1710 [Anglais] [Broché]

David Stevenson
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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Description de l'ouvrage

20 septembre 1990
This is a classic account of the origins of freemasonry, a brotherhood of men bound together by secret initiatives, secret rituals and secret modes of identification with ideals of fraternity, equality, toleration and reason. Beginning in Britain, freemasonry swept across Europe in the mid-eighteenth century in astonishing fashion yet its origins are still hotly debated today. The prevailing assumption has been that it emerged in England around 1700, but David Stevenson demonstrates that the real origins of modern freemasonry lie in Scotland around 1600, when the system of lodges was created by stonemasons with rituals and secrets blending medieval mythology with Renaissance and seventeenth-century history. This fascinating work of historical detection will be essential reading for anyone interested in Renaissance and seventeenth-century history, for freemasons themselves, and for those readers captivated by the secret societies at the heart of the bestselling Da Vinci Code.

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

' … a work of creative scholarship flavoured by exceptional candour and gusto … makes an important contribution to the movement among historians which is rescuing pre-Union Scotland from its reputation for near-savage backwardness and showing how deep were the roots of Enlightenment in the country's culture.' London Review of Books

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 260 pages
  • Editeur : Cambridge University Press; Édition : Reprint (20 septembre 1990)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0521396549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521396547
  • Dimensions du produit: 22,9 x 15,2 x 1,5 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 156.559 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
  • Table des matières complète
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Dans ce livre (En savoir plus)
Première phrase
The evidence relating to the emergence of modern freemasonry is complex, confusing, and often fragmentary. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent livre 20 décembre 2013
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Un des meilleurs livres que je connaisse sur les origines écossaises de la Franc-Maçonnerie, écrit par un professeur d'université, historien spécialiste de l'histoire écossaise. Ce livre intéressera également les passionnées de l'histoire d'Ecosse.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.8 étoiles sur 5  17 commentaires
121 internautes sur 121 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 At Last! Some Factual Pre-1717 Masonic History! 30 mai 2000
Par Bernhard W. Hoff - Publié sur
The question of Freemasonry's origins and history prior to the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717 is such a morass of speculation, supposition, and wishful thinking that professional historians - Stevenson included - feel the need to justify their researches in this subject lest they be tainted by its disrepute among their fellows. Against such a background this book really stands out. Stevenson bases his research on actual records of almost a hundred Scottish Masonic lodges that date from the 1600's, along with municipal records, other guilds' records, diaries, and royal statutes.
What emerges from this mass of information is a compelling story of the origin of Scottish Lodges as trade associations established by royal decree in the late 1590's and their development by 1710 into mutual benefit and social societies involving a broader range of members. Stevenson's most important finding, established early in the book, is that both before and after the establishment of the Lodges, masons were also members of municipally chartered, or incorporated, building trades guilds along with carpenters, wrights, and the detested cowans or unskilled laborers. The Lodges, in essence, were parallel and competing organizations with the municipal "Incorporations", of which the masons were also members. Stevenson illustrates the power struggles between the Lodges and the "Incorporations", as well as the search for influence on the part of various noble patrons. Along the way we get a good look at the frequently theorized, but never well documented transition from operative to speculative membership (it did not happen the way you might think!). Stevenson covers such topics as initiation practices (both Masonic and other), the "Mason Word", the number and names of the degrees, the development of the Master Mason degree, and the frequency, content, and location of meetings. There is an interesting and illustrative biography of an early gentleman Freemason, Robert de Moray. Stevenson also proposes a curious and rarely considered source for much of the ritual and symbolism. Many Freemasons will probably enjoy comparing the ritual as worked in their jurisdictions with the Scottish material from the late 1600's that Stevenson discloses.
All is not lost, however, for those who prefer to see Masonic origins in ancient Egypt, the Knights Templar, the Commacine Masters, or other more romantic sources. Stevenson does not claim to have the whole story of Masonic origins. He wonders himself why William Schaw, the Director of Works under King James I, wanted to "re-establish" Lodges of stonemasons (complete with esoteric practices) in competition with the existing building guilds. Stevenson freely admits that the oldest evidence of Freemasonry, those fascinating documents called the "Old Charges", are English in origin. The only claim he makes on behalf of Scotland is that it was there and in that century that whatever Freemasonry was in 1590 took root and developed into the fraternity that we might recognize as Freemasonry today. Hence the title "The Origins of Freemasonry - Scotland's Century". Stevenson has firmly nailed down this corner of the puzzle of Masonic history. All future authors on the subject must insure that their theories fit his facts. I highly recommend this book to all Freemasons and anyone interested in their history. Too bad I cannot award six stars...
56 internautes sur 58 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Solid, sober, sensible history using real primary sources. 20 septembre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
This book is the only work on the origins of Freemasonry I have ever seen that ignores the movement's vast myth-making literature and focuses instead on the surviving records of the earliest known masonic lodges. Stevenson--who teaches history at the University of St. Andrews--paints a solid, sober, believable portrait of Freemasonry's rather prosaic origins in the operative masonic lodges of early 17th-century Scotland.
His study is a welcome and refreshing antidote to all the junk that has been written about Freemasonry in the past three centuries. It explodes Masonic authors' extravagant claims for an origin in ancient civilizations and possession of powerful supernatural secrets. It also undermines anti-Masonic authors' equally bizarre accusations of pacts with supernatural forces of evil. It replaces these fanciful images with the story of a remarkable human institution whose recent, humble, workaday origins are far more interesting than its myths.
If you only read one book about Freemasonry in your lifetime, this is the book to read.
39 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An historic perspective (by a non-mason) 10 mars 2002
Par Pohl Michael - Publié sur
Prof. Stevenson, a non-mason, has stumbled upon freemasonry while specialising in the history of the Scottish covenanters. He adds academic structure and his formidable historic knowledge to the unwritten part of Scottish masonry, - an oral tradition of memorized texts and a rich variety of lodge rituals, -way before George I's (a Hanoverian who spoke no English) attempt in 1717 to create a system of control by establishing the Grand Lodge of England. Mr. Stevenson may be forgiven for not understanding masonic imagery, however he has given us a well presented insight into Scottish masonry. His impressive work sets new standards in masonic history, based on verifiable and reproducable evidence rather than on wishful thinking. A highly recommendable book.
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent factual history !!! 28 septembre 1998
Par Un client - Publié sur
This book is the real deal. Stevenson looks for and reports his work regarding the history of Fremasonry. Very scholarly and very interesting. I would like to spend time with this author as this book is very thought provoking. I agree with Stevenson, his work has made me appriciate Masonry all the more. Well done.
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "Q. What makes a true and perfect lodge?" 16 mai 2008
Par Crazy Fox - Publié sur
There are about as many explanations of Freemasonry's origins as there are explainers. From Freemasonry's own dramatic and fascinating legends to paranoid conspiracy theories, along with overly fanciful New Age yarns, unsupported armchair guesswork, bestselling thrillers, and careful historical investigations. This book is an exemplary model of the latter. David Stevenson has brought his scholarly acumen and disciplined historical expertise to bear on a much muddled subject, arriving at conclusions as plausible and modest as they are interesting and original--not to mention refreshingly clear.

The first seventy pages or so are extremely dry, and after a while started to wear on my patience. My advice: bear with Stevenson as he lays out the facts here, grounding Freemasonry's murky prehistory firmly in the socioeconomic facts of Medieval Scotland. From this he can demonstrate convincingly how Renaissance elements of Hermeticism, Neo-Platonism, the Art of Memory, and Vitruvian valorizations of architecture came to inform the self-characterizations and common practices of these prior craft guilds, gradually transforming the latter in the process. He sticks closely to previously unconsidered primary sources of the time in question rather than later reconstructions so as to uncover the unfolding of this complicated process, mining fragmentary manuscripts, local records, and other such often overlooked sources tucked away in the shadowy corners of old archives for what they have to tell us--cautiously and painstakingly distinguishing certain fact from plausible but ultimately unverified speculation based on those facts as he goes along. In the bargain he makes a strong case for his rather original thesis that much of early Freemasonry as we know it today developed in Scotland and only then spread to England (and from there to the rest of the world), substantially altering our picture of this intriguingly complex process thereby.

And it's rather amusing to think that it all started with a stray reference the author came across in the midst of pretty much unrelated historical research, one he decided to follow up on for the heck of it and maybe write a little article--an article that grew into two whole books, this one and the more locally detailed The First Freemasons: Scotlands Early Lodges and Their Members. Stevenson's extensive consideration of the Scottish proto-Freemason Robert Moray--crucial in accounting for the evolution of Freemasonry's symbolism, social values, and ethical orientation--has apparently also blossomed recently into his editing of Letters of Sir Robert Moray to the Earl of Kincardine, 1657-73. So what started out as a lark has grown into a sustained scholarly pursuit, of which "The Origins of Freemasonry" here is a key work and perhaps the most accessible for the generalist. Indeed, if you are looking for a sober, reliable book on this topic, this one fits the bill nicely.
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