Home|The Origin of Freemasonry and Knights Templar

The Origin of Freemasonry and Knights Templar

By John Richardson Bennett

The true history of Freemasonry is much in its character like the history of a nation. It has its historic and its prehistoric era. In its historic era, the institution can be regularly traced through various antecedent associations, similar in design and organization, to a comparatively remote period. Its connection with these associations can be rationally established by authentic documents and by other evidence which no historian would reject. For the prehistoric era that which connects it with the mysteries of the pagan world, and with the old priests of Eleusis, of Samothrace, or of Syria let us honestly say that we no longer treat of Freemasonry under its present organization, which we know did not exist in those days, but of a science peculiar, and peculiar only, to the Mysteries and to Freemasonry, a science which we may call Masonic symbolism, and which constituted the very heartblood of the ancient and the modern institutions, and gave to them, while presenting a dissimilarity of form, an identity of spirit. In connecting and tracing the germ of Freemasonry in those prehistoric days, although guided by no documents, and no authentic spoken or written narratives on which to rely, we find fossil thoughts embalmed in those ancient intellects precisely like the living ones which crop out in modern Masonry, and which, like the fossil shells and fishes of the old physical formations of the earth, show by their resemblance to living specimens the graduated connection of the past with the present. Every human institution is subject to great and numerous variations; the different aspects under which they appear, and the principles by which they are governed, depend on the advance of civilization, the nature of the protecting government, and the peculiar habits and opinions of the members themselves. Before learning was advanced, and when the art of printing was unknown, the discoveries in the arts and sciences must of necessity have been known to but few individuals. The pursuit of science was a secondary matter, and questions of philosophy were solely the prerogative of priestcraft. Agriculture was the grand pursuit of life.

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Ancient Mysteries 15 Egyptian Mysteries 16 Adonisian Mysteries in Syria 20 Dionysian Mysteries 21 Eleusinian Mysteries 23 Mysteries of Mithras 23 Israelites 24 Jewish History 33 King Solomon’s Temple 37 The Exploration of Jerusalem 39 The Foundation of the Temple 40 Ancient Temples 45 Division of the Hebrew Nation 46 Ancient to Modern 47 Roman Colleges of Artificers 48 Building Corporations 50 Speculative Masonry 52 Fraternity of Builders or Freemasons of Continental Europe 55 Germany 57 France 59 Italy 60 Conclusion 61 Revival 63 Degrees 63 Ritual 64 Rite 65


Entered Apprentice 71 Fellow Craft 71 Master Mason 71 CAPITULAR DEGREES 73 Mark Master 73 Past Master 73 Most Excellent Master 74 Royal Arch 74 Captivity 75 Termination of the Captivity 80


Council of Royal and Select Masters 85 Royal Master 85 Select Master 86 Super Excellent Master 86 Book Of The Law 89 Design of Freemasonry 91 Commandery 93 Knights Templar 95 Knight of the Red Cross 95 Knights Templar 96 The Cross 97 The Crescent 101 The Conflict 105 Ancient Templars 113 Defense and Fall of Acre 117 Final Dissolution 119 Knights Templar, Masonic 121 Knights of Malta 123

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John Richardson Bennett (1847-1923) was an American lawyer. In the 1871 and settled in Boston, where he practiced law. He was interested in Secret Societies as a young boy and as he matured he was drawn towards the study them. He became a Freemason in 1884 and then he compiled one of the largest study of Freemasonry and Knights Templar in his time, The Origin of Freemasonry and Knights Templar (1911).