Handbook of Freemasonry


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Freemasonry is the largest, oldest, and most influential secret society in the world. The Brill Handbook of Freemasonry is a pioneering work that brings together, for the first time, leading scholars on Freemasonry. The first section covers historical perspectives, such as the origins and early history of Freemasonry. The second deals with the relationship between Freemasonry and specific religious traditions such as the Catholic Church, Judaism, and Islam. In the third section, organisational themes, such as the use of rituals, are explored, while the fourth section deals with issues related to society and politics - women, blacks, colonialism, nationalism, and war. The fifth and final section is devoted to Freemasonry and culture, including music, literature, modern art, architecture and material culture.

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Henrik Bogdan, Ph.D. (2003), is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at University of Gothenburg. He is the author of Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation (2007), and co-editor of several works, including Occultism in a Global Perspective (2013).

Jan A.M. Snoek, Ph.D. (1987) in the Sciences of Religions, University of Leiden (The Netherlands), is attached to the Institute for the Sciences of Religions at the University of Heidelberg (Germany), and published widely about the development of masonic rituals. Among his publications are Initiating Women in Freemasonry, The Adoption Rite (Brill, 2012).

Contributors include: Marijo Ariens-Volker, José A. Ferrer Benimeli, Henrik Bogdan, Matthew Crow, James Stevens Curl, Malcolm Davies, Mark J.R. Dennis, Robert A. Gilbert, Jessica Harland-Jacobs, Kristiane Hasselmann, Arturo de Hoyos, Massimo Introvigne, Margaret Jacob, Guy Liagre, Pierre Mollier, Robert Jan van Pelt, Charles Porset, Andrew Prescott, Cecile Révauger, François Rognon, Matthew Scanlan, Jan A.M. Snoek, David Stevenson, Jeffrey Tyssens, Jean-François Var, Daniel Weinbren, and Thierry Zarconne.
"The Handbook of Freemasonry is a formidable and provocative collection of the thoughts of many of the most accomplished scholars of Freemasonry in Europe and America. Anyone involved in serious Masonic research will find it to be a valuable resource."
Shawn Eyer, FPS, Philalethes, Summer 2014

"At 669 pages, meticulously indexed, and boasting detailed bibliographies at the end of each chapter, the Handbook of Freemasonry functions as a valuable and insightful compendium of a remarkable quantity of knowledge about an often misunderstood and yet strangely ubiquitous initiatory society. Those looking for a detailed study or help in inspiring their own research on Freemasonry would do well to tackle the Handbook."
Nathan Schradle, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Nova Religio, Vol. 20, No. 2

"To sum up, the volume contributes significantly to the understanding of Freemasonry with its diverse entries and points of focus. The Handbook of Freemasonry likely qualifies as the most significant work to have been published on Freemasonry in recent years, and will be a source of great importance for years to come, both in terms of its theoretical developments and as a reliable source for consultation."

Peter Olsson, Correspondence 4 (2016).


List of Contributors

List of Illustrations

Chapter 1: Introduction
Henrik Bogdan and Jan Snoek


Chapter 2: The History of Freemasonry: An Overview
Jan Snoek and Henrik Bogdan

Chapter 3: The Old Charges
Andrew Prescott

Chapter 4: The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland
David Stevenson

Chapter 5: The Origins of Freemasonry: England
Matthew Scanlan

Chapter 6: Freemasonry and Templarism
Pierre Mollier

Chapter 7: Freemasonry and the Enlightenment
Margaret Jacob and Matthew Crow

Chapter 8: Masonic Historiography
Charles Porset


Chapter 9: Freemasonry and the Catholic Church
José A. Ferrer Benimeli

Chapter 10: Freemasonry and the Orthodox Churches
Jean-François Var

Chapter 11: Freemasonry and Protestant Churches
Guy Liagre

Chapter 12: Freemasonry and Judaism
Robert Jan van Pelt

Chapter 13: Freemasonry and Islam
Thierry Zarconne

Chapter 14: Freemasonry and Eastern Religions
Jessica Harland-Jacobs and Jan Snoek

Chapter 15: Freemasonry and Western Esotericism
Henrik Bogdan

Chapter 16: Freemasonry and New Religious Movements
Massimo Introvigne


Chapter 17: Masonic Rituals of Initiation
Jan Snoek

Chapter 18: Freemasonry and Performance
Kristiane Hasselmann

Chapter 19: Masonic Rites and Systems
Arturo De Hoyos

Chapter 20: Relationships between Grand Lodges
Jan Snoek

Chapter 21: Freemasonry and Friendly Societies
Daniel Weinbren


Chapter 22: Freemasonry and Women
Jan Snoek

Chapter 23: Freemasonry and Blacks
Cecile Révauger

Chapter 24: Freemasonry and Colonialism
Jessica Harland-Jacobs

Chapter 25: Freemasonry and Nationalism
Jeffrey Tyssens

Chapter 26: Freemasonry and War
François Rognon


Chapter 27: Freemasonry and Music
Malcolm Davies

Chapter 28: Freemasonry and Literature
R.A. Gilbert

Chapter 29: Freemasonry and Modern Art
Marijo Ariens-Volker

Chapter 30: Freemasonry and Architecture
James Stevens Curl

Chapter 31: The Material Culture of Freemasonry
Mark J.R. Dennis
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