Masonic Schools of Thought - MY FRATERNITY
Digest Number 1844
Posted by: njdgUSA@aol.com
Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:23 am (PST)
Here is some interesting information I recently came across:
At least eight distinct streams of Masonic thought have emerged since 1717, (and possibly more), each "school" of thought on the nature of Freemasonry having its own particular advocates. Here is an adaptation of H.L. Haywood's summary of Masonic schools of thought, The Great Teachings of Masonry, pages 155-163:
(1) The "Scientific" School, whose chief advocate, William Preston, formulated much of the modern ritual of the Craft, and whose chief objective was the employment of Masonry towards the study of the arts and sciences.
(2) The "Rational" School, whose chief advocate, Karl Friedrich Krause, believed that Masonry should work with both the Church and Government towards the perfection of the human condition through the promotion of a life governed by Reason.
(3) The "Christian" School, whose chief advocate, the Reverend George Oliver, believed that Freemasonry should exist to reconcile Christianity and Philosophy, and who strongly rejected excess intellectualism and attached high value to intuition, faith and tradition.
(4) The "Philosophical" School, whose chief advocate, Albert Pike, saw Freemasonry as an exercise in comparative religion and philosophy in the pursuit of wisdom and enlightenment, by means of the study of Masonic symbolism and the conduct of Masonic ritual.
(5) The "Historical" School, whose chief advocate, Robert Freke Gould, saw Freemasonry as a school of wisdom that only reveals itself to Masons who expend the time and effort to study the history of the Craft and its symbols.
(6) The "Esoteric" School, whose chief advocate, Arthur Edward Waite, viewed Freemasonry as a form of mystical teaching, whose objectives are Enlightenment and the perfection of the self through the study of arcane knowledge and the practice of occult rites.
(7) The "Romantic" School, with whom no one individual is associated as a chief advocate, but whose name seems a condescending label ascribed by the "Authentic" School, (see below), to those Masons who believe in the Templar origins of Freemasonry, or other historically dubious facts about the Craft.
(8) The "Authentic" School, with whom no one individual is associated as a chief advocate, but which seems to primarily view Freemasonry as an exercise in scholarship and philanthropy, and has been specifically dismissive of the "Romantic" and "Esoteric" Schools of Masonic philosophy.