1. Giuseppe Giarrizzo’s Freemasonry and Enlightenment in C18 Europe

0 Polymath translator’s foreword

The adventure of translating in English the important study realised by Giuseppe Giarrizzo was inspired by a video where sociological researcher Davide Consonni was illustrating the connections between Enlightenment and Revolution in France. I was impressed by the intricacy. Therefore, I decided to embark upon presenting Giarrizzo’s inquiry to the anglophone readership.

I have always enthusiastically approved the idea of a polymathic approach to translation. Polymathic translation means that the translator is not a mere actor in getting a text’s language into another. Polymacy in translation is the active, amorously thoughtful presence of the operator, which signifies a profound involvement necessarily consisting somehow in going through that which the original author has presumably gone through in the process of realising his work. Of course, the polymathic translator’s engagement may be interpreted as not matching the original author’s. This may well be the case. However, the process experienced by the polymathic translator must be to a certain extent debilitating and illuminating. Too often is the translating action a mere linguistic version, where the distance is so patent that errors and discrepancies may come as annoying and disappointing to the reader. A polymath translator is, thus, a passionate ‘vertor’, who wishes to act with care as if he were the one who created the base piece in the first place.

I have handled the notes as follows:

  • The second bracketed [number] accompanying the footnote’s bracketed number corresponds to the footnote’s number in the original text.
  • The footnotes with one bracketed number are mine. I have decided to create my own notes in consequence of my frequent need for focussing on sources by citing them precisely, for reporting text from the sources more straightforwardly than Giarrizzo did, and adding other heterogeneous clarifications for a smoother understanding of the exposition whenever deemed fit.
  • When I felt that the original note could well be totally integrated into an original note, the indication [Giarrizzo n. ___ elab] is used, meaning that the note concerned is an elaboration of the note as numbered (___) in the original work.

Bracketed [text] is mine except when it can be intuitively recognised as functionally specific to the text in which the brackets are found.

Any boldface style use is mine.

1 Prologue in the XVII century

10 And the disciples came and said unto Him, “Why speakest Thou unto them in parables?”
11 He answered and said unto them, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given.
Matthew 13, 10–11

1.1 Scottish origins

The history of freemasonry (Fr. franc-maçonnerie, Germ. Freimaurerei) in XVII and XVIII centuries constitutes one of the most complicated and intriguing in the socio-cultural evolution of the continent. And yet, for reasons investigated only in part and that I intend to examine elsewhere, the abundance of sources and of literature did not suffice to give us a convincing picture that might be helpful in deciphering that history in the ‘general history’ of modern Europe. At times, not without error and embarrassment, personal vicissitudes or reconstructions of conspiracies bring to the surface — more like wreck remnants than like domes of submerged ice mountains — the signs of a masonic presence, of adherences to sects, of initiatory rules, not clearly defined in the extent nor in the objective. Investigations of late occurrence, which notably in the case of France have addressed masonic aggregation sometimes as invention, some other times as actualisation of ‘models of sociability’, have homogeneised social, cultural, ideological, and even institutional differences that would characterise a specific chapter of history, and that essentially make a history such. The proprium of history is indeed that which makes the history it characterises account for myths and legends, thus never letting it identify with nor being consumed by them. Besides, the proprium of history is that which reconstructs myths and legends as part, now large now small, of complex and known sociocultural processes. Importantly, the proprium of history is such that the preservation of the denomination freemasonry or the alleged reestablishment of the institution or its orthodox apology do not necessarily prove freemasonry along with its own dogmatic heritage to be atemporal or somehow extraneous to temporal contextualisation. In actual fact, the freemasonry was a canopy beneath which there appeared variegated manifestations, divers obediences and allegiances. And the orthodoxies themselves, always connected with debates over its historic origins (biblical or postbiblical, divine or human) of the the institution, have been parts of specific conflicts, which apart from their being directly or indirectly correlated, have however always been substantially and semantically relatable to a historically clear factuality fully liable to reconstruction and interpretation.

The term freemasonry, so much as the hierarchy of the degrees (Apprentice, Journeyman or Fellow [of] Craft, and Master) and the ‘insignia’ (masonic apron, trowel, set square, compass, plumb bob, etc.), as well as the denomination of the gathering place and of the meeting itself (lodge), all evoke stone and brickwork, corporations of masons and smiths, whose legend has been appropriated, elaborated, and expanded by the freemasons in order to cement its stature and adapt it to the cultural ennoblement workings out of which the masonic institution derives. Therefore, it should not surprise — while the contrary should — that the ‘founders’ of freemasonry, by embracing via its own name (freemasonry) the legend of the mason (construction) art, claimed for their own institution — which evolved in Scotland out of an internal development of the art — the dignity and antiquity of it through a late-Renaissance process that solidifies praestantia and antiquitas, and that characterises the end of the XVI century.

At the beginning of the story we need to identify [1] two personages of Scotland, long renowned and studied separately. In a search of origins, these two personages are however contemplated in a significant correlation: William Schaw (ca 1550–1602), Master of Works to the Crown of Scotland in Edinburgh since 1583; and Alexander Dicson (1558–1604), author of Thamus (Leiden, 1597), a magical art of memory taken from the writings by Giordano Bruno, of whom Dicson was a disciple.

The earliest depiction of Giordano Bruno (1548–1600) in an engraving published in Germany in 1715.

Schaw is associated with the new ‘statutes and ordinances’ of 1598, which systematise the stonemason art in Scotland, and that all the mason masters of the kingdom shall respect. On the other hand, Dicson is associated with the techniques of the art of memory, into which the brothers of the ancient corporation were initiated.

The Scottish mason corporation had had its own lore for centuries. The relevant oldest documentation (so-called Old Charges, already in XIV century English manuscripts) is found in English files, not Scottish, perhaps showing a faster development of the mason art in England, indeed of the freemasonry as against the mason corporation. By the end of the XVI century, the lore of the Scottish mason corporation had already reached a high degree of elaboration. Identified with geometry, the ‘massonrie’ becomes one of the seven artes liberales, together with grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, music, and astronomy. Founder of geometry had been Jabal, who ‘was the father of those who dwell in tents, and of those who have cattle’ [2], Lamech’s firstborn, and Noah’s brother [3]. Lamech’s sons, fearing god’s ire for their sins, engraved on stone pillars the major discoveries and inventions that could survive fire and deluge. One of these pillars will be found out, after the Deluge, by Hermes Trismegistus, or the Thrice Great [4], Noah’s pronephew, who was thus able to teach the sciences to men. And the mason science, indeed masonry or geometry, could prove its strength through the construction of the Tower of Babel; and a mason was Nimrod, the king of Babel, who gave the masons the statutes upon sending them to work for his cousin, king of Niniveh. The Dumfries №4 Manuscript states that, upon sending them to Niniveh, Nimrod

taught them signs & tokens so that they could distinguish one another from all the rest of mankind on the earth. [5]

After Abraham and Sarah fled to Egypt, the patriarch would have to teach the Egyptians the seven liberal arts, the most talented of them being Euclid, ‘Master of all the seven Sciences’ [6].

Bramante as Euclid or Archimedes in the School of Athens.

The Powers (‘a parliament’ [7]) of Egypt gather to deal with the problem of an excessive population growth. But no solution can be found. Therefore, the king issues a contest of ideas. Euclid, ‘worthy clark’ [8], shows up, and offers his competence to teach the sons of Egypt a science that will allow them to live as gentlemen. And he will have a commission under the seal to teach practical geometry ‘to work in all maner of worthy work in stone temple churches cloysters cities castles pirimides towers & all other worthy buildings of stone’ [9], and to give them more extensive statutes than Nimrod’s. From now onwards masons will call themselves fellows, and never will any derogatory name be tolerated. The masons shall work honestly, pick the wisest among them as master builder, and they shall gather once a year to regulate the art and amend the errors.

In this way, through knowledge of Geometry, / The Craft of masonry began; / The scholar Euclid founded, in this way, / The Craft of Geometry in Egypt. [10], [11], [12]

The scene is now back in the Holy Land. Here it is David that protects the masons and gives them Euclid’s statutes. He begins the construction of the Temple of Jerusalem, which his son Solomon [13] shall complete. The masons of the Temple will spread the masonry art [14]: 80000 masons, of which 300 inspectors. Hiram [15] is among them, and with David

master mason of all the buildings & builders of the Temple and master of all graven & carvered works in & about the temple as it is wryten on the first of the kings in the 6 chapter and 7 chaptere. [16]

So this host of masons shall spread the art of masonry: which, in France, shall be guarded by Charles Martel, and in England, where the Statutes shall be brought by Saint Alban who obtains a paper to this purpose from the English monarch.

Stained glass in St Albans Cathedral showing the death of Saint Alban

But the art of masonry is shaken by the internal commotions of the land, until King Athelstan does not intervene to restore it. Afterwards, Edwin, Athelstan’s son, shall be the new guardian, who himself will be a mason.

[H]e bequethed the whole master of the freternity with squares of gold & compasses of silver tipt with gold & perpedicular plums to be pure gold their trewals of silver with all their other Instruments. [17]

For the masons Edwin will obtain from his father Athelstan a paper that will authorise an annual assembly. He himself gathers, in England and abroad, all the news about the masonry, and uses it to write down, in York, the statutes that carry his name, and that are to be read to each new adherent. A mason shall not take a job away from another brother; he shall remunerate his brothers their due, never less. He shall choose the rights persons as apprentices; he shall guard the secrets of the profession learnt in the lodge, and respect the elder. He is also obligated to participate in the annual meeting that will be held within fifty miles from his dwelling or workplace, and he must abide by its deliberations. [18]

Bits of this legend, developed — by procedures resembling those related to other craft guilds — so as to ascribe dignity and antiquity to the masonry art, and to extol their statutes, emerge in the admission rites — almost always it is the liturgical practice that creates, completes, amend the myth — and notably in the rite for the passage from one degree to another, from Apprentice to Journeyman, and to Master. The original statutes are accompanied by a rich mythical elaboration of the motives: morality and fraternal respect, coidentification of geometry and masonry, the Egyptian model, the Temple of Solomon, the masonry art as ars regia. These motives would have been contemplated by the freemasonry since its inception in the late XVI century. However, the legend is not sufficient to account for the masons’ fraternity, structured in lodges,, characterised by an initiation modus operandi, the secret signs of identification, the hidden rites, and the relevant symbolic manipulation. If the European freemasonry originated in Scotland from the stonemasonry art, this occurred not in consequence of a schism — favoured by the expansion of the corpus of legends — of a speculative masonry of masonic brothers from the masonry art of the stonemasons. The European freemasonry was generated as such by magical-hermetic themes, which were introduced into the lodges by the Renaissance culture, thus starting and establishing ceremonial operations that institutionalised the elaboration and amplification of the legend of the masons’ guild.

In XV century Scotland, the lodge is a shelter, a place of rest and residence of guild masons who, far from or near their home town, work at specific sites, for the erection of a castle or a church, or of a largesized structure. The configuration of the lodge — with multiprofessional members, or members belonging to more than one guild — and its function seem to be the base of those annual assemblies, which were a prescription in the ancient statutes. It is a fact that in Scotland the official constitution of stonemasons’ associations appeared later than that of other crafts; however, the masons’ guild grows rapidly relatively to the demographic and urban development as well as to the unprecented increase of public construction under James VI. Thus, in 1590 the King of Scotland confers on Patrick Copland of Udoch the ‘office of wardenry over the craft of masons’ [19]. In 1598, W. Schaw, acting as Master of works and general Warden of the craft, issued ‘The statutes and ordinances to be observed by all the master masons within this realm’.

The lodge is now recognised as the congregation of the masons and as the competent authority: it is possible to accede to the statutary privileges by cooptation after a long apprenticeship of fourteen years, and those who do not recognise the authority of the lodge and its officials are not allowed to be privileged. There are now the shire assemblies, and a general warden designated by the lodge wardens, who are elected each year by the master masons of the lodges, the masters or fellows of craft. However, the relation between the ancient masons’ guild and the new lodge model is unclear, although the latter seems to be less linked to the urban power that the new lodges would like to stay away from: this idea is suggested by the bond with the territory, and the existence of a general warden.

Does Schaw’s initiative conceal a political design? We are not sure, although the stature and complexity of the personage would lead to such a hypothesis. In the 1580s and 1590s, the Catholic praefectus architecturae in a Calvinistic country has a function at the Court, where he stands high in James VI’s favour; and on the monarch’s behalf he relates to English and continental Catholics. Schaw’s journeys to France in 1584–85 and to Denmark in 1589–90 should be deemed of note. Detached from the local administration, and devoted to confer urban identity on areas both old and new by means of the royal construction seal, the lodges, on the one hand produce, electively, their own superintendents; on the other, they are supervised by a general warden who is the king’s prime architect. Therefore, the lodges are centres of power, committed to have their gateways under control, thus being prone to secret their professions and enrich them with occult symbolism in order to exalt and protect them. For accession is not the key to the secrets of the craft; initiation is. Learning is subject to preparation/purification of the initiand; and the exertion of the masons’ art, reserved for the initiates, coincides with the power of manipulating nature, which is the power identifying architecture/geometry with creation and the end of chaos. God is the architect of the Universe.

May we thus say that the masonic lodges, organised as per the 1598 Statutes, are politico-religious structures, radicated into the territory, and unified by means of a network and national authorities? The issue of the new Statutes (Holyroodhouse, 28 December 1599) would suggest so. [20] These Statutes are destined for the lodge of Kilwinning, recognised as ‘the second lodge’ of Scotland, whose warden can command the whole of western Scotland. The third lodge is Sterling. The three lodges — Edinburgh, Kilwinning, and Sterling — are called on

to test the qualification of all the Masons within the aforesaid boundaries of their art, craft, Science and ancient memory; so that the warden and deacon may be answerable hereafter for such persons as are responsible to them within his boundaries and jurisdiction. [21]
Authority is given to the warden and deacon of Kilwinning as the second lodge, to exclude and expel from the society and company all persons who are disobedient either to church, craft, council and other statutes and acts to be made hereafter for good order. [22]
It is ordered by my Lord General that the entire old ancient acts and statutes previously made by the predecessors of the masons of Kilwinning shall be observed faithfully and kept by the Craft in all times to come, and that no apprentice or craftsman, in any time hereafter, be admitted or entered, except within the church of Kilwinning, as his parish and second lodge, and that all banquets for entry of apprentices of fellows of craft be made within the said lodge of Kilwinning.[23]
It is ordered that all fellows of craft at his entry pay to the common books of the lodge the sum of ten pounds of money, with ten shillings worth of gloves before he is admitted, and that shall include the expense for the banquet, and he shall not be admitted without a sufficient test and proof of memory and art of craft by the warden, deacon and quarter masters of the lodge, under the supervision of the former and answerable to the General Warden. [24]
It is ordered that the warden and deacons of the second lodge of Scotland, Kilwinning, shall take the oath, fidelity and truth of all masters and fellows of craft within the entire boundaries committed to their charge, yearly, that they shall not keep company with cowans or work with them, nor any of their servants or apprentices, under the penalty contained in the former acts, and paying thereof. [25]

The statutes — whether they legitimise the existent or impose the reformation of the masons’ lodges — convey a novelty: the lodge is not only the place of reunion of the masons (apprentices and fellows of craft); it is also, and notably, a place of initiation, in which the member can learn the art and science of memory. The essence of this art and science — no longer a part of rhetoric but a cabalistic-hermetic technique — had publicised the 1584 debate between the Brunian Dicson and the Ramist William Perkins. [26]

French humanist and logician Petrus Ramus (1515–1572)

The Puritan theologian from Cambridge had denounced as impious the artificial memory of the Scottish master: for nostalgically resorting to the zodiac signs, for the impulse assigned to the passions through shadows, and because the soul — blind in that nothing it knows of good or evil — comes from images in the direction of absurd and unusual thoughts suggesting carnal affections. The accusation was not unfounded from the Puritan standpoint, which ascribes importance to the repression of passions and to the casuistic control of them; as, also, in his De umbra rationis (1583) Dicson had resumed the arguments that Bruno propounds in his De umbris idearum (1582), especially in the dialogues that expound the mnestic art proper. The discussion involved Mercury, Thamus, Theuth, and Socrates.

Starting point was a famous passage [274c–275b] of Plato’s Phaedrus. Socrates says:

At the Egyptian city of Naucratis, there was a famous old god, whose name was Theuth; the bird which is called the Ibis is sacred to him, and he was the inventor of many arts, such as arithmetic and calculation and geometry and astronomy and draughts and dice, but his great discovery was the use of letters. Now in those days the god Thamus was the king of the whole country of Egypt; and he dwelt in that great city of Upper Egypt which the Hellenes call Egyptian Thebes, and the god himself is called by them Ammon. To him came Theuth and showed his inventions, desiring that the other Egyptians might be allowed to have the benefit of them; he enumerated them, and Thamus enquired about their several uses, and praised some of them and censured others, as he approved or disapproved of them. It would take a long time to repeat all that Thamus said to Theuth in praise or blame of the various arts. But when they came to letters, This, said Theuth, will make the Egyptians wiser and give them better memories; it is a specific both for the memory and for the wit. Thamus replied: O most ingenious Theuth, the parent or inventor of an art is not always the best judge of the utility or inutility of his own inventions to the users of them. And in this instance, you who are the father of letters, from a paternal love of your own children have been led to attribute to them a quality which they cannot have; for this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality. [27]

In Dicson’s dialogues, Hermes says that he sees beasts as Thamus says he sees men. If man is mind, men that stay immerse in matter are beasts (vindices materiae) Thamus then attacks Theuth (Theutates), greater beast than any other, for after his invention men no longer write in their minds, thus consigning the true art of memory to oblivion; men resort to external signs, the letters, and have come to be superficial and pugnacious. Socrates’ apology of the deity will end up exasperating Thamus: the Greek ‘Ramus’ has cancelled all truth criteria and made men into malicious boys; who know nothing of God, nor seek signs and shades of it in the mundane factory, of which God is the architect. Because men do not perceive that which is fine and good for the soul, they cannot grasp it in their being enslaved to the passions of the body. Pride is useless if the mens is absent and men are not dipped in the crater of regeneration. On the one side stand Hermes and Thamus, who are faced on the other by Theuth and Socrates. The distinction/contraposition between Hermes and Theuth is liable to be construed as the one between inward writing and outward writing, artificial memory and passive reminiscence. Differently, Ramus and Perkins contend that Bruno’s and Dicson’s art of memory — as science and technique — is a sort of gnosis, and an initiatory technique as well as the object of initiation. This is the theme of Dicson’s Thamus (1597) [28], hermetic legacy to masonry, which qualifies as the secret object of initiation (to craft and power), which shall never be writ on stone, or paper, or sand. Guarded and transmitted via memory, a memory that activates the mind and does not enslave it to reminiscence (recollection).

The art and science of memory has brought into the lodges of the masons of Scotland the hermetic-cabbalistic dimension. Which never left it. The masters enter the secrets of the factory of the world by observing the signs and the shadows of God through Platonic anamnesis and the mirrors of caves. In the silence they learn the inwardly writing and the technique to engrave, revoke, and combine its signs. The masonry art — the architecture — shall resume with geometry the divine idea of the factory of the world. And it comes to be secret science — freemasonry.

The first ever documented admissions into Scottish masons’ lodges date back to the 1630s. Which we will take back after reminding that already during the 1620s we can find in Scotland copies and translations of the Rosicrucian manifestos [29].

Physician, cosmologist, and Rosicrucian apologist Robert Fludd (1574–1637)

And a famous passage [30] (1633) by Robert Fludd, which confirms the imminence of the last kingdom announced by the king’s dream (cf. Daniel 2), points out that the Rosicrucians have no apocatastatic power; in fact, they can — similarly to the three ancient magi and the current sages — only predict changes and calamities via the new constellation, not create them.

[1]. [1] See David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry. Scotland’s Century 1590–1710, 2nd ed., Cambridge 1990. This text contains all that which concerns Schaw and his statutes as well as other numerous documents and analyses. The French translation (1993) provides a preface by A. Bernheim, whose Pyrrhonism supports traditional theses.

[2]. Genesis 4, 20.

[3]. Genesis 5, 28–29.

[4]. See the Cooke Manuscript (1410).

[5]. See the Dumfries №4 Manuscript (1710).

[6]. See the Grand Lodge №1 Manuscript (1583).

[7]. See the Dumfries №4 Manuscript (1710).

[8]. Ibidem. See ‘clerk’ entry in Oxford English Dictionary: “As the scholarship of the Middle Ages was practically limited to the clergy, and these performed all the writing, notarial, and secretarial work of the time, the name ‘clerk’ came to be equivalent to ‘scholar’”

[9]. Ibidem.

[10]. See the Regius Manuscript (1390).

[11]. [2] Title of the Regius Manuscript (XIV or XV century): ‘Hic incipiunt constituciones Artis Geometrie secundum Euclidem’. John Dee’s Preface to Euclid dates back to 1570. Particularly dense is the version of the Dumfries №4 Manuscript (1710): ‘[B]efore Noahs flood ther was a man called Lamach [Lamech] who had two wifes the one Adah & she the sa[i]d Adah brought forth two sons the eldest jabell [Jabal] the other son Jubal & by ye other wife he had a son called Tubal cain & a daughter called Naamah. And these children found out al ye Sciences and crafts in the world Jabel was the elder & found out geometry & keep flocks of sheep & they had lambs in the fields for wch he wrought houses of stone & timber as you may find it in the 4th chapter o[f] ye geneses & his brother jubal found out the art of musick vocal & instrumentall and the 3d brother found out the smithwork such as bras steel & iron & their sister found out the art of weaving & handling of the distaff & spindle.’ Much wider is the section dedicated to Euclid’s Statutes. See D. Knoop, G. P. Jones, D. Hamer (edited by), The Early Masonic Catechisms, Manchester 1943, 2nd ed. London 1963. It should be borne in mind that the concept ‘ars regia’ is from Plato.

[12]. Based on opinions by David Casley prior to 1730 and James Halliwell in 1839, the Regius Manuscript has been dated to circa 1390. However, a subsequent dating operation places the object in the second quarter of the XV century. Check this article.

[13]. I Kings 5,15–9,25.

[14]. [3] In regard of the Temple, we mention Revelation 11, 1–19.

Rev. 11, 1–3:

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod; and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God and the altar, and them that worship therein […] And I will give power unto my two witnesses […] clothed in sackcloth.

Rev. 11, 7–8:

And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

Rev. 11, 11–12:

But after three days and a half, the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them that saw them. And they heard a great voice from Heaven, saying unto them, Come up hither! And they ascended up to Heaven in a cloud, and their enemies beheld them.

Hence an earthquake, prior to the seventh angel’s announcement. Rev. 11, 15:

The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever!

Chapter 11 of Revelation ends with the opening of the Temple of God in Heaven (Rev. 11, 19).

See also Lucas Cranach’s Revelation-related incision for Martin Luther’s New Testament. In this incision, at the feet of the reed-holding prophet are the essential tools of the mason-archiect, straightedge and compass, while an altar is being erected.

[15]. I Kings 5, 1:

And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon, for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the place of his father; for Hiram ever loved David.

[16]. See the Dumfries no. 4 Manuscript (1710).

[17]. Ibidem.

[18]. [4] The Dumfries №4 Manuscript then show The Charge, The Apprentice Charge, and Questions Concerning the Temple. The lights in the Sloane №3329 Manuscript were the Sun, the master, and the square; in the Dumfries №4 Manuscript there are three lights in the lodge: the master, the fellow craftsmen, and the warden, while three pillars are also presented, which are the square, the compass, and the Bible. The conclusion, which deals with the symbology on the two pillars Jachin and Boaz, informs that Jesus Christ

shall wryt upon these pillers better names than those of Jachin & boaz for first he shall wryt upon them the name of his god that it may be made plaice to all men that these men are chossen out from the rest to be gods peculiar people.

Therefore, the masons are the real people of God, not any more the Jews or Calvin’s chosen ones.

[19]. [5] See Stevenson, op. cit., pp. 32–34, 43–44.

[20]. [6] Ibid., pp. 44–51. It is crucial to emphasise the importance attributed to Scotland and to Kilwinning within the masonic tradition. Cf. Id., The First Freemasons: Scotland’s Early Lodges and Their Members, Aberdeen 1988.

[21]. See the Second William Schaw Statutes (1599).

[22]. Ibid.

[23]. Ibid.

[24]. Ibid.

[25]. Ibid.

[26]. [7] Frances Amelia Yates, The Art of Memory, London 1966, pp 266–86. See pp. 303–5, where the nexus between the (Renaissance) hermetic tradition, exoteric forms of the art of memory, and the origins of freemasonry is clearly explained. As for Bruno, see C. Vasoli, La metafora del linguaggio magico rinascimentale, in «Lingua nostra», VIII (1977), pp. 9 ff.; and M. Cambi, Il De Magia e il recupero della sapienza originaria, in «Archivio di storia della cultura», VI (1993), pp. 9–33:

The philosopher’s objective is different than in the works of the first period: universal wisdom — which as per the Brunian project designed on the basis of an interiorisation of Ramon Llull’s [Raimundus Lullus’] systems, […] is functionalised to another Renaissance dream, i.e. the attainment of the puissance arising from mastering nature and its forces. In both cases [previous and subsequent works], however, the philosopher’s strategy is the same, that is the identification, within the horizon of natural reality, of entities and objects — images, stones, and metals — which may actualise the major purpose. While previously, through mnemotechnique, the images had to serve the action towards knowledge, functioning as catalysts for memories and as effective receptacles for the retentio, now the images — such as sounds, voices, etc. — are to furnish power, which should allow to act upon the anima mundi. Only through the sensible combinatio performed by the magus can those links strengthen by virtue of which man can master reality. (p. 26)

[27]. Benjamin Jowett is the translator.

[28]. [8] We are assuming that the debate between a Scottish Catholic and Brunian hermetic (Alexander Dicson), and a renowned Puritan theologian (William Perkins) echoed through the country, especially in the royal court, where, as historically documented, during the 1590s there was interest in the art of memory. Besides Dicson, we have (see Stevenson, op. cit., pp. 93–95) William Fowler, Anne of Denmark’s Puritan secretary, who wrote a tract for the queen and instructed her in the ‘art of memorye’. Was Fowler a Puritan and Ramist as Perkins was? The pivotal role remains that played by Schaw, the royal Catholic Master of Works and General Warden of the masons of Scotland.

[29]. [9] See F. N. Pryce, in the introduction to Eugenius Philalethes (Thomas Vaughan), The Fame and Confession of the Fraternity of the R.C. 1652, London 1923. Both the Scottish translation, which dated 1633 is preserved in the record of the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, and the English translation published by Vaughan in 1652, are based on the same text. See also Frances Amelia Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, Routledge & Kegan Paul 1972; and Adam Maclean, “The impact of the Rosicrucian Manifestos in Britain” in Das Erbe der Christian Rosenkreuz, Amsterdam 1988. On Vaughan, see Serge Hutin, Les disciples anglais de Jacob Boehme, Paris 1960; and as to the debate between Henry More and Thomas Vaughan (especially Anthroposophia Theomagica and Anima Magica abscondita by Robert Fludd’s Rosicrucian disciple Th. Vaughan), see Serge Hutin, Henri More. Essai sur les doctrines théosophiques chez les Platoniciens de Cambridge, Hildesheim 1966.

[30]. Giarrizzo is not further specific about the 1633 writing where Robert Fludd (Latinised Robertus de Fluctibus) expresses his defense for the Rosicrucians and their capabilities. It is, however, historically clear that Fludd acted apologetically towards the Rosicrucians, as attested by his 1616-published Apologia Compendiaria, Fraternitatem de Rosea Cruce suspicionis et infamiae maculis aspersam, veritatis quasi Fluctibus abluens et abstergens.