Sunday, January 8, 2012

A text for any serious Hermeticist and Esoteric Freemason

Turning up the heat on Masonic understandings of Hermeticism and their own esoteric history

One of my pet obsessions is encouraging the Fraternity, of whatever flavor, to intensify the level and quality of research and study. Mainstream, and indeed even some non-mainstream Freemasons, are still functioning on a grade school level when it comes to the history and philosophy of the Craft. Some efforts to correct this issue have begun with the rise of interest in academia for the subject of fraternalism and Freemasonry in particular. This trend will hopefully bring about an awareness among Freemasons that they can no longer afford to be amateurish when it comes to education, nor provincial and sectarian.

With this in mind, The Hedge Mason will, from time to time, highlight texts, programs, and other activities intended to shed a stronger light on various important aspects of the Craft. This blog has already provided announcements on conferences in the US and elsewhere. In this post, The Hedge Mason is highlighting an academic text which is of profound significance to Freemasons who have an understanding of the Hermetic underpinnings of our fraternity.

This text is not new. It has been on the market for several years now. However, being aimed at serious scholars of Egyptology, and bearing a not insubstantial price tag, most masons who might not balk at spending $250 on a box of real Cuban cigars but would never think of spending that much on a book, might unsurprisingly be unaware of the content of this title. In fairness, it's specialized audience has likely allowed it to elude even the scholars of Esoteric Freemasonry.

A quick perusal of the structure of the demotic texts which make up the subject of
Richard Jasnow and Karl Zauzich's 2 volume study entitled The Ancient Egyptian Book of Thoth A Demotic Discourse on Knowledge and Pendant to the Classical Hermetica, will alert the reader familiar with European Hermetica that we are looking at a much earlier Egyptian version of that body of literature which has informed Masonic esotericism for centuries.

For those who do not have deep pockets, I recommend trying Interlibrary Loan from your University. Even some local libraries offer such services. Perhaps you might want to urge your lodge to ante up to make the purchase for the library. At the very least, any good research lodge should be interested.

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