"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Vrijmetselarij Voor Dummies

Last spring I had the happy experience of accidently meeting the man who was translating Freemasons For Dummies into Dutch. Brother Jimmy Koppen is a Mason from Belgium, and I had the pleasure of meeting him in Scotland at the International Conference on the History of Freemasonry. He had contacted the Dutch publisher of the Dummies books and asked if such an edition was being planned – and suddenly found himself plunged into the business of translating my American original, plus Brother Phillipe Benhamou's French version, along with making more alterations to explain the variations of Freemasonry in both Belgium and the Netherlands.

I stumbled across Jimmy's blog today (rather clumsily translated by Google's language robot). By the way, I notice that the word "Dummies" translates in almost any language...

It's interesting to see the changes that get made along the way. Like the French version, new chapters had to be created to discuss the history of the order in both Belgium and the Netherlands, along with a chapter about feminine and co-Masonry (other nations rarely have OES chapters, but do have female and mixed grand lodges, with something on the order of approximately 150,000 female Masons worldwide). Appendant bodies like the Shrine are almost completely unknown, since Masons outside of the US never tossed alcohol out of the lodges. And our Scottish and York Rite systems are very different from what is practiced in the rest of the Masonic world.

The book hit Dutch shelves earlier this month. Many thanks to Brother Koppen for his months of hard work.

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