I had the opportunity to briefly meet the distinguished Masonic scholar Malcolm Davies at the International Conference on the History of Freemasonry in Edinburgh in 2007.
Now comes word that he has passed away on February 9th, at the age of 57.
George Malcolm Davies was named as the special chair of Freemasonry at the University of Leiden in the Hague in January of 2008. Although born in Crewe in the county of Cheshire, England, he had lived in the Netherlands for 20 years. He was trained as a musicologist, and he studied at Trinity College of Music in London and the University of Southampton, before moving to The Hague's Royal Conservatory of Frans Brüggen. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Utrecht on The Masonic Muse. Songs, Music and Musicians Associated with Dutch Freemasonry: 1730-1806.
Brother Davies maintained the academic study of Freemasonry had to be very broad based so that we might understand the effects it had on society, as well as how it has adapted to suit the culture and time in which it resides. He argued for the study of a new "historiography" of Masonry: a greater understanding and examination of the political, philosophical, religious and sociological backgrounds of the 18th and 19th century Masons.
His paper delivered at the 2007 ICHF was "The Mystical Muse: Early Masonic Operas, Cantatas and Dramas." In 2008, he organized a two day symposium in The Hague, where seventeen researchers from European and American universities lectured on the theme "The Expression of Freemasonry: Its ritual, oratory, poetry, music, literature, art and architecture."
His column is now broken, and his brethren mourn.