Thursday, May 26, 2011

Art DeHoyos on Pike's "Morals & Dogma"



Illus. Bro. Arturo de Hoyos has long spoken of his own ongoing "Magnum Opus," his annotated version of "Morals & Dogma," Albert Pike's book about the Scottish Rite degrees and the symbolism and philosophy contained in them. It has long been understood that Pike borrowed, cribbed or just plain plagiarized from many sources, without bothering with pesky footnotes or references (stealing from one source is plagiarism, but from ten sources it's research). The conventional wisdom is that much of it came from Eliphas Levi's French work, "Dogme et Ritual de la Haute Magie", published in 1855-56. But Pike drew from many, many other sources, and Art has spent twenty years chasing down Pike's original research. Art's goal has been to go through M&D line by line and determine where and what Pike took from other works, as well as providing footnotes, essays, illustrations, translations, and a wealth of other supporting material. He has not changed Pike's text—but he has doubled the size of the work with new supporting material.

Frankly, the biggest limit on the book has been the size the printer can mechanically pack between two covers. But sooner or later, you have to call it quits. The book will be ready "soon," and the galleys are being proofed now.

Art is uniquely positioned for this job. He works in the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction headquarters, the House of the Temple, which contains Pike's personal library. And he can read and translate at least seven languages, along with possessing what I enviously regard as the kind of thoroughly annoying mind which has allowed him to almost commit the whole of M&D to memory. Also working with Art has been Illus. Bro. Rex Hutchens, author of "A Bridge to Light."

The Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction has made an incredible commitment to educating their members and providing reference material on ritual, symbolism, history and philosophy. From the Master Craftsman education program and the Scottish Rite Research Society, to the publication of incredible books like this and the Scottish Rite Ritual and Monitor, they have toiled diligently in an ongoing effort to provide a rich and rewarding, ongoing system of quality instruction to 32° members eager to learn more about their degrees.

We in the Northern Jurisdiction can only sigh with envy.

2 comments:

ppfuchs- Peter P. Fuchs said...

In the opinion of some of us, the very scope of the project is unprecedented, not just in Masonic studies, but in the Humanities generally. Magnum Opus is truly the right description of it! The comparison would be to historiographical biblical exegesis, or something like Daniel Matt's Annotated Zohar. But Pike's text manifestly presents complexities, some of a more recent vintage, the intricacy of which are quite unique. In this sense I think the whole matter truly is unprecedented as a scholarly investigation.

Ben said...

Pike may have "lifted" and paraphrased, but he was cognizant of the coherence in the philosophy that he was forming. So few have ever read _Morals and Dogma_, and yet it is a true masterpiece. I cannot wait for De Hoyos' edition of this work. I am ready to rank it with J. B. Bury's edition of Gibbon's _The Decline and Fall_.