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


Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, John Calvin

Today is the 500th anniversary of the birthday of John Calvin.

Jay Hochberg's blog has an entry about John Calvin and the origin of the term "Great Architect of the Universe." Freemasons use the term constantly, but few of us know where it came from.

Have a look.


  1. so was john calvin a freemason??

    1. Extremely doubtful, given that Calvin was in France, Switzerland, and then back into Alsace, dying in 1564. His life and death predate the most accepted beginnings of speculative Freemasonry in Scotland, much less in France, where the earliest legendary claims of any speculative Masonic activity there at all (or even suspected possible membership of "accepted" masons in French operative lodges) don’t even appear prior to 1688.

  2. I hope I get a reply, and I hope I'm able to find this site again,
    I was doing heavy HEEEEEAAVY research into masonry, and I agree and disagree with this comment but seeing you are an actual author on this subject I would like your honest input

    I agree Calvin died before Freemasonry in its present form in the lodge system it has today whether it be Grand Orient or English Grand Lodge but I disagree that Calvin couldn't of been a mason before that evolution of what you call the craft. The reason for this (and I hope you can ahead pee light incase I got it wrong) is that the Templar's have the same rites rituals symbols etc and were around in the 1200's to their inquisition with Jacques deMolay, I've found that after that some Templars survived, and while following the writings on the wall I found another order with the same ish beliefs called the Ancient Order of the Rose Cross, which I followed and found them as the order that actually helped found the grand lodge of today in 16 or 1788

    So it seems like the ideas and tenants of masonry existed long before the founding of any lodge and it seems Martin Luther was a member prior to the reformation his membership being of the rose cross order, so I was wondering if there is any evidence suggesting Calvin could of been a mason or a ember of an order before masonry today

    1. The brief answer is that, no, the Knights Templar did NOT have "the same rites, rituals, symbols, etc." as Freemasonry. Freemasons later added some of them to their appendant bodies, because they sought inspiration for additional degrees in countless other sources, especially related in any way to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But the pre-1700s connections between the disbanded Templars and Freemasonry are almost entirely fanciful in nature, first drawing upon the imagination of the Jacobite supporter, Chevalier Andrew Michael Ramsay. In 1737, his "oration" made the first connection between speculative Freemasonry and "Crusading knights" (not specifically the Templars). The ghosts of the Templars sill hung over Paris in those years, as the huge Templar compound in the north side of the city was still an enormous surviving landmark (and was later used to imprison the royal family during the Revolution).

      From that little seed germinated 250 years of speculation and fantasy (what some regard as the "Born In Blood" school). The whole cottage industry that erupted since about 1978 trying to link the Templars and Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism via Rosslyn Chapel, Rennes-le-Château, Scottish headstones, rocks in Minnesota, the Oak Island Pit, the Black Madonna cults, and a whole grab bag of others has been entertaining and even thought provoking. God knows, Dan Brown got fabulously rich off of it. But there is no proof of a connection that can be definitively demonstrated.

      I'm afraid you will find the bulk of the "connections" of Templary to Freemasonry were deliberately hung on the fraternity throughout the 18th and 19th century by wishful thinkers or Masonic degree authors, and did not grow out of an actual historical thread. I suggest a good starting place in reality might be The Rosslyn Hoax by Robert Cooper. One attempt at finding a logical and even plausible wisp of connection and possible evolution is The Secret History of Freemasonry by Paul Naudon.

      That said, Born In Blood by John Robinson was so persuasively and romantically written that it arguably brought more new men to join Freemasonry for about a 20 year period than any other influence. I loved it before I joined, and countless other Masons I have known over the years did too. But Robinson, when grilled over his lack of footnotes and references, would get a twinkle in his eye and tell you to your face, "I'm just an old Kentucky storyteller."

  3. Uncertain this one. Calvin could maybe have been involved in something like a predecessor of rosicrucianism or even "christian kabbalah". Not impossible with a jewish connection at least, even ancestry. But I am sure of none of these! Could be dead wrong as well and he had nothing to do with it. However, though, the connection between the huguenots of later dates as well as presbyterianism (such as Anderson) with masonry is quiet well documented. Which is evidence that masonry was present and accepted (by some important leaders) early in the movement. It's one of the reasons why I, as a non-mason, have distanced myself from the reformed. I used to attend a reformed church for many years.

    1. Free will non reformed Babtist churches have many masons in them


Comments will not appear immediately, so be patient. I am forced to laboriously screen every post because I am constantly bombarded with spam. Anonymous postings on Masonic topics have the same status as cowans and eavesdroppers as far as I am concerned. If you post with an unknown or anonymous account, do not expect to see your comment appear.