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


Friday, January 28, 2022

Pre-Order From Masonic Book Club: Samuel Pritchard's Masonry Dissect'd

by Christopher Hodapp

The newly revived Masonic Book Club has just announced the pre-publication ordering window for their second volume: a new edition of Samuel Pritchard's 1730 ritual exposure, Masonry Dissected

The pre-publication order window will be open from January 27, 2022, until February 28, 2022, at 11:59

The 'old' Masonic Book Club first published this book in 1977 with wonderful commentary by Masonic scholar Harry Carr, Past Master and Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Research Lodge No. 2076 in London.This 144-page reprint of that 1977 edition features Carr’s classic commentary, revised and updated by Ill. Arturo de Hoyos, 33°, G.C., and S. Brent Morris, 33°, G.C.

Pritchard's book included the first known publication of the details of the Master Mason degree, which had only been incorporated into the premiere Grand Lodge of England's ritual in 1726, just nine years after the 1717 formation of their grand lodge.

During the years before 1726, English ritual consisted of only the Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft degrees. While Pritchard's book was doubtless seen as a dastardly act and a betrayal of Masonic secrecy and honor at the time, it does provide historians a written record of the Masonic degrees as they existed in those formative years. It was also extremely popular at the time, presumably for both a curious public, and for Masons trying to learn to memorize their ritual.

From the MBC's description:
"When the Grand Lodge of England was formed in 1717, there were only two degrees: Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft. A “master mason” either held the contract at a job site (think “general contractor”) or was the elected presiding officer of a lodge. The first conferral of the Third or Master Mason Degree in a Masonic lodge occurred in March 1726 in Lodge Dumbarton Kilwinning No. 18. The degree apparently was conferred in May 1725 at a social club of Masons in London, the Philo Musicæ et Architecturæ Societas. There is no hint of what the ceremony may have been—not in the Old Charges, manuscript rituals, or publications. Nothing!
"Then on October 20, 1730, Samuel Prichard published Masonry Dissected with full details of the ritual for what he claimed was the Master Mason Degree. A second edition came out on October 21, and a third edition on October 31, all three published by Wilford in London. A presumably pirated edition dated “MD.CC.XXX” (1730) and printed by Thomas Nichols “without Temple Bar” (London) probably had made its appearance by the end of October 1730. Other presumably pirated versions were printed in Read’s Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, on October 24, 1730; Northampton Mercury, in two parts on October 28, 1730, and on November 2, 1730; and the second half in The Original Mercury, York Journal: or, Weekly Courant, on November 2, 1730 (the reprint of the first half has not been located).
"Thus, there were three separate editions by Wilford for Prichard, a pirated edition by Nichols, and a newspaper version, all printed in London, plus a two-part pirated newspaper version printed in the Midlands, and another pirated newspaper version printed in the North of England, all within fourteen days. This was a popular book!

Here are the specifics from Brent Morris:

The pre-publication order window will be open from January 27, 2022, until February 28, 2022, at 11:59  
The special MBC pre-publication price is $30. Regular retail price will be $40. 
This time during the pre-publication sale period, we also will be offering a "First Day of Issue" signed edition for $45. These copies will not be available later for retail. 
We only will accept pre-publication purchases placed using the MBC order form. Pre-publication orders are not available through the Scottish Rite Store.

The printing industry currently is experiencing massive supply chain disruptions. We cannot place the order for Masonry Dissected until pre-publication purchasing is completed and reviewed. We hope to place the order by March 3, 2022. Our printer estimates "approximately 78–83 business days" to manufacture the books. We expect the books to be mailed about June 15–22, 2022, and will keep you informed of progress and changes. Thank you for your understanding during these unusual times.

**Due to GDPR and other complications, we only can accept credit card charges from and ship to the USA, US territories, Canada, and Mexico.

** However, Lewis Masonic in the United Kingdom is accepting a limited number of pre-publication orders (signed & unsigned editions) for the rest of the world. For details, please click the "Order Masonry Dissected" button below and answer "All Other Countries" to the first question.

If you have any questions, please visit the "FAQs" section on our MBC web page or email us at mbc@scottishrite.org.
There are no dues for the new Masonic Book Club. Books are announced for pre-publication orders and payments are only collected as books are ready to be manufactured. All transactions are handled exclusively online. Without a rigid calendar driving publications, new books can come out as quickly as nine months or as late as eighteen months, as resources permit. Book prices range in the $30 vicinity for pre-publication orders, or $40 retail if you miss the pre-pub ordering window. Volumes will no longer be numbered as in the old Club, but if the hardback edition sells out, the MBC will make a paperback print-on-demand edition available of the books. 

If there are sufficient pre-publication sales, MBC members will be notified after the pre-publication window closes at 11:59 pm ET on Monday, February 28, 2022. The books will be printed, and will ship around June 15–22, 2022.

If there are insufficient sales, members will be notified; and refunds will be credited about March 21, 2022.

To the relief of the MBC's older original members, the new Club actually communicates with its members twice a year with an electronic newsletter to keep everyone in the loop about upcoming volumes in the works and their production status. Despite his recent retirement from his longtime job of editing the AASR-SJ's Scottish Rite Journal, S. Brent Morris 33° continues to manage the MBC, and this endeavor has truly been a labor of love for him. 

The mission statement of the resurrected Masonic Book Club is to publish classic Masonic works with the goal of increasing Masonic knowledge and to become a profit center for the House of the Temple Foundation. More information can be found at the MBC's website HERE. If you are interested in this or subsequent volumes, you need to sign up on the website. If you have any questions or suggestions, please address them to mbc@scottishrite.org.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments will not appear immediately because I am forced to laboriously screen every post. I'm constantly bombarded with spam. Depending on the comments being made, anonymous postings on Masonic topics may be regarded with the same status as cowans and eavesdroppers, as far as I am concerned. If you post with an unknown or anonymous account, do not automatically expect to see your comment appear.