The Foundations of Modern Freemasonry: The Grand Architects- Political Change and the Scientific Enlightenment, 1714-1740

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ISBN-13: 978-1845195069
ISBN-10: 184519506X
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Paperback, March 1, 2012
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Editorial Reviews


“The transformation of English Freemasonry after the foundation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717 was especially marked by the (largely nominal) leadership of young pro-Hanoverian Whig aristocrats who transformed Freemasonry into an important component of the economic, scientific, social, and political changes of the 18th century. Freemasonry rapidly became an important facet of the upper reaches of English society, and Berman (Oxford) traces the role these aristocratic architects played in the formation of what quickly became the most prominent and socially elite fraternal order of the modern era. There were important connections between Freemasonry and the judiciary, the Royal Society, and other learned and professional societies. Berman provides a useful introduction to these key figures, as well as a series of valuable appendixes, giving readers the Grand Officers of the Grand Lodge of England, excerpts from the Masonic 1723 Constitutions, a list of the various military lodges, and an inventory of the Masonic membership of selected professional societies. Although its origins as a doctoral thesis are all too clear, this remains a valuable work for serious Masonic historians. Recommended.”  —Choice

About the Author

Dr Ric Berman is the author of three of the most important recently published books on eighteenth-century freemasonry: The Foundations of Modern Freemasonry, (2011, second edn. 2014); Schism (2013); and Loyalists & Malcontents (2015). He holds a Masters in Economics from the University of Cambridge and a Doctorate in History from the University of Exeter.  He continued his research into the social and political aspects of freemasonry as a Senior Visiting Researcher at the University of Oxford's Modern European History Research Centre and as a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University.  Ric lives with his family in Oxfordshire, England, and is currently working on 'Prince Eugene's Coffee House', a study of eighteenth-century diplomacy, espionage & the lodge.  He was appointed Prestonian lecturer for 2016.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sussex Academic Press (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184519506X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845195069
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,956,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Richard (Ric) Berman is the author of 'Foundations of Modern Freemasonry', an examination of the origins of modern freemasonry first published in 2011 and now in its second edition; 'Schism' (2013), which explores the conflict between Moderns and Antients and its principal causes; and 'Loyalists & Malcontents' (2015), a dissection of colonial and post-colonial freemasonry in America's Deep South.

Ric holds a Masters in Economics from the University of Cambridge and a Doctorate in History from the University of Exeter. He continued his research at Oxford's Modern European History Research Centre as a Senior Visiting Researcher and subsequently as a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University. His main area of study is eighteenth-century English and North American history with a particular focus on society and politics. Born in London, Ric lives with his family in Oxfordshire and is currently working on a fourth book, 'Prince Eugene's Coffee House', a study of eighteenth-century diplomacy, espionage and the lodge. He was appointed Prestonian Lecturer for 2016.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Gardiner on January 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Spoiler: this is a long review. Further Spoiler: Berman is light on the supernatural, heavy on primary-sourced fact.

This review covers the softcover edition of The Foundations of Modern Masonry, by Ric Berman, which I purchased on Amazon.

This book is essentially the published version of the doctoral dissertation written by Richard Berman for the University of Exeter, then titled, "The Architects of Eighteenth Century English Freemasonry, 1720 - 1740." This name, with slight modification, has become the subtitle to the book (probably for marketing's sake). The PhD thesis is available to read for free here:

Having read both the book and the dissertation that spawned it, I can say that the body remains largely the same, the most noticeable changes being to the title, the addition of portraits of the Grand Masters (the architects in the title) inserted into the center, and a general rearrangement of the parts.

With the subject of the various editions (thesis, softcover, hardcover) out of the way, I will describe the basic thrust of the book (and its source); afterward I will highlight what I think the most significant contributions from this book to modern Masonic scholarship are.

Within the London Company of Masons and others there existed an exclusive inner circle of men participating in a group usually known as the "Acception" (variations in spelling occur thanks to Americans like myself making changes, the loose orthography of the time, and changes to modern English). These companies were later consequences of medieval guilds.
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