This book is a new edition of David Stevenson's classic account of the origins of Freemasonry, a brotherhood of men bound together by secret initiatives, rituals and modes of identification with ideals of fraternity, equality, toleration and reason. Beginning in Britain, Freemasonry swept across Europe in the mid-eighteenth century in astonishing fashion--yet its origins are still hotly debated today. The prevailing assumption has been that it emerged in England around 1700, but David Stevenson demonstrates that the real origins of modern Freemasonry lie in Scotland around 1600, when the system of lodges was created by stonemasons with rituals and secrets blending medieval mythology with Renaissance and seventeenth-century history. This fascinating work of historical detection will be essential reading for anyone interested in Renaissance and seventeenth-century history, for freemasons themselves, and for those readers captivated by the secret societies at the heart of the bestselling The Da Vinci Code. David Stevenson is Emeritus Professor of Scottish History at the University of St. Andrews. His many previous publications include The Scottish Revolution, 1637-1644; Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Scotland, 1644-1651; and The First Freemasons; Scotland, Early Lodges and their Members. His most recent book is the The Hunt for Rob Roy (2004). Previous edition Hb (1988) 0-521-35326-2 Previous edition Pb (1990) 0-521-39654-9
"...a work of creative scholarship flavoured by exceptional candour and gusto...makes an important contribution to the movement among historians which is rescuing pre-Union Scotland from its reputation for near-savage backwardness, and showing how deep were the roots of Enlightenment in the country's culture. London Review of Books
List of plates; Preface; List of abbreviations and conventions; 1. Introduction; 2. The medieval contribution; 3. William Schaw, master of works and general warden; 4. The Sinclairs of Roslin and the masters of works; 5. The Renaissance contribution; 6. Rituals of identification and initiation; 7. Sir Robert Moray: masonry, symbolism and ethics; 8. The early Scottish lodges; 9. Early Scottish and English freemasonry; Appendix; Bibliographical note; Index.