Dispatches from Maine

Just another person of little note writing about ordinary things. That I reside in Maine is icing on the cake.

29 July 2005

The Development of Masonic Ritual 1390-1843

I have finally begun working on the history of Masonic ritual course for the Maine Masonic College. These last eight weeks have been incredibly busy, so I have not had the contemplative opportunity to reflect and decide on course scope. This is the proposal I wrote to them:

Name: Christian A. Ratliff

Address: ...., South Portland, ME 04106

E-mail and Tel. Number: ....

Title of Course: The Development of Masonic Ritual 1390-1842

Course Level: General Awareness . Skill Building . (FUNDAMENTALS) .
Extensive Study . Other .

Course Type: (LECTURE) . Seminar . Correspondence . Reading/Report . Practicum .

Location: (Please give suggestions and preferences):
Anywhere from Kittery to Bangor is acceptable for me.

Length of Course: (SINGLE SESSION) . Multiple Sessions . Number: ___________

Please Describe:
This course is structured as a single presentation of two to four hours with
the opportunity for dialog during the entire presentation.

(Note: This category does not apply to Correspondence, Reading/Response or Practicum offerings.)

This course covers the development of Masonic ritual from its start as a simple guild initiation during the Gothic Constitutions period through the aborted attempt to create a common Masonic ritual in the United States at the Baltimore Convention of 1843. The discussion will focus on the change points in the development of the ritual: fear-inducing oath before God, bigradal system with E.A. and F.C., quest for a M.M. (Three Sons of Noah), public Freemasonry and the start of the M.M., creation of the lectures, and finally attempted ritual consolidation.

The history of Masonic Ritual is a key to understanding the history of the Craft in general as it encodes the history at various stages. This insight allows us to discover errors in theories about the origin of the Craft, for instance, John Robinson's Templar theory of "Born in Blood" is predicated on the existence of a M.M. degree during the Gothic Constitutions period. Since the trigradal system did not develop for more than three hundred years after the Templar suppression, such a history for the Craft is virtually impossible.

Such insights are the gift of a firm grasp of Masonic ritual. The course will attempt to provide the necessary overview and point out worthy texts to expand the knowledge of the attendees. A comprehensive bibliography is a key handout at the end of the session.

Materials needed:

A good night's sleep, writing implement, and notebook as the history is both
complex and diverse and handouts will not be provided until after the lecture
is concluded.

How will participants’ learning be assessed?

As it is a lecture format, there is no plan to perform an assessment. If this
is desired one can be composed.

Budget and equipment needs?


Submit by e-mail to mainemasoniccollege@mainemason.org or by postal mail to:
Maine Masonic College c/o Edward L. King, Secretary, PO Box 816, Bangor, ME 04402


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