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ÉTUDES MAÇONNIQUES - MASONIC PAPERS
by W.Bro. ALAIN BERNHEIM 33°
THREE DISTINCT KNOCKS - JACHIN & BOAZ
first English exposure (it included a catechism) was issued without a title in a
London newspaper in April 1723 (EMC, pp. 71-75).[i]
Prichard's Masonry Dissected, last exposure of the early group, was
issued in October 1730. These English exposures did not include a dialogue for
Opening and Closing the lodge.
Distinct Knocks, Or the Door of the most Antient Free-Masonry... (April 1760) is dedicated 'To the Right Worshipful Company of Irish
Masters' and includes, p. 6, the following sentence: « Then I was invited to an Irish Lodge [in London]... which
is the whole subject of this Book ». TDK is the first exposure written
in English which includes a dialogue for Opening the lodge,
separated from the catechism part which is entitled 'Lecture' and 'Reasons'.
TDK describes Closing as «
very much the same as Opening » and quotes only one sentence from it. TDK
is very different from the texts of the English exposures
(1723-1730) and of the French ones (1737-1751),
it resembles contemporary English ritual in many respects, it includes many
features which did not exist then in contemporary Continental rituals and
which, up to this day, do not exist
in them, except when lodges practise a translated English ritual.
years after the issue of TDK, J&B or An Authentic Key to the Door of
Free-Masonry was issued in London (March 1762). Its second 'Corrected'
edition issued in October 1762 added Both ANTIENT and MODERN to the
preceding words of the title-page. Its first degree proceeds from two distinct
sources : one is TDK which it reproduces « almost word for word » [ii]
; the other is the Herault's pamphlet (December 1737) in its original
narrative form and rhythm but with important differences in wording.
commentators of J&B have tried to explain the contradictory details
included in the dialogue part (Opening and Lecture) and in the narrative one.
They noted - sometimes with reluctance - the near identity between the dialogue
parts of J&B and those of TDK on one hand, and on the other
the near identity between the narrative part of J&B and what they
identified as Burd's A
Master-Key to Free-Masonry, an excellent translation into English of one
third of the Trahi (1745), printed in London in February 1760, two months
before TDK was issued.
Carr wrote : « During the next 30 years [after the first issue of Prichard's MD]...
nothing of importance in this field was published in England; throughout that
period there is no English evidence to be found of the ritual development that
must have been taking place side-by-side with the growth of the lodges. » (EFE,
However in his comments upon the Démasqué (London, 1751), he wrote : «
... the description of the ceremonies, the titles of some of the Officers... and
many other details of the procedures described by Wolson... cannot be
reconciled with what is known of English Lodge practices at that period. For
these reasons, it seems likely that the work [the Démasqué]
represented French rather than English Freemasonry... » (EFE, p. 419, my
Jachin and Boaz (1762) with Three Distinct Knocks (1760) in
his Commentary to facsimile reprints of both exposures (Masonic Book Club,
1981), Harry Carr wrote first: « Several writers have charged the J. & B.
compiler, justly perhaps, with having plagiarized most of his material from TDK.
That may be an exaggeration... » (p. 179). He wrote further that « the
problems on the authenticity of Jachin and Boaz involve three main
questions ». The second one is « Why did the compiler [of J&B] use
so much of the catechism of Three Distinct Knocks ? » (p. 181) and his
answer (p. 185) is that « apart from the words in the E.A. and F.C.degrees, the
two rituals [of the Moderns and of the Antients] were virtually identical ».
His third question, « Why did he [the compiler of J&B] use the
opening narrative section containing practices that were foreign to English
procedure ? » (p. 181), is answered thus : « the compiler's reasons for
quoting procedures unknown in English usage are not easily explained »
(p. 185) and then Harry Carr enumerates over two pages (pp. 186-7) « those
details and procedures that were unknown in English practice » (my
italics in the last three quotes).
is forcibly reminded of John Hamill's words which however were applied by him to
the founders of Quatuor Coronati Lodge « behaving most unscientifically,
seeking for evidence to prove their theory rather than seeking evidence and
analysing it to see what could be deduced from it » (AQC 99, 1985, p.
'virtual' identity of the rituals of the Moderns and of the Antients is
contradicted by half a century of bitter hostility in England (as well as in
North America), illustrated by the following example : the author of A
Defence of Free-Masonry, a pamphlet published in London in 1765, says how he
would like Dermott to be buried, and amongst other details suggests :
Freemasonry was exported to Paris in two successive ‘waves’. The first one (before
or about 1725) through Jacobite exiles (the famous trio Derwentwater, MacLean,
Heguerty), the second one (September 1734-1736) through the Duke of Richmond,
Desaguliers, Coustos and others. Differences between ‘Original French’ and
‘Prichard French’ catechisms are probably related with this double origin.[v]
If the Herault's pamphlet was the French translation of an English
aide-mémoire belonging to an English freemason living in Paris or brought
from England to France by a French freemason, it would explain why it reappears
(with modifications having developped over a period of some fifteen to
twenty-five years) as the narrative part of the Démasqué (EFE,
pp. 428-435) and of the English exposures of the 1760s. If one agrees with the
writer that Openings and Lectures from the second series of English exposures
are exclusively those of the Antients - which were 'based on Irish
-, then the narrative parts of the Démasqué and of J&B
likely describe the 'working' of the premier Grand Lodge.
in their own way, all these late exposures are genuine ones. However ceremonies
described in the Démasqué (and in its English translation issued in
1766, Solomon in all his Glory) and in TDK apply respectively to
one Grand Lodge only, while J&B and Shibboleth were made out
of bits and pieces by compilers adding together two distinct and different
sources without caring much for the inner logic of the result.
Abridged references. MD : Masonry Dissected ; TDK : Three Distinct Knocks
; J&B : Jachin and
; EMC : The Early Masonic Catechisms,
transcribed and edited by Douglas Knoop, G. P.
and Douglas Hamer, second edition edited by Harry Carr (1963) ; EFE : The
edited by Harry Carr (1971); AQC : Ars Quatuor Coronatorum
S.N. Smith, AQC 56, 1943, p. 5. « The change of the order of the Words made
only in the second
of J&B is a supplementary proof of the fact » (ibid., p. 11).
It might have been clearer to qualify the sentence with words such as :
provided one accepts as
Prichard's Masonry Dissected (1730) and TDK (1760). If one doesn't,
immediately for want of material. If one does, however, isn't one bound to
accept it as it stays
as a whole ?
A Defence of Free-Masonry was reproduced in facsimile in Henry
Sadler’s Masonic Reprints and
About the differences between ‘Original French’ and ‘Prichard
French’ catechisms, see my paper in AQC 106, 1993, ‘Masonic
Catechisms and Exposures’, p. 149.
[vi] Colin Dyer, AQC 98, 1985, p. 122.