Posted by: Nyxks | November 3, 2007

Isaac Newton’s Freemasonry

Isaac Newton’s Freemasonry
by Alain Bauer © 2007
Inner Traditions
ISBN 1-59477-172-3
146 pages
Paperback
$14.95
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason

Isaac Newton is best known to the work-a-day world as a scientist who devoted his time and efforts to bringing enlightenment to the world. He was all of this, and more. This book explored the relationship between Newton and Freemasonry. What gives it unusual authority is the fact that Monsieur Bauer was, at the time he authored this work (2003), the Grand master of the Grand Orient of France. This is a translation of his work, the original of which was produced under the authority of the Masonic Institute of France.

M. Bauer draws a needed distinction between secret societies, which Freemasonry is, and occult groups as they are normally perceived. The secret rituals of Freemasonry are designed to convey information, not magickal power.

One must bear in mind the difference between the scientific worlds of the 17th and 21st centuries. In the 17th century astrology and alchemy were as much a part of scientific education as string theory and quantum mechanics are in this century. The “scientific method” had not yet become a foundation of experimental science. Thus Sir Isaac Newton could write on optics, gravity, and alchemical theory without fear of losing standing in any of those fields. It was not yet a time of specialization in scientific endeavors.

Newton was instrumental in the formation of speculative (or non-operative) Masonry, and saw it as a method of encouraging and promoting free thought.

It is not necessary to be a Mason to appreciate the work and research which has gone into this book. In fact, in some cases it can be advantageous to be an outsider. There have been years of propaganda, both pro and con, which have affected the perceptions of Masonry. Much of this propaganda has come from anti-Masonic forces, but there has been disinformation put forth by Masons as well.

The appendices, which form a large portion of this book consist of a summary of the history of Freemasonry (both mythological and scientific); lists of the Grand Masters of England (Grand Lodge of England, Grand Lodge of York, Grand Lodge of Ancients, and Grand Lodge of Scotland); a timeline of events leading to the Grand Lodge of England; a timeline of the Grand Lodge of France; and a dialogue between a Town Mason and a Traveling Mason, which explains how Masons recognized one another.

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