Thursday, February 12, 2004

I'm reading a fun if deeply unscholarly book called Born in Blood: the Lost Secrets of Freemasonry. I picked it up on the expectation of enjoying it as a work of historical fiction, and so far, it's held to expectations. The writer clearly wants to be thought of as scholarly, and his tone isn't terribly bad. He renounces fantastic lineages that feature famous personages like Solomon and Julius Caesar and all that. But, still and all, it's hard to take a writer of "history" seriously when he doesn't provide footnoting in any sense. As far as that goes, I'd rank Larry Gonick's Cartoon History series as much more a work of scholarship than any "history" that doesn't bother with proper attribution of claims.

The writer, one John J. Robinson, is arguing that the Freemasons are a continuous organizational descendant from the suppression of the Knights Templar in the early 14th century. It's an amusing conceit, but as it's laid out here, I can't think of it as anything but that, a conceit.

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