By Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas
In the Hiram Key, co-authors Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas (both English Masons), set out to see if they can discover the genesis, or inception of Freemasonry. In their words from the introduction:
"Our starting point was a private piece of research to find the origins of Freemasonry. As Freemasons, our goal was to try to understand a little about the meaning of Masonic ritual."
In the first chapter, "The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry", they summarize their initiations in some detail and then add:
"There is very little of the Masonic ritual that could be described as ordinary. The journey from darkness to light is obviously important as are the two pillars, Boaz and Jachin that symbolize strength and establishment and when united mean stability."
From that point they begin their search for the origins of Freemasonry beginning with three commonly accepted possibilities:
1. That it is as ancient as King Solomon's Temple and was created at that time as a result of certain happenings that took place and has been passed down to the present time through unknown mechanisms.
2. That it is a development of medieval stonemasons, guilds whereby "operative" mason skills have been translated to "speculative" moral skills of improvement.
3. That Masonic ritual originates directly from the Order of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, otherwise known historically as the Knights Templar.
Taking off from these three possibilities, the authors present a vast amount of historical, ritual and mythical data they compiled in the course of their research. Indeed, one entire section of the book is dedicated to the Order of the Knights Templar from its inception 1099 until its demise on Friday, October 13, 1307 at the hands of the French King Phillip the IV and his handpicked Pope, Clement V.
As the journey progresses, succeeding sections encompass Gnosticism, Christ, Judaism, the origins of the Hebraic people, the Egyptians, the origins of the two pillars, and end at a chapel on a hill outside Edinburgh, Scotland and its enigmatic builder William Sinclair.
The Hiram Key, although written as a research book, is anything but dry. Even so, there are annotations, references, photos and an appendix. Each chapter begins with a supposition and ends with a conclusion. It provides Masons with a wealth of information about the Craft and was the basis for the follow-up books: Turning the Hiram Key, and The Hiram Key Revisited.
For more information visit: http://www.knight-lomas.com/index2.html
Review by Companion John Kerr