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  1. THE HIRAM LEGEND The origin of the Hiramic Legend is a matter on which Masonic students have always disagreed and will probably continue to disagree in the future, The following facts may however be stated: 1. Freemasonry did not originate in Palestine or at King Solomon's Temple, but among the Operative Stone Masons in England in the Middle Ages. 2. The earliest written records of the Craft, the Old Charges, contain what is known as the Legend of the Craft. This however is not the Hiramic Legend but is merely a legendary history of the building industry from earliest times to the time of St Alban. It includes both historical and legendary figures, but King Solomon and his Temple are mentioned merely among other personages and buildings and are given no special prominence. 3. The FPOF which we associate with the Hiramic Legend are first found in a MS known as the Edinburgh Register House MS of 1696 - a date 21 years before the formation of the Grand Lodge of England. 4. The Hiramic story as we know it appears in print for the first time in Prichard's "Masonry Dissected" of 1730, one of the most famous Exposures, and that in which the division of Freemasonry into three Degrees appears for the first time. 5. As late as 1726 there appears in the Graham MS, an alternative Legend, that of the Sons of Noah, as an explanation of the FPOF, suggesting that the Hiramic Legend had not been finalised by that date. 6. Bro. Rev. Morris Rosenbaum has suggested the theory that the apparent contradiction in the Scripture passages referring to Hiram might be reconciled by assuming that two Hirams, father and son, were employed in the erection of King Solomon's Temple. Hiram in the Book of Kings being a son of the Hiram in the Book of Chronicles. 7. MW Bro. S.C. Bingham, sometime Secretary and Editor of the Masters' and Past Masters' Lodge No. 130 NZC favoured the theory that the Hiramic Legend arose from the Legend of Maitre Jacques, a legend of the French Compagnonage, under which three groups af Craftsmen existed in France, not only in mediaeval times but up to the present. The Three groups of Fraternities comprised: (i) The Sons of Solomon, at first confined to Stonemasons but latterly joined by Locksmiths and Joiners; (ii) The Sons of Maitre Jacques, with the same class of members extended to all Crafts; (iii) The Sons of Soubise, comprising the trades of Carpenters, Tylers and Plasterers. We have no definite information as to why the Hiramic Legend was adopted for the Third Degree and can only deduce an explanation from the known facts. 1. The first difficulty is that the Brethren concerned are long since dead and have left no written records, or at any rate, none have survived which give us any indication of their reasons for adopting the Legend. 2. As Bro. Douglas Knoop, the well-known English Masonic Historian pointed out, the origin of the Third Degree cannot be dated even approximately. 3. We do not know when the Hiramic Legend was introduced and therefore we cannot study the historical background of the period - because we do not know what period is concerned. 4. It seems probable, in accordance with what is known of the evolution of Masonic Ritual, that the Hiramic Legend was not adopted at any definite date, but evolved gradually over a long period. 5. It is generally accepted that the Craft had a Legend of some kind, at any rate as early as the latter part of the 17th Century but what it was is not known. 6. The Legend in its present form deals with Biblical and historical characters but mentions events found neither in the Bible nor in history. 7. It is definitely legend, but what finer Legend could we have than one which teaches the lessons of resurrection and Immortality and of Fidelity even unto death? I found this in the Transactions of the Masters' and Past Masters' Lodge.
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  2. It's now an old thread, but in case anyone else comes across the thread with the same question, Copydex. It's ideal as it's possible to peel an old badge off when you need to replace it after a promotion.
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