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Who is Hiram Abiff


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Hope some of these questions i am now posting aren't to silly, have said in one of my last posts that i do have quite a few questions trying to put them in some sort of logical order and can i just apologise if some of the questions i post have already been discussed (like last topic).

Basically my question is the title Who Is Hiram Abiff?

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Hiram is the central character of what is called the Hiramic legend. an integral part of the Master Mason ceremony. He illustrated certain characteristics which Master Masons should try to emulate.

Probably worth highlighting tht he is a legendary character, not a real one.

Here is some further reading:

http://www.themasonictrowel.com/ebooks/fm_freemasonry/Marsengill_-_The_Legend_of_Hiram_Abiff.pdf

http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/artfeb02/OLD%20LEGENDS%20OF%20HIRAM%20ABIFF.HTM

http://www.masonicdictionary.com/hiram.html

Having said that it has not stopped more imaginative people from trying to tie him down to actual historical and/or Biblical characters

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Alan Campbell (30/04/2010)
hiram abiff isn't, i have always thought that there must be more to this than just a made up story.




There is a view that the Hiram story is a veiled version of the killing of James the Just (brother of Jesus) who was apparently thrown down from the temple and killed by blows to the head with a fuller's club, after which all work stopped on the temple.



The theory is that James the Just (leader of the Jerusalem Church) has an importance not admitted in current versions of the Bible and so his memory is preserved in secret teachings.



See also The Hiram Key http://www.knight-lomas.com/hiramkey.html



and The Bible Fraud http://www.thebiblefraud.com/




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THere is Biblical authority for the existence of Hiram the Widow's Son but not for the traditional history as is in our Ritual. The various references for Hiram are :

1 Kings, Ch. 7 v. 13,14, also 15 to 30 and 46

II Chronicles, Ch. 2 v 13, Ch.4 v.16 The expression "did Huram his father make" is used when translating 'Hiram Abif'. Anderson insists that the man's name should be 'Hiram Abiff' and this was the name adopted for Masonic use. The Revised Standard Version uses 'Hiram Abi' while Martin Luther in 1556 had translated the Hebrew as 'Hiram Abif' and this also appears in the Coverdale Bible of 1535. Possibly one of these translations was the source of Anderson's statement



(Some of this is sourced from "THe Bible in Freemasonry" A Lewis Masonic publishers 1975)
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Hi Janus, would you mind expanding on the Egyptian connection a little, Egyptian history has been a passion of mine for many years, and there are a huge number of myths surrounding all of the Egyptian Deities.



The main theme with Osiris being that he was a fertility and vegetation Deity, constantly fighting his brother Set, who was jealous of him. Set killed Osiris and hid the body, Isis recovered it. After Isis had resurrected Osiris, Set killed him again, this time he dismembered him, cutting him into seven pieces. It is told that Isis could only find 6 of the pieces, and so fashioned the seventh out of wood. She then mated with the corpse of Osiris, and conceived Horus. Osiris then went on to become the God of the Underworld.



Not really sure where the Hiramic legend fits in here. Was it a Knight / Lomas book you read?
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Janus (02/05/2010)
I have not read books of Knight / Lomas. Are they any good?




My personal opinion is that the books are terrible works of fiction.



That is only my personal opinion and when in the past I said that "They lie like cheap Japanese watch" I caused offence so I am not going to say that now.



Personally I would stare at wallpaper for a few hours.
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I found that the Knight / Lomas books were interesting to read, but had to be taken with a pinch of salt, some of their claims are way into the grasping at straws category! I also noted that in early chapters they mentioned that "Case A" is a possibility, and then in later chapters they use "Case A" as definite proof to make a claim about "Case B" and so on. Some of the research is very good and some quite shoddy.



I like the idea of the Hiramic legend being based around the story of Noah as mentioned by Keith, there is a fair amount of circumstantial evidence to give at least some credence to it.
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Actually I think I may have said Chinese rather than Japanese last time. Anyway, I don't want to cause offence to any watchmakers so I will stick with saying you get what you pay for and cheap watches may be not as good as expensive ones.



I have some very nice watches and they are not all great at keeping the time. Equally Lomas and Knight are not great at keeping to the facts, or great at researching them...
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Thanks for the great link Janus,



As far as Knight and Lomas go I have read a few of their books and have a negative opinion of them for various reasons. However this is not a post on them...



Read the books, you may like them, you may not... :)
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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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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
Greeting brothers of the Craft

Hiram is more than just a great story with the existence of hiram Abiff there is no freemasonary. And to deny them is to deny the existence of king Solomon himself or Hiram King Tyre he his been recorded in biblical history as the widow's son. They dont speak about him because from the objective the building of king Solomons Temple.

travel light

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Hiram is more than just a great story with the existence of hiram Abiff there is no freemasonary.




Albert Mackey tells us that the ritual is merely the outer form of Masonry.



"He must not confound the doctrine of Freemasonry with its outward and extrinsic form. He must not suppose that certain usages and ceremonies, which exist at this day, but which, even now, are subject to extensive variations in different countries, constitute the sum and substance of Freemasonry. ..... But it must be always remembered that the ceremony is not the substance."



http://www.sacred-texts.com/mas/sof/sof03.htm


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  • 3 years later...
But isn't Hiram, King of Tyre still alive in the Hiramic legend, which would rather contradict him being the "Widow's son".

I suspect that the relatively anonymous Hiram Abif was chosen as the central character in the masonic legend for a very, very good reason. The system of Masonry is illustrated to us by allegory. If you chose a real historical character then people will dig in to that character's documented, historical life and put two and two together and make six. All sorts of speculation, opinion and commentary would then ensue which could distort or contradict the intended purpose of the original allegory.

It is the allegory and the lessons learned therefrom that is important to being a mason, not the story itself or its characters.
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Hiram Abiff is, as you say, part of the allegory any way: however one theory is that:

yes, he was a widow's son: but as often happened in those days (still does in parts of the middle east) if Hiram's father was someone close to Hiram King of Tyre (a trusted advisor or close family freind,) then when Hiram Abiff's father died. Hiram King of Tyre may have "Adopted" him. Often done by "Marrying" the widow - in an "administrative" way - and one reason why polygamy was allowed in some religions, to allow a man to "marry" his dead freinds' widows, to give them protection and stability.

So the (mythical?) Hiram Abiff could be both a widow's son, and have the status of Hiram King of Tyre's son by "Adoption".

Alternatively he might have been a nephew: The translations of the bible and other scriptures of the time from ancient (and various forms of) Hebrew, into Greek, Latin, and then to English, often skew the original wording, and sometimes, in many societies, words such a son, Nephew father, uncle, etc are either very similar, or interchangeable, and only distinguished by the sense and grammar of the sentence, which can easily be misinterpreted when translated
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  • 8 years later...
On 17/11/2013 at 08:36, Society of No-Homers said:

But isn't Hiram, King of Tyre still alive in the Hiramic legend, which would rather contradict him being the "Widow's son".

I suspect that the relatively anonymous Hiram Abif was chosen as the central character in the masonic legend for a very, very good reason. The system of Masonry is illustrated to us by allegory. If you chose a real historical character then people will dig in to that character's documented, historical life and put two and two together and make six. All sorts of speculation, opinion and commentary would then ensue which could distort or contradict the intended purpose of the original allegory.

It is the allegory and the lessons learned therefrom that is important to being a mason, not the story itself or its characters.

Do you ever read the Bible? Hiram, often spelt Huram, is the King of Tyre. Hiram, also called Huram is a separate person, the son of a widow of the tribe of Napthali, sent ot Solomon as he was a skilled craftsman in Brass.

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