When Alexander built the city of Alexandria in Egypt, with the intention of making it the seat of his empire, he invited thither learned men from all nations, who brought with them their peculiar notions. The Alexandria School of Philosophy which was thus established, by the commingling of Orientalists, Jews, Egyptians, and Greeks, became eclectic in character, and exhibited a heterogeneous mixture of the opinions of the Egyptian priests, of the Jewish Rabbis, of Arabic teachers, and of the disciples of Plato and Pythagoras.
From this school we derive Gnosticism and the Cabala, and, above all, the system of symbolism and allegory which lay at the foundation of the Masonic philosophy. To no ancient sect, indeed, except perhaps the Pythagoreans, have the Masonic teachers been so much indebted for the substance of their doctrines, as well as the esoteric method of communicating them, as to that of the School of Alexandria. Both Aristobulus and Philo, the two most celebrated chiefs of this school, taught, although a century intervened between their births, the same , theory, that the sacred writings of the Hebrews were, by their system of allegories, the true source of all religious and philosophic doctrine, the literal meaning of which alone was for the common people, the esoteric or hidden meaning being kept for the initiated. Freemasonry still carries into practice the same theory.
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
- BROTHER ISAAC NEWTON
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Larkspur CO 80118
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