Save the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica !

The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam is one of the most renowned international study collections for scholars of western esotericism, including freemasonry. Unfortunately, the library is under threat of closure and sale by a bank. The OVN Foundation supports the petition to save the library, online at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ritmanlibrary/. Click on the link for more information on the issue. The petition is an initiative of the Chair for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam, whose students and scholars have been researching the collection of the BPH for more than 10 years. Thank you for your support!

Online resources

The Institute for the study of German Aristocracy has published a list of aristocrats who were freemasons some time ago. In order to advertise it, the Institute has made a ‘taster’ available online: a list of aristocrats who were a member of the lodge Zu den drei Weltkugeln since 1817. You can access it through this link: http://home.foni.net/~adelsforschung/freim01.htm

- The Quatuor Coronati Lodge has updated its website for the Ars Quatuor Coronati research journal. The site offers various sample articles from past editions as downloads: http://quatuorcoronati.com/knowledge/aqc-downloads/.

- The Digital Library of Dutch Literature (DBNL)is a vast database with digitalised versions of publications and journals from the Netherlands. A recent addition is a large number of volumes of the journal of the working group for 18th century studies in the Netherlands (Documentatieblad Werkgroep Achttiende Eeuw), which includes several articles on freemasonry.

Update on the Cultural Masonic Centre

The Order of Freemasons under the Grand East of the Netherlands has updated its plans for the Cultural Masonic Centre (CMC) in The Hague.
As discussed earlier on this blog, the Order originally intended to move the CMC's collection to a location elsewhere in the Netherlands, which sparked a controversy. The plan was opposed by many scholars and heritage professionals, including the OVN Foundation, which appealed to the lodges and the heritage sector to allow the CMC's collection to remain within its historical and academic context in The Hague.
The Order has now announced that it will be reconsidering two options:
- remaining in The Hague with both the administrative chair and the CMC, because the historical ties to the city are a strong argument,
- relocating to the lodge building in Amsterdam, because this is already being renovated in order to attract a third party as co-resident.
The OVN hopes that the loges will now make good use of the wide support and interest expressed by the local heritage sector in cooperating on a suitable proposal for the old, or a new location in The Hague. The final decision will be made by the Order in june 2012, but a progress report is expected for the yearly meeting of lodges in june 2011.

The Philanthropy Files

The Museum and Library of Freemasonry in London is hosting The Philanthropy Files: records of charities and their uses, the annual conference of the British Records Association (BRA) on 7 December 2010. The programme includes speakers, both archivists and academic historians, on various aspects of charity history. As Archivist and Records Manager and a British Records Association Council member, Susan Snell will be contributing an overview of Masonic involvement in philanthropy, highlighting records available for research at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry. Please do not contact the Library and Museum if you would like to attend this conference - for registration see the BRA website: http://www.britishrecordsassociation.org.uk/pages/events.htm

Freemasons and Enlightenment: radicalism contested?

The Research Centers for the Study of Freemasonry (FREE) and the Study of the Enlightenment (VERL) at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) are organizing an international conference on the theme of Freemasons and Enlightenment: radicalism contested? on 9-10 December 2010. Speakers include:

- The Enlightenment and Freemasonry: A Critical Enquiry, Prof. Dr. Margaret Jacob, University of California, United States
- L’illusion radicale – La 'camera obscura' des Lumières, Prof. Dr. Charles Porset, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France
- Radicalisme d'origine ou malentendu fondateur? La franc-maçonnerie dans les premiers pamphlets anti-maçonniques (1738-1742), Prof. Dr. Roger Dachez,
Université Paris III - Denis Diderot, France
- Russian freemasonry: A peculiar mixture of Aufklärung and Erleuchtung, Dr. Ton de Kok, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Libre pensée et idée de Lumières dans la Nahdha arabe: Le cas d’Adib Ishaq (1856-1884), Prof. Dr. Abdelaziz Labib, Université de Tunis El-Manar, Tunisia
- The Radical Enlightenment's Critique of Freemasonry: from Lessing to Mirabeau, Prof. Dr. Jonathan Israel, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, United States'
English freemasonry during the Enlightenment: how radical, how conservative?, Prof. Dr. Cécile Revauger, Université Michel de Montaigne-Bordeaux 3, France
- Les Illuminés de Bavière, une franc-maçonnerie "radicale"?, Prof. Dr. Jean Mondot, Université Michel de Montaigne-Bordeaux 3, France
- Cosmopolitanism versus conflicting local and national identities in the Habsburg territories. Masonic networks and their political involvement under Joseph II, Dr. Tristan Coignard, Université Michel de Montaigne-Bordeaux 3, France
- Enlightenment, either way!, Drs. Gerard Bonneke, Nijmegen, Netherlands
- Radicalism and Extremism are mutually exclusive, Prof. Dr. Ludo Abicht, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Registration fee: € 30,- (students € 15,-), incl. lunch. Registration deadline: 1 December 2010 (by e-mail to: Kees.Veenstra@vub.ac.be, stating name and number of persons). More information: http://www.vub.ac.be/freemasons-and-enlightenment/

Fellowships and Awards

ESSWE PhD prize
Nominations are invited for the second biennial ESSWE PhD Thesis prize, awarded by the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism.

The prize will be given for an outstanding PhD thesis completed between 1 January 2009 and 1 March 2011 on any aspect of Western Esotericism.
The prizewinner will receive an award of € 500,- and a certificate, to be presented at the ESSWE conference in Szeged, Hungary 6-10 July 2011. The thesis will also be recommended for publication in the ARIES Book Series.
Nominations must be made by electronic mail to the Chair of the Prize Committee, Andreas Kilcher (ETH, Zürich, akilcher@ethz.ch) by 1 March 2011. More information on the ESSWE website:  http://www.esswe.org/news_detail.php?news_id=59

Fellowship UCLA
The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the California Masonic Foundation has announced a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA from September 1, 2011 through August 31, 2012. The position is open to a recent Ph.D. with a strong interest in the history of civil society, fraternalism and freemasonry. This postdoctoral fellow will teach two courses in either American (North or South) or European or African history with emphasis on Freemasonry. The course will be designed in consultation with Prof. Margaret C. Jacob, Distinguished Professor of History. A $50,000 stipend, office space for the nine-month period, and a modest relocation fee will be provided. The postdoctoral fellow must remain in residence while classes are in session. For more information about the program visit: http://www.freemasonryandcivilsociety.ucla.edu/
Applicants should submit a CV and three letters of recommendation to Prof. Margaret Jacob, Bunche Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095 by January 10, 2011. UCLA is an AA/EOE. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

Essay award
The Masonic Study Center Reward Fernando Pessoa is annually attributed and is destined to reward authors of academic essays or other research into freemasonry. Contributions may be written in in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish. Deadline is 22 December 2010. More information: alvaro.carva at cgd.pt. [With thanks to Andreas Onnerfors]

New publications

- Harald Schrefler, Der Papst und die Freimaurer. Ein wissenschaftlicher Diskurs, (Edition zum rauhen Stein, Vol. 13) Studien Verlag, Innsbruck 2010, ISBN 978-3-7065-4991-2, 352 pages, € 33,-. The Catholic Church has opposed freemasonry since the founding of lodges in the 18th century. This book tries to answer why, and discusses the views of both prominent freemasons and clerics on the subject.

- Petri Mirala, 'Masonic sociability and its limitations: the case of Ireland', in: James Kelly & Martyn J. Powell (eds.), Clubs and Societies in Eighteenth-Century Ireland, Four Courts Press, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-84682-229-2, 496 pages, € 49,50.

- James Stevens Curl, Freemasonry & the Enlightenment: Architecture, Symbols and Influences, ISBN 978-1-905286-45-4, ca. 384 pages, Historical Publications, to appear in 2010. The book is a follow up to The Art & Architecture of Freemasonry (1991) and expands on this theme. For information on the pre-subscription offer: richardson@historicalpublications.co.uk.

- Papeles de Masoneria IV, CIEM, Zaragosa 2010, € 12,-. This issue is dedicated to the present situation of freemasonry in the world: it is subject to all manner of pressures, which urge it towards a self-analysis before choosing for tradition or modernity.

- Not an new publication, but well worth mentioning, is: Darius A. Spieth, Napoleon's Sorcerers: The SophisiansUniversity of Delaware Press 2007, ISBN: 978-0-87413-957-0, € 65,-. During Napoleon's rule, masonic circles in France invented rituals that allegedly first took place in the temple structures of ancient Egypt. This book looks at the cultural environment and intellectual background of one such a pseudo-Egyptian secret society, the Sacred Order of the Sophisians. Founded in Paris in 1801, the Sophisian Order initially catered to veteran military leaders, Egyptologists, scientists, writers, and artists who had joined Napoleon's Egyptian campaign (1798-1801). Soon the order branched out to attract new adepts from the world of the Parisian stage. The book includes illustrations from the Golden Book, a richly illuminated manuscript envisioned by Marie-Nicolas Ponce-Camus (a student of Jacques-Louis David). Underground mazes, cave settings, pyramids, and temple structures feature as theatrical settings to re-create Ancient Egyptian initiation practices.

- Andrew Pink, 'A music club for freemasons: Philo-musicae et -architecturae societas Apollini', London, 1725-1727, Early Music 2010, available online here.

- On his blog, Herkauwer, mentions 'A new type of lodge? (1781)', referring to a publication  by a (para-masonic?) order: Liederen der Orde van St. Peter voor de loge Prudentia. Amsterdam, Gedrukt voor de loge. 1781 (Songs of the Order of St. Peter for the lodge Prudentia, Amsterdam, printed for the lodge, 1781).