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2008. március 25., kedd

Nevet készül változtatni a Sheffieldi Egyetem Szabadkőműves tanulmányok központja

A Sheffieldi Egyetem Szabadkőműves tanulmányok központja komolyan fontolgatja nevének megváltoztatását, hogy a szabadkőművesség kutatását bővebb keretbe helyezve, a testvéri mozgalmak vizsgálatának részeként folytathassa.

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No. 25: MARCH 2008

Dear colleagues and friends

First, I want to apologise for the gap between the last newsletter, issued in January, and this newsletter. The Centre has had a very busy period of activity but now we are more or less on track again. I want to take the opportunity to inform you about recent and forthcoming events.

1) The first Lecture of the new director: “The Press between the Private and the Public: Freemasonry as a Topic in 18th-Century newspapers”

A lecture took place on 13th March, marking the start of the new directorship of the Centre. Dr. Andreas Önnerfors presented a comparative analysis of the two major masonic journals Journal für Freymaurer (1782-1786) and Freemasons’ Magazine (1792-1798). This survey, carried out for the first time, revealed interesting parallels in the content and general character of these publications and added further evidence to the fact that freemasonry, in spite of its assumed secrecy, had a large interface with public space as represented by the press or public events such as processions or concerts. The paper was recorded in digital format and will soon be made available on the new website of the centre. The subject will also form the basis for a larger research project on the topic of freemasonry and the 18th century press in Europe.

2) New staff member

As reported earlier, the centre has recruited a new staff member, a Research Support Coordinator. Dorothe Sommer, originally from southern Germany, where she also studied Politics of the Middle East and General Rhetoric, received her M.A. at Tel Aviv University. The subject of her thesis was the lodges of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in Syria and Lebanon at the end of the Ottoman Period. Besides her administrative duties at the Centre and the Humanities Research Institute, Dorothe is currently doing research for her PhD on all European lodges during the same time span in these two countries. Feel free to contact Dorothe under d.sommer@sheffield.ac.uk

3) Name change

Following discussions with its advisory committee, the Centre is seriously considering a change in its name. As a “Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism”, we believe that we shall generate a wider appeal for the area of research and that we shall more effectively stress the interrelationship between the phenomenon of associational life at large and freemasonry in particular.

4) M.A. in the History of Freemasonry and Fraternalism

The change of the name of the centre, awaiting approval from university authorities, is already mirrored in the title of the M.A. to be launched later this year.

Please help us to spread the word about this M.A.-program by posting the following link to any potentially interested students and scholars.

As the first program ever devoted to postgraduate studies in this area of research, it is of key importance for the recruitment of a future generation of researchers and also plays a crucial role for the transfer of knowledge from academia to fraternal organisations themselves.

If you are interested in studying for this degree, or know about somebody who might be, let us know. We are also developing a distance-learning M.A. for next year (2009-2010) and are always keen to promote academic study and research in the area.

5) Seminar series

The Centre will soon advertise the start of its public seminar series. For the autumn of 2008, we plan to arrange a couple of lectures devoted to the topic “Freemasonry and Fraternalism in the Middle East”, focussing upon associational life and its connections with the spirit of the age in various Middle Eastern countries in different periods.


A Call for Papers for the 2nd International Conference on the History of Freemasonry and Fraternalism in Edinburgh, May 2009 will be issued very soon. Please follow the development of the conference website http://www.ichfonline.org/main.htm
7) Report from the GODF-seminar “Can Freemasonry be Secular?” in London 2nd February 2008

By invitation of the Grand Orient de France freemasons in the UK, a public scholarly seminar took place in London 2nd of February. Three well-known scholars in the area, Professor Andrew Prescott (former director of the CRF), Professor Jeffrey Tyssens and Pierre Mollier treated the topic from different national angles. The following abstracts give an impression of the general outline of the event that unfortunately not was very well attended but proved that scholarly discussions on freemasonry form the basis for understanding its shared European roots.

‘Priest-wrought and law-protected’? Approaches to the History of Secularism and Laïcité in Great Britain 
 Andrew Prescott

Laïcité is a French concept that has no exact translation in English. It is a term used to describe the movement to ensure the separation of church and state. The fact that this French word is not used in English might be taken as meaning that the concept has also failed to take root in Britain. However, we nevertheless think of modern Britain as a secular society. In France, Freemasonry has been at the vanguard of the movement for the separation of church and state. In the nineteenth century, a number of British radicals who thought the influence of the church in British life a bad thing were also interested in how far Freemasonry in the French tradition might be used to advance the secularisation of the British society. The best known of these radicals was the atheist Charles Bradlaugh. This paper explores how far the nineteenth-century British free-thought movement was related to parallel movements abroad, and argues that this historic dimension is important in understanding modern issues of multi-culturalism and religious tolerance.

History of Belgium's Freemasonry Progress and Secularism / Jeffrey Tyssens

Belgian Freemasonry is a typical example of what is sometimes referred to as “Latin” freemasonry. In its confrontation with Roman Catholic clericalism, Belgian lodges developed a militant anticlerical stance at an early stage and became essential actors in liberal politics and secular counterculture. Eventually, they also became the locus where more radical ideas –socialist or even anarchist– could be discussed. If this political militancy faded away, they retained their character of thought societies with a distinctive secular flavour.

The social impact of French Freemasonry over three centuries: a global approach 
Pierre Mollier

One of the most important debates in French masonic historiography concerns freemasonry's contribution to the broader development of French social and political life. As a large number of masons were active in French politics between 1880 and 1940, historians and the general public in France have tended to assume that masonry has been, and is still, deeply involved with social and political affairs. It is therefore necessary to enquire: when did French freemasonry first develop this image and to what extent did freemasonry's many political adherents carry their masonic ideals into the public arena? Was this the outcome of historical development brought about by historical circumstance, or is there something more deeply rooted within the French craft, inherited from its earliest years?

Quoted from http://logehiram.com/conf-eng/

Andreas Önnerfors

Sheffield, 28th March 2008
Dr. Andreas Önnerfors
Director / Senior Lecturer in History
Centre for Research into Freemasonry
34, Gell Street
Sheffield S3 7QY
United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 9893
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 98 94
Email: a.onnerfors@sheffield.ac.uk
Website: http://www.freemasonry.dept.shef.ac.uk/
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