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2008. november 1., szombat

CRFF Newsletter 31

University of Sheffield

The Centre for Research into Freemasonry
Newsletter 31
No. 31: OCTOBER 2008
October 29, Sheffield
Dear colleagues, dear friends!
This newsletter is an experiment as it is the first one to be sent out in html-format. We know that there are Email-applications that not will display the intended format correctly and we apologise for this. In case this happens, we would need your feedback.
1) Lecture Series
Our series of public lectures will continue until the next newsletter is issued with two lectures:
13th November: Ugur Ungor
University of Sheffield:
“When Armenians built Auschwitz: Notes on late Ottoman Freemasonry and Genocide”
27th November: Mangol Bayat
Independent Scholar, PhD UCLA
“The Grand Orient de France and the Constitutional Revolution in Iran, 1906 – 1911”
All lectures will take place in the HRI/CRFF building at 34 Gell Street in S3 7QY Sheffield every second Monday starting on October 2 at 17.15 followed by questions and refreshments.
2) Film Series • The Scottish Key, British Premiere November 10
Our film series will continue with the screening of the documentary “The Scottish Key”. We are happy to inform that we have prof Andrew Prescott and the producer François de Smet as well as Robert Cooper, curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, as confirmed participants on the panel following the screening.
The Scottish Key, An Investigation into the Origins of Freemasonry:
An enigmatic and mysterious topic, subject to allegations and fantasies of all sorts. Spread across the globe, this discrete and mysterious association has been a source of curiosity, fascination and suspicion for over 300 years. Today Freemasonry gathers several millions of people throughout the world. Protected from the outside world, from which they isolate themselves for the length of an evening, freemasons meet in lodges and there develop a peculiar spirituality. How was this movement born? Are its origins veiled in secrecy? Even amidst its own members, few know the actual beginnings of Freemasonry. The lodges themselves have forgotten from whence they came. For the first time, based on the most recent findings, a critical documentary investigates the question of the origins of Freemasonry. What are its links with the Knights Templar? Are they the descendants of stone masons from the Middle Ages? How did the first lodges come to be? Take an esoteric road of unsolved mysteries, starting in England in the 18th century. Discover the events that led to the creation of the Grand Lodge of London in 1717. Ascertain the true ambitions of the men who launched this incredible adventure, and how the most intriguing fraternal society of modern times was born. Explore the centuries old stone mason lodges and their ties to the birth of Freemasonry in London. See how these men were inspired by their secular rites such as the mason’s word and the art of memory. Find out the roots of Freemasonry in Scotland, and the real influence of the Middle Ages.
A report on the screening and discussion of “Forces Occultes” follows below. Worth mentioning is also that the film series generated press coverage in local and national UK press. The Times Higher Education (circulation 20 000) inserted an article titled “Fraternal Forces”, The Yorkshire Post (circulation 50 000) with the title “Freemason films are food for thought” and the Sheffield Telegraph (similar circulation) with “University presents rare insight into freemasonry”.
3) Journal for Research into Freemasonry & Fraternalism: Reminder of Deadline November 15
Please visit the website www.equinoxjournals.com/ojs/index.php/JRFF for more information about submissions.
4) CRFF newsletter survey: analysis
Results and Web presence
We want to thank those of you who have replied to our survey on the newsletter. This helps us to develop it further. All together, we received 63 replies. Based upon the survey we have decided to go forward with the development of the format. As far as dissemination is concerned, the survey suggests that our newsletter (around 1700 subscribers in total) seems to reach at least another 8 000 recipients through forwarding and posting on various websites and blogs. We encourage you to continue so and to spread the newsletter through all available channels! Another strategy during the last month has been to raise our web-presence. The centre runs a Facebook-group, has now a flickr-account and an entry in Wikipedia. We are also happy to announce that we have created an own blog, accessible under crffsheffield.blogspot.com/
The majority are “old subscribers”, being on the list for more than 12 months.
50% are satisfied and 40 % very satisfied with the content.
50% never forward the newsletter; the other half does so occasionally (27%) or regularly (22%).
Second impact
If forwarded, the newsletter mostly reaches up to another 10 recipients (77%), up to 50 recipients (17%) or even more than 100 recipients (7%).
Publication on websites/blogs
Around 10% publish the newsletter occasionally or regularly on their websites/blogs.
The majority of theses sites have reach out to more than 200 people.
A clear majority of 70% stated they were able to receive a newsletter in html-format. Many stated that the format was less important than the content and suggested that the newsletter should be issued in different formats (plain text Email, pdf, html).
5) Conference participation
The Director CRFF has participated in a number of events during the last month. During October, Dr. Önnerfors participated with a paper at the annual conference of the German Society for Eighteenth Century Studies in Bonn/Germany and in a large international congress “The practice of knowledge and the figure of the savant in the 18th century” in Bern/Switzerland with a paper entitled “Geheime Gelehrte, Gelehrtes Geheimnis: zum Verhältnis zwischen gelehrter Kultur und Freimaurerei im 18. Jahrhundert“. The paper was very well received by leading 18th century scholars. At the annual CMMC conference, Dr. Önnerfors presented a paper on “The Concept of Science in the Imagination of European Freemasonry”. A report of the CMMC event will be published in the next issue of the newsletter.
During November, the CRFF will be represented at the large conference “The Expression of Freemasonry: its oratory, poetry, music, literature, art and architecture.” in The Hague/The Netherlands. Dr. Önnerfors will present a keynote lecture entitled. “The Power of the Un-outspoken: do we really understand Performance?”. More information on this event is to be found on www.ovnnews.blogspot.com/ For registration, please contact f.m.conference.leiden08@gmail.com
6) News from the Masonic world
• John Wade, who has been associated with the Sheffield centre for a long time, will undergo his Viva Voce later this year. He has been appointed UGLE Prestonian lecturer for 2009 on the topic “Go thou and do likewise: English Masonic Processions from the 18th to the 20th Centuries”. Parts of the research in preparation for this lecture will be carried out at the centre.
• 2008 Cornerstone Society Conference
The Cornerstone Society is pleased to announce preliminary details of its 2008 Conference, "Quest for the Lost Word", which will be held at Freemasons’ Hall, London on Saturday 29th November, with registration starting at 12.45 pm. The Speakers will be: Professor John Grange, “With the Centre”; Professor Thierry Zarcone (CNRS, Paris), “Muslim Fascination with Freemasonry: Historic and Ritualistic Perspectives”; Miss Pauline Chakmakjian (University of Wales, Lampeter), "Japanese Spirituality and Esoteric Freemasonry"; Dr Henrik Bogdan (Gothenburg University) “The Quest for the Lost Word” and Tom Bergroth (Grand Marshall of the Swedish Order) “The Swedish Rite”. Tickets are £16.50 per person for the Conference only (with light refreshments).
You can book securely on line by following this link. Alternatively, fill in this form on your computer, print it off and send it with your payment and a stamped addressed envelope to the address below.
For further information, email secretary@cornerstonesociety.com or write to Mark St John Qualter, Secretary, The Cornerstone Society, 13 Victoria Road, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire FY8 1LE, enclosing a SAE. Cheques made payable please to “The Cornerstone Society”.
7) Report on the screening of Forces Occultes Monday 13th October 2008 by Michael R. Taylor, MA-student
In conjunction with The Showroom Cinema in Sheffield the Centre held the first ever UK screening of a sub-titled version of the anti-masonic French film ‘Forces Occultes’.
Shot in 1942, the film was first shown in Paris in the spring of 1943 and it is reputed to have played to a very wide audience. It tells the story of Pierre Avenel, a member of parliament or ‘Chambre de Députés’ who comes to the attention of a small group of Freemasons who are also MP’s and who recruit him into their Lodge. From the very beginning the film is at pains to make sure that the audience is aware of the ‘authenticity’ of the scenes which they are about to witness. Before any of the action takes place we are informed that opening scene was filmed in the Chambre de Députés itself and the makers of the film even went to the lengths of engaging actors who resembled well-known politicians of the 1930’s in France. Avenel’s initiation into the Lodge is shown in great detail and with, we are told at the end, great fidelity to the text of the ceremony being depicted and thus the blurring of fact and fiction in the mind of the audience is reinforced by the director.
Avenel quickly finds himself approached by members of the Lodge who want to take advantage of his position as a member of parliament to extract little favours. These men are portrayed as greedy, venal and corrupt; using membership of the lodge as a way of gaining favours from men well placed to help them and abusing the oath sworn by the newly made brother to their own advantage. And of course a good many of them are stereotypically represented as being Jewish.
All the misgivings expressed by Avenel’s wife at the outset of his journey into the world of Freemasons are seen to be well founded and Avenel finds himself at odds with the Worshipful Master of his own Lodge over a vote to be taken in parliament; all this after we have been shown the extent of the corrupt influence of MP’s who manipulate the membership of a committee of inquiry in order to further their own nefarious ends. For it is made clear to the audience that freemasonry is working to its own agenda and that its power and influence are not confined to a few elected parliamentarians but that it can use them control the press, the armed forces and even the aviation industry.
Eventually, Avenel having decided to resign from the Lodge, an attempt on his life is made at the instigation of one his own brethren. He somehow survives the assault and is restored to life and sanity by his loving wife who remains at his side as his strength and comfort in time of need.
The underlying message of this propaganda film that is fiction masquerading as documentary fact is that all of this is in vain since the Masons achieve their goal by bringing about the war against Nazi-Germany which but for them would never have occurred. The worldwide Judeo-masonic conspiracy is shown to be truly as evil as anyone ever imagined it to be the suppression of the brotherhood and extermination of the Jews is wholly justified.
The film was introduced to the audience by Dr. Andreas Önnerfors, director of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism. Following the showing there was a discussion led a panel of academic staff from the University of Sheffield (Dean of Faculty of Arts & Humanities, prof Phil Powrie, prof Tim Baycroft, PhD-student Jen Ferrar) which allowed many aspects of the film, its history and context within the period of the Nazi occupation and Vichy government as well as the quality of the film itself and the role of the producer, the director and the script writer to be examined by the audience.
This innovative event was well attended and clearly appreciated by the members of the audience who were not drawn only from within freemasonry itself but a from a variety of backgrounds and across a broad age range; which bodes well for the success of the next film to be screened at the Showroom, “The Scottish Key” which is to shown on Monday 10th of November at 6:30 pm.
8) New Working Paper
We are about to publish our Working Paper No. 4 by PhD-student Ricardo Martinez Esquivel entitled Masonic Societies of Ideas and their Social Representations in Costa Rica (1865-1899). Please look out on our website.

© 2008 The University of Sheffield

Dr. Andreas Önnerfors
Director / Senior Lecturer in History
Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism
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: www.freemasonry.dept.shef.ac.uk/
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