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MAGI Reviews

Solomon's Builders

Season 1, Ep. 16

MAGI reviews Christopher Hodapp's Solomon's Builders. This 1999 book has been overshadowed by the author's other book, Freemasons for Dummies, but that doesn't mean it's not worth reading. Solomon's Builders is easy to read and informative... but how close does it hew to the truth?

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  • 20. Season One Recap

    12:31
    MAGI launched three months ago, with a lofty vision for our work. Since 1982 and the publication of The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail, hundreds of bookshave been published about Freemasonry… not counting others that discuss subjects which have come to be associated with the Craft, such as the Knights Templar, Rosslyn Chapel, and the Illuminati. These sensationalist publications and productions are a modern phenomena. For over 300 years much has been written about Freemasonry, but it was mainly done so by Freemasons for Freemasons, or by their critics.Today, Freemasonry, as an institution, finds itself in a most curious position: non-Masons are writing about it, and the principal customers for most of these unreliable books are Freemasons. It is now apparent that because Freemasonry does not defend or promote itself in the publishing world, or on the internet, writers are free to produce anything they wish about the Craft.As a result, Freemasons’ own research about their fraternity is distorted by publications, videos, and websites that are produced by non-Masons, anti-Masons, and assorted lunatics. Unfortunately, Masonic organizations often give these products equal standing with academic-quality publications, simply because there is no way to tell the difference.It is for this reason that we created a professional guild for those who research, write, edit, and publish materials related to Freemasonry. Membership is by invitation only, and offered only to those who meet or exceed the guild’s standards, which are modeled on those of professional associations and journals like the Organization of American Historians or The Journal of Scottish History.Did MAGI achieve its aims? Do listeners find our podcasts interesting? What will be in season two? There’s only one way to find out!
  • 19. Fact and Opinion: What Is the Difference? Is There Any?

    15:08
    Discerning between Fact and Opinion is a critical skill... and it's a skill that more than a few do not understand. This this episode the MAGI discuss the importance of this skill, and how it relates to Freemasonry.
  • 18. Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry

    17:45
    John J. Robinson's 1989 book captured the attention of Freemasons around the world. His popular approach to the history of Freemasonry was romantic, novel and different from all that had gone before. In this episode, the MAGI consider not only this book's premises, but the 35 years of research that have been published since. How does Born in Blood measure up? Listen in to find out!
  • 17. The Craft: How Freemasons Made the Modern World

    18:58
    Professor John Dickie's book is sub-titled 'How the Freemasons made the Modern World'... which should catch the attention of Freemasons of the world - the modern world, that is. Setting aside the obvious hype, MAGI reviews this book in its usual unemotional style. Our review covers the book's main themes and its approach to the history of Freemasonry, and highlights some of more unusual aspects of the history of Freemasonry. Hint: Dickie specializes in Italian history, including (inevitably) the Mafia. Is the book worth reading? Yes. To find out exactly why, check out this episode!
  • 15. The Brotherhood: The Secret World of the Freemasons

    19:49
    MAGI reviews Stephen Knight's The Brotherhood: The Secret World of the Freemasons. This book attempts to pull the curtain back on British Freemasonry, and posits that the Craft has an out-sized impact on the world around it.
  • 14. Who are "Famous" Freemasons?

    15:30
    Freemasons in general don't define what a "Famous Freemason" is, what makes a Freemason "famous," or whether or not these so called Famous Freemasons consider themselves to be famous or whether that title has been 'forced' upon them (wanted or not). In this episode MAGI discusses definitions of the word 'famous' and how they might be applied to Freemasons. Certainly an interesting Masonic topic, and quite different from a book review!
  • 13. Colonial Freemasonry

    12:35
    MAGI reviews Wes Cook's Colonial Freemasonry, published in 1974. This book claims to answer questions like: what is the oldest Masonic Lodge in North America? What is the difference, if any, between Ancient and Modern lodges in America? Why do Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Georgia all make claims to important Masonic history? It is popular history, with more than 13 contributors all reciting the history of Freemasonry in their state, and published by the Missouri Lodge of Research.
  • 12. Freemasonry: The Study of a Phenomenon

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    MAGI Reviews Alexander Piatgorsky's Freemasonry: The Study of a Phenomenon, originally titled Who’s Afraid of Freemasonry? First published in 1997, and reprinted in 1999 by Harvill Press, London. This substantial book of 398 pages is divided into four parts: Introduction, History, Ritual and Mythology, and a Conclusion. Although this is a history of Freemasonry, Piatgorsky’s approaches the subject from two angles: philosophy and the Craft a cultural phenomenon, not an institution.