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Where Did the 3rd Degree Originate?

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posted on May, 16 2007 @ 02:52 PM
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After some research I have discovered that the 3rd degree in Blue Lodge Masonry was not originally worked in England, and the MM degree apeared at some point in the mid 18th century. Can anyone help explain why?




posted on May, 16 2007 @ 02:57 PM
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And just to satisfy my curiosity, What about the term "giving someone the third degree: as in the police questioning someone very harshly? Was this taken from questions asked of Masons during rites, as I have heard?

Sorry for being a bit off topic, but I am always eager to pin down new facts.



posted on May, 16 2007 @ 09:47 PM
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Originally posted by bigred1000
After some research I have discovered that the 3rd degree in Blue Lodge Masonry was not originally worked in England, and the MM degree apeared at some point in the mid 18th century. Can anyone help explain why?

Hi bigred

The 3rd degree and the Master Masons degree are in actual fact the same thing, and you are quite right that back in the 18th century only two degrees were worked, but at some point during that century a third was introduced by expanding the two existing ones


In 1730, masonic ritual having been learned parrot-fashion up until then was widely published for the first time in Prichard’s exposure entitled Masonry Dissected. Ritual prior to that point followed a two-degree system and took the form of a combination of catechisms, some simplified symbolism and the Old Charges (see Jones and Hamer's The Early Masonic Catechisms edited by Henry Carr). Some historians (eg Murray Lyon) believe that this two-tier degree system was expanded when Desaguliers (Grand Master in 1719) wrote the Third Degree and grew again when Laurence Dermott (probably) introduced the Fourth (ie Royal Arch) Degree in 1752.


I'm not sure what the exact reason was, and my masonic books are still in storage so I can't answer this more specifically, but maybe some bright spark will come along and illuminate us



posted on May, 16 2007 @ 10:04 PM
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Didnt the Antient York Masons use the Royal Arch as a third degree for a while ? Let me Thumb through Mr Mackeys tomes and see what I can find.



posted on May, 16 2007 @ 10:20 PM
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Originally posted by NGC2736
And just to satisfy my curiosity, What about the term "giving someone the third degree: as in the police questioning someone very harshly? Was this taken from questions asked of Masons during rites, as I have heard?

Despite urban legend, this is not a masonic phrase (or at least not originally) but instead I believe it refers to the three degrees of torture imposed on 'heretics' during the Spanish Inquisition.


If it came to torture, the options were as fertile as the fevered inquisitors' imaginations. The first stage of torture was the mere displaying of the instruments newly-forged just for the occasion to the prisoner; the second was heating them up in front of the poor wretch. Only then, in the "third degree," would they be actually applied to flesh. The questioning would be methodical but devious, and woe to any unfortunate soul about whose answers the secretary noted, "the inquisitor was not satisfied."



posted on May, 16 2007 @ 10:52 PM
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Actualy the 3rd degree as you stated refers to the proof of truth... As it refers in masonic terms it can been seen as being found honorable or right... Only those worthy can expirence the 3rd so to speak. In theory.

So giving the 3rd degree would mean due trail and worthy validation of truth if passed.



posted on May, 16 2007 @ 11:19 PM
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Thanks to both of you, though the facts are still not reconciled. But, I very much am indebted for knowing that my WAG was within the 50/50 range.


I will follow along as I expect a hocky game to break out.



posted on May, 17 2007 @ 07:41 AM
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Originally posted by NGC2736
And just to satisfy my curiosity, What about the term "giving someone the third degree: as in the police questioning someone very harshly? Was this taken from questions asked of Masons during rites, as I have heard?



Yes, according to the QPB Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins.

In order to receive the Third Degree in Masonry, the Candidate traditionally is required to memorize a catechism, which consists of a long set of questions and answers. He then is questioned in open Lodge, and repeats the answers in order to prove his knowledge of the Craft. Therefore, "giving the third degree" became synonymous with intense questioning.



posted on May, 17 2007 @ 07:43 AM
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Originally posted by RWPBR
Didnt the Antient York Masons use the Royal Arch as a third degree for a while ? Let me Thumb through Mr Mackeys tomes and see what I can find.


The Antients used a small portion of the Royal Arch as part of the Master's degree, but saved the bulk of the degree for Past Masters.



posted on May, 17 2007 @ 07:45 AM
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Originally posted by bigred1000
After some research I have discovered that the 3rd degree in Blue Lodge Masonry was not originally worked in England, and the MM degree apeared at some point in the mid 18th century. Can anyone help explain why?


The cause of the appearance of the third degree is actually unknown. It is assumed that the ceremony was loosely based on the mysteries of antiquity.



posted on May, 17 2007 @ 08:34 AM
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I may have it wrong, but I remember that before J. R. Robinson's research, it was believed by most historians that Masonry came from the medieval craft guilds of dry stoneworkers.

The claim was made that as masonry became more "seculative," (ceremonial and moral instead of construction-oriented), the third degree was developed to round out the pageant of becoming a mason.

The world of ancient israel as imagined by masonry looks a lot more like enlightenment age England . . .

.



posted on May, 17 2007 @ 12:29 PM
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Yes and you must admit JR Robinsons book Born In Blood does cast some serious doubts on Freemasonrys supossed "oppertive mason" beginnings.

If not proof it is one hell of a coincidence.



posted on May, 17 2007 @ 01:37 PM
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Good question.

In the beginning there was only the EA & FC degrees. As stated they added the 3rd degree later on and soon it became the norm.

From what I understand (and I can be wrong) the EA & FC were the workers in the building of King Solomon's Temple the MM basically watched over them and over saw the work. The EA and FC had to prove their proficiency when moving up in the quarry's.

Cory



posted on May, 17 2007 @ 11:56 PM
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The third degree is very complex as worked today. Could it have developed from as a side degree first? Or could it have been a precursor for the Royal Arch? (Similar to the Past Master degree in the American York Rite)



posted on May, 18 2007 @ 12:28 PM
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Originally posted by corsig


From what I understand (and I can be wrong) the EA & FC were the workers in the building of King Solomon's Temple the MM basically watched over them and over saw the work. The EA and FC had to prove their proficiency when moving up in the quarry's.



Actually, this was almost certainly not the case with the Temple builders. The evidence strongly suggests that the birth of the degree system occured in medieval England, where the guild conferred two degrees: Apprentice and Journeyman. The title of Master Mason was given to those of the Journeyman degree who had proven their skills through the production of a master's piece, but at that time the title of Master Mason was honorary, and did not constitute its own independent degree.

The origin of an actual degree of Master Mason can be found in London in the early 18th century, when also the title of the Journeyman degree was changed to Fellow Craft.

[edit on 18-5-2007 by Masonic Light]



posted on May, 18 2007 @ 12:34 PM
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Originally posted by bigred1000
The third degree is very complex as worked today. Could it have developed from as a side degree first? Or could it have been a precursor for the Royal Arch? (Similar to the Past Master degree in the American York Rite)


The degree of Past Master is actually quite old, and forms a part of the installation of the new Master of a Lodge in many jurisdictions, including my own. When a Master-elect is installed, all but actual Past Masters are excused from the Lodge, and the Past Master degree is then conferred in Antient form.

The degree of Royal Arch was originally conferred only upon Past Masters. When the RA was moved to the Chapter, a new version of the Past Master degree was concocted in order to "fulfill" the requirement that the candidate for exaltation be a "Past Master". Obviously, this was an attempt to obey the letter of the law while ignoring its meaning, but the practice has become universal, and the ancient charges continue to be violated to this day every time a Brother is exalted who has never served as Master of a Lodge.



posted on May, 26 2007 @ 08:16 PM
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Originally posted by bigred1000
After some research I have discovered that the 3rd degree in Blue Lodge Masonry was not originally worked in England, and the MM degree apeared at some point in the mid 18th century. Can anyone help explain why?


I do know that several Greek Letter Orgs. have three degrees of initiation, the third being the one where the highest secrets and mottoes are revealed. Many GLOs have modeled their rites on Masonic rites.





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