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The Masonic Myth: Unlocking the Truth About the Symbols, the Secret Rites, and the History of Freemasonry

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The Masonic Myth by Jay Kinney is an accessible and fascinating history of the Freemasons that sheds new light on this secret fraternity. A nonfiction look at the mysterious and wrongly maligned ancient society that plays a major role in The Lost Symbol, the new novel by Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code), Kinney’s The Masonic Myth debunks the myths as it reveals the truth abou The Masonic Myth by Jay Kinney is an accessible and fascinating history of the Freemasons that sheds new light on this secret fraternity. A nonfiction look at the mysterious and wrongly maligned ancient society that plays a major role in The Lost Symbol, the new novel by Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code), Kinney’s The Masonic Myth debunks the myths as it reveals the truth about the Freemasons, their history, and their secret symbols and rituals—a truth that is far more fascinating than all the conspiracy theories combined.


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The Masonic Myth by Jay Kinney is an accessible and fascinating history of the Freemasons that sheds new light on this secret fraternity. A nonfiction look at the mysterious and wrongly maligned ancient society that plays a major role in The Lost Symbol, the new novel by Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code), Kinney’s The Masonic Myth debunks the myths as it reveals the truth abou The Masonic Myth by Jay Kinney is an accessible and fascinating history of the Freemasons that sheds new light on this secret fraternity. A nonfiction look at the mysterious and wrongly maligned ancient society that plays a major role in The Lost Symbol, the new novel by Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code), Kinney’s The Masonic Myth debunks the myths as it reveals the truth about the Freemasons, their history, and their secret symbols and rituals—a truth that is far more fascinating than all the conspiracy theories combined.

30 review for The Masonic Myth: Unlocking the Truth About the Symbols, the Secret Rites, and the History of Freemasonry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    If you're a mason, this is the book to give your friends who ask you what freemasonry is. Well-informed and written with sufficient detachment to inspire confidence, the tone is neither reverential nor apologetic, and makes needed criticism of the institution where it's deserved. Familiar anti-masonic claims are debunked efficiently, placing their origins in historical context. If you're a mason, this is the book to give your friends who ask you what freemasonry is. Well-informed and written with sufficient detachment to inspire confidence, the tone is neither reverential nor apologetic, and makes needed criticism of the institution where it's deserved. Familiar anti-masonic claims are debunked efficiently, placing their origins in historical context.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    I come from a long line of Masons -- Master Masons, Knights Templar, Scottish Rite and the Shrine -- but never entered the Craft myself. My curiosity about the Masonic Order late in life was prompted by the silly fictions in the novels of Dan Brown and the even sillier fictions in Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's "The Illuminatus! Trilogy" (1975), none of which made sense of what I knew of my father, grandfathers, and Uncles. Jay Kinney's little book did an excellent job of answering my que I come from a long line of Masons -- Master Masons, Knights Templar, Scottish Rite and the Shrine -- but never entered the Craft myself. My curiosity about the Masonic Order late in life was prompted by the silly fictions in the novels of Dan Brown and the even sillier fictions in Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's "The Illuminatus! Trilogy" (1975), none of which made sense of what I knew of my father, grandfathers, and Uncles. Jay Kinney's little book did an excellent job of answering my questions without putting firehose down my throat. A Mason himself, he does not fell prey to the temptation to be a cheerleader and flack. The book is nicely balanced between criticism and defense of Masonry. It also contains many references which suggest avenues for further inquiry by those whose curiosity is provoked by some part of this shorter work.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    I had high hopes for this book, and as a woman who participated for many years in one of the Masonic youth groups (Job's Daughters) I had enough familiarity that I was hoping to get into some interesting details. It was tough to get through some parts that felt long/dragging - too much detail in some areas and not enough in others. Many myths were discussed without adequately disproving them (though I know they are not true). A more interesting and lively narrative could have made this flow much I had high hopes for this book, and as a woman who participated for many years in one of the Masonic youth groups (Job's Daughters) I had enough familiarity that I was hoping to get into some interesting details. It was tough to get through some parts that felt long/dragging - too much detail in some areas and not enough in others. Many myths were discussed without adequately disproving them (though I know they are not true). A more interesting and lively narrative could have made this flow much more smoothly!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Wombold

    Masons The book was interesting enough, but it did get a little boring in parts. I was surprised that since the Jobs Daughter's were mentioned, the Order of DeMolay was not. Masons The book was interesting enough, but it did get a little boring in parts. I was surprised that since the Jobs Daughter's were mentioned, the Order of DeMolay was not.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth A.G.

    Generally, an interesting history of the Masons and the author's reasoned defense of Masonry is supported evenhandedly in presenting the pros and cons on issues discussed. The reading gets a bit "bogged down" in the descriptions of all the degrees of the Scottish and York Rites and I, uninitiated with the intricacies of Masonry, became confused and overwhelmed. Nevertheless, the historical aspects were enlightening and the conspiracy concerns of anti-Masonites debunked. Generally, an interesting history of the Masons and the author's reasoned defense of Masonry is supported evenhandedly in presenting the pros and cons on issues discussed. The reading gets a bit "bogged down" in the descriptions of all the degrees of the Scottish and York Rites and I, uninitiated with the intricacies of Masonry, became confused and overwhelmed. Nevertheless, the historical aspects were enlightening and the conspiracy concerns of anti-Masonites debunked.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Anderson

    I think I enjoyed the second two thirds of this book a lot more than the first third. Kinney falls squarely in the "Masonry developed from operative Stonemasons" camp, which I always find frustrating for its facility and lack of considerations. He dismisses Robinson and other "alternative" historians, but doesn't really give ANY basis for that, offers no particular scholarship to underpin his position. He chooses not to underpin the received position with any of the research that has been done, I think I enjoyed the second two thirds of this book a lot more than the first third. Kinney falls squarely in the "Masonry developed from operative Stonemasons" camp, which I always find frustrating for its facility and lack of considerations. He dismisses Robinson and other "alternative" historians, but doesn't really give ANY basis for that, offers no particular scholarship to underpin his position. He chooses not to underpin the received position with any of the research that has been done, instead merely tossing off his point of view, when in fact the realities behind that position are far more complex and fascinating than the bland dismissal found in most books would allow one to believe. But that said, the rest of the book is well written and interesting. Nothing terribly shattering for a fellow Brother to read, but it would be a reasonable title to suggest to someone interested in the fundamentals of the Craft. I did largely skip the chapter on appendant body degrees, as I've not joined either Rite yet and I don't care for spoilers! That said, his very basic discussion of the 3 Blue Lodge degrees was general enough that a man could read them and not have his own potential future degrees spoiled. Kinney's chapter of the Illuminati was also amusing and worthwhile. This book, it seems, has essentially been written before: for instance Complete Idiot's Guide; FM for Dummies, etc. And again, it doesn't offer too much in the way of additional material for the casual reader—though some of the information about the Rites was strong and well written. A worthwhile read, less glib and postmodern than the two mentioned just above. It also includes an annotated bibliography Acceptably recommended.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    Since the founding of the premier grand lodge in 1717 London, books, pamphlets, exposures, and articles have been written about the Freemasons. They have been vilified and praised, and wherever a conspiracy theory is born, there's a Freemason in it somewhere. A whole cottage industry of alternate history began with the publication ofHOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL in the 1980s, and continues today with Dan Brown's popular novels breaking records. many accounts, much confusion. Jay Kinney's book, THE MASON Since the founding of the premier grand lodge in 1717 London, books, pamphlets, exposures, and articles have been written about the Freemasons. They have been vilified and praised, and wherever a conspiracy theory is born, there's a Freemason in it somewhere. A whole cottage industry of alternate history began with the publication ofHOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL in the 1980s, and continues today with Dan Brown's popular novels breaking records. many accounts, much confusion. Jay Kinney's book, THE MASONIC MYTH, will help cut through the hype. He writes cogently, calmly, and examines the existing evidence to discuss such questions as the origins, rituals, and purposes of Freemasonry, carefully examining the facts and drawing reasonable conclusions. The book may not satisfy a taste for discovering hidden puppet-masters, but will give a well-thought-out and balanced view of just what Freemasonry is in the modern world. I highly recommend this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hans

    Had some good ideas about the psychology and importance of rites of passage and initiations and how Freemasonry is one of the only groups that still does them. He also believes the future of freemasonry might be smaller and more concentrated groups of masons that care about the philosophical and esoterical side of masonry. He does touch on the history of masonry but nothing I haven't heard or read before. Had some good ideas about the psychology and importance of rites of passage and initiations and how Freemasonry is one of the only groups that still does them. He also believes the future of freemasonry might be smaller and more concentrated groups of masons that care about the philosophical and esoterical side of masonry. He does touch on the history of masonry but nothing I haven't heard or read before.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    We've all heard about secret societies and their rituals. THE MASONIC MYTH takes you on a journey that allows you to understand the Freemasons. Find out the reasons behind certain symbols and rituals that have been concealed for hundreds of years. I'm always up for a good conspiracy theory or secret society book, so when I was given the option to review this book, I just had to get my hands on it. I was not disappointed! This book opened my eyes wider than I thought possible. We've all heard about secret societies and their rituals. THE MASONIC MYTH takes you on a journey that allows you to understand the Freemasons. Find out the reasons behind certain symbols and rituals that have been concealed for hundreds of years. I'm always up for a good conspiracy theory or secret society book, so when I was given the option to review this book, I just had to get my hands on it. I was not disappointed! This book opened my eyes wider than I thought possible.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Written by an expert in essotoric religions, this book basicaly says that the Masonic Myth is that there are secrets. When they are no real secrets and no conspiracies. But then the author is a Mason, so maybe that's what the Masons want you to think! slightly more serious: this is probably one of the best and easiest to read books on Masonic history and traditions. Just don't expect to learn all the mysteries of the world. Written by an expert in essotoric religions, this book basicaly says that the Masonic Myth is that there are secrets. When they are no real secrets and no conspiracies. But then the author is a Mason, so maybe that's what the Masons want you to think! slightly more serious: this is probably one of the best and easiest to read books on Masonic history and traditions. Just don't expect to learn all the mysteries of the world.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    An overview of the history and symbolism of Freemasonry. Kinney favors the historical-critical view of the origins of Freemasonry, while still recognizing the relationship of the Craft to earlier societies. Kinney’s greatest contribution in this book is the last chapter discussion on the future of Freemasonry and the emphasis on the formal and spiritual nature of the Craft, rather than the social or philanthropic aspects to which Masonry is now turning.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    An interesting history and overview of a "secret society" that has always intrigued me. I don't think any secrets were unlocked. But the author is a Mason, so he can't unveil them, right? The author continued to state that there is basically nothing exciting or controversial about the secrets. Is that the truth, or is he just saying that? I guess I'll have to join and find out! So mote it be. An interesting history and overview of a "secret society" that has always intrigued me. I don't think any secrets were unlocked. But the author is a Mason, so he can't unveil them, right? The author continued to state that there is basically nothing exciting or controversial about the secrets. Is that the truth, or is he just saying that? I guess I'll have to join and find out! So mote it be.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gsmattingly

    Enjoyable non-fiction. Covers various and sundry myths related to the origins, history and power of Masons but also what is real. Has descriptions of levels, various side Masonic groups and much more.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stan

    not much answers alot of fluff

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hughes

    A superb history that dispels a lot of myths. Recommended to anyone with an interest in the Craft and especially to those contemplated joining.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sharman Wilson

    I enjoyed reading about the Masons. I've always been curious about them, and this book seemed like a very fair portrayal. I enjoyed reading about the Masons. I've always been curious about them, and this book seemed like a very fair portrayal.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Maybe I wasn't as interested in Masonic myths as I thought. There were some interesting tidbits but mostly it was very dry. Maybe I wasn't as interested in Masonic myths as I thought. There were some interesting tidbits but mostly it was very dry.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bretton

    Fantastic book. Written for the Mason (or someone who is very interested in the subject).

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susanne

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nadroj

  21. 5 out of 5

    Scott Lamb

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rusty

  24. 4 out of 5

    Noble Deprey

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stevan Nikolic

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sonyia Jamal

  28. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  29. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brian Kirton

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