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The Sociology Of The Construct Of Tradition And Import Of Legitimacy In Freemasonry

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Chapter Summary

In institutionalised forms of esotericism from the eighteenth century onwards the construct of tradition is often connected to claims of legitimacy and authority, a fact that is perhaps most obvious in masonic initiatory societies. This chapter discusses the construct and function of tradition in conservative, liberal and fringe forms of Freemasonry. It also discusses the concept of tradition in religious discourse, and then examines the significance of tradition and regularity in Freemasonry. The chapter analyzes three different types of authority in the construct of tradition in masonry: rational legal, traditional, and charismatic authority. The esoteric knowledge must be transmitted from master to disciple according to set rules. The knowledge that is transmitted cannot be questioned, and it is seen as part of a tradition that must be respected and regarded as an organic and integral ensemble.

Keywords: charismatic authority; esoteric knowledge; Freemasonry



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