Liberal Arts & Sciences
In the Ancient world the Liberal Arts and Sciences consisted of grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. Grammar also included the art of memorization.
The Freemasons of the Middle Ages, always anxious to elevate their profession above the position of a mere operative art, readily assumed these liberal arts and sciences as a part of their course of knowledge, thus seeking to assimilate themselves rather to the scholars who were above them than to the workmen who were below them. Hence in all the Old Constitutions we find these liberal arts and sciences introduced at the beginning as forming an essential part of the body of Masonry.
The High Degrees
There is considerable speculation about the founding of Scottish Rite, but most agree that there is an inseparable link to the Scottish Jacobite cause of the 17th and 18th centuries (efforts to put the Stuarts back on the British throne). When looking up the history of Scottish Rite Masonry as early as 1733 a reference to “Scotch Masons’ Lodge appeared in a manuscript list of lodges by Dr. Richard Rawlinson. Early Scottish Degrees, after the Master Mason’s Degree were created in 1734-35 as “Excellent Mason” and “Grand Mason.”
A New Era in the United States
One cannot begin to read about the Scottish Rite without seeing one name pop up instantly, Albert Pike. His devotion to the Craft can be read in Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (1871). It is still an integral part of our lives (and Craft) nearly 150 years later!