Joachim Berger deposited Festarbeit, Tafelloge, Zeremonial. Freimaurerei und höfische Gesellschaft in the group Freemasonry and Masonic Studies on Humanities Commons 1 year, 1 month ago
Freemasonry has traditionally been seen as a key influence in the rise of the Bourgeoisie, since it allegedly subdued social boundaries and behavioural norms of the Ancien Régime. This paper, however, argues that the masonic lodges at least in the smaller German court towns, adopted various elements of court society – organizational structures, myths and ceremonies. These lodges imported the British model of the gentleman-freemason and combined it with customs and values of the secular orders of knighthood popular at courts. The most important masonic Grand Lodge, the Strict Observance, was ruled by an elitist ‘Inner Order’ that was modeled after the medieval Knights Templar. These masonic ‘Knights’ were searching for a new chivalric code. Moreover, the rituals of all lodges mimicked ceremonies at court, culminating in the Tafelloge. Freemasonry thus did not threaten court society. Its utopian potential lay in harmonizing its social and cultural inconsistencies.