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C.2.10 The Legend of the Temple

According to the legend, Geometry was used in Judea by King Solomon to build the Temple of Jerusalem with the help of Hiram, King of Tyre. Most historians reject the assumption that Freemasonry, as it is known now, was created at the Temple of Solomon. The Temple of Jerusalem is, however, very important in the Legend of the Craft as well as in the ritual. The religious importance of the Temple, both to the Jewish and Christian religions, explains why it was basic to the beliefs of the very religious medieval Masons. This explains too why the Temple plays such an important part in the Legend of the Craft. Initially, for the Operative Masons, its importance was historical, but it became something more speculative to the modern non-operative Masons who saw it as the foundation of the religious symbolism of their order. The historical concept of the Temple is overshadowed now by its symbolic value. The Temple, and its prominence in the ritual, is sometimes seen as the characteristic symbol of Speculative Masonry, without which there would be nothing left to identify Speculative Masonry with the Operative Masons of the Middle Age.

The Halliwell poem does not mention the Temple of Jerusalem, but it appears many times and in great details, in the following old Manuscripts starting with the Cooke M.S. until the modern Constitutions.

The chief builder of the Temple was Hiram Abif (meaning “his father Hiram”). Anderson and Dr. Krause first used this name in the early eighteenth century. Before he had been known under different names but all the time he was considered to be the King of Tyre’s son, and the first ruler of the Craft.