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C.4.5 Freemasonry and the Essenes

Another theory links the Freemasons with the Essenes, the members of a Jewish sect that existed a few centuries before and after the time of Jesus Christ. If we assume that Freemasonry was born at the time of the construction of King Solomon’s Temple by an union of the Jewish workers with the Dyonisian Artificers, then it is possible that the Masonic line passed through the Essene sect that has many similarities with Freemasonry.

At the time of Christ the Jews were divided into three main sects: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. Jesus talked many times of the first two sects, but he never mentioned the Essenes. Some scholars imply from this that he was a member of this sect! The Essenes were ascetic celibates, carefully trained before admission into the society during a long probation period divided into three stages, or degrees. No woman was accepted in this order. That there are some similarities between the Essenes and the Freemasons is obvious, but there are no historical evidences of any formal links between the two systems. Moreover they also differ in many ways; for instance the Essenes were members of an ascetic and bigoted sect, whereas Freemasonry is religiously very tolerant. The Essenes were not connected in any ways with architecture, or with any of the sciences related to the art of building, or masonry. All this is a proof that the Essenes are not the successors of the builders of Solomon’s Temple, and the forerunners of the Operative Masons of the Middle Ages, or the Speculative Masons of the eighteenth century. In addition the Essenes appeared in the second, or perhaps third century BC, while Solomon’s Temple was built in about 1000 BC. This gap of eight hundred years between the two events prevents any direct succession. In other words, there is no connection between the two sects