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Brotherly LoveFreemasonry and Male Friendship in Enlightenment France$
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Kenneth Loiselle

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452437

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452437.001.0001

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date: 30 May 2020

Friendship in Ritual

Friendship in Ritual

Chapter:
(p.47) Chapter 2 Friendship in Ritual
Source:
Brotherly Love
Author(s):

Kenneth Loiselle

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801452437.003.0003

This chapter explores the relationship between male friendship and the transformational aspects of Freemasonry's initiation, known as the “apprentice ritual” (rite d'apprenti). Drawing from more than twenty different manuals used by brethren to perform the apprentice ritual, dating from the 1740s to the French Revolution, the chapter reconstructs what an apprentice candidate likely experienced once he stepped into a French lodge. More specifically, it examines the initiate's multiple encounters with lodge members and spatial zones and how these interactions fit into the wider pedagogical project of symbolically breaking down the candidate's egoistic self. It shows how the initiation ritual generated a form of “ritualized friendship” that was anchored in the moral foundation of an ecumenical Christianity. The chapter argues that Freemasonry's apprentice ritual symbolically recast the neophyte into a new form, emptying him of specific undesirable psychological elements which otherwise would have made friendship a problematic, unstable relationship.

Keywords:   male friendship, Freemasonry, apprentice ritual, initiation ritual, ritualized friendship, Christianity

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