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Ahiman Rezon

Today in Masonic History we discuss the Ahiman Rezon.

The Ahiman Rezon is the book of Constitutions for the Antient Grand Lodge of England.

The Ahiman Rezon was published in 1756. It was written by Laurence Dermott who was the second Grand Secretary of the Antient Grand Lodge of England. The title is believed to come from Hebrew. There have been a variety of translations made available for the title. The most common is on the original publication in it's full title which is Ahiman Rezon: or a Help to a Brother. It is also believed to translate into "will of selected brethren", "Royal Builders" and "Brother Secretary".

Like Anderson's Constitutions before it, it is meant as a guide to new masons on how to conduct the affairs of their lodge and how to conduct themselves per the constitution of the Antient Grand Lodge of England. The book is actually indirectly descended from Anderson's Constitutions. Ahiman Rezon was adopted from Spratt's Irish Constitutions, which was adopted from Anderson's Constitutions.

A major difference between the Ahiman Rezon was what Dermott placed in the front of the book. Instead of the history of Freemasonry found in Anderson's Constitutions, he inserted a parody of the histories of Freemasonry around at the time.

In Dermott's parody, he set's his history to begin before the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. It then revolved around four sojourners meeting in Jerusalem at the building of King Solomon's temple. This makes the four men more than 2,000 years old. Dermott described them as men of failing memories. There were six subsequent versions of the Ahiman Rezon Dermott wrote before his passing in 1791.

The original purpose of Dermott's parody was to attack the Moderns. At the time, the Premier Grand Lodge of England, was referred to as Moderns, a name Dermott is directly responsible for. The Moderns began moving away from the Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry and Dermott began to refer to them as "knife and fork" masons due to their desire to be social masons instead of following the ancient landmarks. In the years between 1756 and 1791, when Dermott passed away he wrote the six additional versions and with each new versions is attacks against the Moderns became more scathing. After the passing of Dermott, the parody was re-written and all of the attacks against the Moderns were removed.

Two United States Grand Lodges, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and the Grand Lodge of South Carolina, still call their constitutions Ahiman Rezon in reference to their connection with the Antient Grand Lodge of England.

In 1813, The Antient Grand Lodge of England and the Premier Grand Lodge of England merged to form the United Grand Lodge of England.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.