Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jim Tresner on: Building Hiram - A Review

Building Hiram - 08/23/09

Hello Fellow Travelers!

The following is a review of Building Hiram by James T. Tresner II, 33°, Grand Cross.

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Building Hiram Book Review
written by James T. Tresner II, Book Review Editor
Scottish Rite Journal - September/October 2009
(His full book review article can be found here.)

Nagy, John, Building Hiram: Uncommon Catechism for Uncommon Masonic Education. Volume 1, Lutz, Florida: Promethean Genesis Publishing, 2009, 162 pages, softbound, pocket size [4″ × 6.5″] illustrations, ISBN 13: 978–0–9793070–3–4 Available on the Internet from about $18.

It is very hard to find any sort of systematized method for teaching the spiritual aspects of Freemasonry, the material behind the symbols. Bro. & Dr. Nagy has developed a fine system, built on the question and answer (or as he calls it “Inquiry and Response” ) format of the categorical lectures. I was sent a copy of the book for review, went on line and purchased a second copy, and used it at a once-a-month discussion group called “Beyond the Ritual” which meets to cuss and discuss the meanings of Masonry. We passed the books around, one person reading the question, another reading the answer, and then stopping to fight about it. The guys really enjoyed it.

There is a necessary caveat. Since we are speaking of the interpretation of symbols, remember there is no such thing as an “official” or “approved” interpretation. Each Mason interprets the symbols of Masonry for himself. So you are completely free to agree or disagree with anything he suggests. But I can promise you it will create discussion, either in yourself or in a group. Here is a sample:
I: Name another tool that aids in Masonic efforts.
R: The Plumb
I: How is it so represented?
R: By Hiram Abiff, the Junior Warden, and the Due-Guard of the First Degree.
I: What is its intended Use?
R: To prove Verticals
I: What are Verticals to Masons?
R: Verticals are guides that let Masons know when their Stones show specific leanings that are not upright in the Eyes of the Great Architect of the Universe.…
I: How should the Plumb be so affixed?
R: To that which is Above.
I: Why so?
R: Only when the Plumb is affixed to that which is Above shall it be of use to the Builder in his Work Below.
I’ve had some really interesting discussions sparked by this material.

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In a follow up e-mail, Brother Jim said the following:

Bro. John

The first book [Building Hiram] is excellent. We are still using it in the discussion group and the guys are greatly enjoying it.


Jim Tresner
I like it when a book is use-able!


Brother Coach N.