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Throughout this paper the expression masonic dating codes describes the various ways by which freemasons expressed dates on documents drawn up for internal use when these dating methods differ from our present-day chronology.Since ascertaining dates is probably as useful as determining facts in the field of masonic research, a knowledge of such codes can be useful.From the point of view of historical research, this can be considered as an interesting source of information. This might be construed as the date of the completion of Solomons temple, which is given in Andersons Constitutions as 1004 B. This code was frequently used on documents issued in France or by French Brethren.Our current chronology, the one we use every day, provides one of the two main bases used by masonic codes. The first month of the given year, which is mostly indicated as part of the 4000 year code, refers to the month of March, not January.L.) - "In the year of Light." To arrive at this date they add 4000 to the common time, as the Earth was believed in conventional theology to have began in 4000 BC . Royal Arch Masons date time from the year the second temple was commended by Zerubbabel. I.) ,which means "In the year of Discovery," is the terminology used by Chapters.This adds 530 to the common time, therefore the year 2007 becomes 2537.Because of the limited length permitted for this essay and of its practical aims, little space will be devoted to the historical aspect of these codes; the reasons for their appearance and their fall into desuetude, and the examples given, will be restricted to the period 1723 1823. (the Ninth day of the Fifth Month, the Year of our Style MMDCCLI).
This deducts 1,118 from the common time; therefore the year 2007 becomes 889.Nowhere is it possible to find a simple method which permits the conversion of a date from one calendar system into another. The only known document issued by the Supreme Council in Charleston which makes use of the 4004 code is the Patent authorizing Mr. This reprint included the Appendix to the 1803 Oration (Charleston edition), the 4004 code used for the dates of the Circular throughout the two Hemispheres and the same foot-notes. of the year 7768, of the restorn 2299, Equall to the 1st of June, 1768. Two different lines appear then on American documents : one is first found in 1794 on the Patent delivered by Moses Cohen to Hyman Isaac Long in Jamaica. There is no certain way to knowing which, except the origin and the period at which the document being considered was issued.It is frequently stated that the Jewish New Year begins in September. All the year dates were therein corrected according to the 4004 code. Delahogue to establish the Sublime Degrees in New Orleans (transcribed in the Official Bulletin of the Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction, Vol. 738) dated; Anno Lucis 5808 and of the Christian AEra the 29th July 1804. The first use of this code seems to be found in France. van Rensselaer, Hays and Stringer in 1768, a 531 code is used preceded by the expression Year of the Restoration. This is, of course, the Prince of the Royal Secrets Rite (or Morins Rite). The same code is also included in the Form of a Submission drawn up for the use of the Thrice Illustrious Brother David Small in the Francken Manuscript 1783 (f 309): ... It uses Year of the Restoration together with dates of the Jewish Calendar. But it should never be decoded according to a January is the first month code (as Bro.Some eight weeks later this committee submitted its Report and the Council was pleased to express the highest approbation of it. On page 42 he writes: The expression Year of Masonry which preceded the 4000 year code on the front-page of Andersons Constitutions in 1723, is found four times in the Minute Book No 1 of :he premier Grand Lodge. The same code appears a little later on a Warrant delivered in America by Bro. Fournial states that the first day of the week should be regarded as Sunday.The Circular throughout the two Hemispheres in which this Report was included, used the Jewish Calendar in three different places, but this was by no means the first use of this system of reckoning in a masonic document. These four examples would tend to show that at that time these words were not yet attached to a specific code: In France no masonic dating codes whatever are to be found on the earliest extant documents. Wonnacott gave an example of it in connection with the Rite of Seven Degrees in London (AQC 39, 1926, p. Francken (see 2.3.) to the Lodge of Perfection in Albany (NY) in 1767, and on Patents he delivered to Bros. It is used in the Francken Manuscripts (1771 & 1783), the Constitutions and Laws of the Grand Elect, Perfect and Sublime Masons in Baltimore found in the Eckel papers, dated: in the year of Masonry 7792, quoted by Schultz, History of Freemasonry in Maryland, 1887, p. According to some reference books (Mackeys and Coils Encyclopedias, Lennhoff & Posners Lexikon) a 530 year code would have been used on Royal Arch documents and named Anno Inventionis (A. The Minutes of the Founding of the Grand Orient de France by the Grande Loge Nationale (1773) which were published in 1931 by Bro. Groussier had the capital idea of reproducing some of these Minutes in facsimile, so there is no question as to the accuracy of his transcript.
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The Scottish Rite date the same as Craft Masons, except for the use of the Jewish Chronology. M.), which means "In the year of the World" is their calendar terminology and adds 3760 to the common time.