Legend of Enoch

Date: Monday, August 02, 1999 8:10 AM

Grand Lodge of British Columbia Bulletin January 1974

Legend of Enoch False But Fascinating

Brother Harry M. Furniss
Prince of Wales Lodge No. 100

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of 
articles by Brother Furniss, the first of which 
appeared in the June 1973 Bulletin.

Some of the more fascinating "historical facts" about 
Freemasonry concern events which modern scholars 
believe are pure figments of imagination.

The Legend of Enoch, for instance, makes great 
reading although there is not a shred of evidence to 
substantiate it.

In his huge "History of Freemasonry"- Mackey included 
such stories for the record, and for the opportunity 
to demolish their premises. He viewed these legends 
as allegorical attempts to symbolise certain ethical 
or religious ideas and wrote:

"Their symbolic interpretation cannot be rejected 
unless we reject the whole fabric of Freemasonry into 
which they have been closely interwoven."

The Legend of Enoch, seventh of the biblical 
patriarchs, is one which appears in many forms and in 
many lands.

Inspired by a vision from the Most High, Enoch is 
said to have built a system of nine brick vaults in 
the bosom of Mount Moriah. The vaults were beneath 
each other and entered through holes in the arches.

Inside the ninth and innermost vault, Enoch placed a 
cubical block of marble in which was set a triangular 
plate of gold, encrusted with precious stones and 
engraved with the ineffable name of God. The entrance 
to the vaults was sealed with a stone door and 
covered with earth.

While Enoch lived, he entered the vaults once a year, 
but told no one of their whereabouts. Consequently, 
after his death, the vaults were not located until 
workmen began digging the foundations for the temple 
of King Solomon.

The legend says that after Enoch finished building 
the vaults, he had another vision, of the great flood 
yet to come. To preserve the knowledge he had 
cultivated, he erected a marble pillar to resist fire 
and a brass pillar to resist corrosion.

On the brass pillar, Enoch engraved the history of 
creation, principles of the arts and sciences, and 
the doctrines of Speculative Masonry. On the marble 
pillar he inscribed, in hieroglyphics, the 
information that a precious treasure was hidden 
nearby in a subterranean vault.

This legend, of course, has not the slightest 
historical support but possesses value as a symbolic 
idea, the germ of which, Mackey said, is the 
preservation of the Ineffable Name through the 
efforts of an antediluvian Patriarch.

There is no hint of this story in the Legend of the 
Craft. Nor does the name Enoch appear in the old 
manuscript Constitutions which indicates the legend 
was probably fabricated some years after the first 
Grand Lodge of Speculative Masons was formed in 1717.

But outside Masonry there are references to caves in 
Mount Moriah. A Talmudist tradition holds that King 
Solomon, when building the temple, constructed 
underground vaults in which the ark was later hidden, 
placed on a cubical stone.

The Arabians (Mohammedans) have a tradition which 
tells how Abraham found a sacred stone which he used 
in the temple which Jehovah ordered him to erect.

Nicephorus Callistus, a fourteenth century Greek 
writer, recounted quite an elaborate tale. Workmen 
rebuilding the temple of Jerusalem found the opening 
to a cave and lowered a man on a rope to investigate. 
Water covered the floor of the cubical cave, but safe 
and dry atop a pillar was found a book--the Gospel.

Enoch was first introduced to Freemasonry as one of 
the founders of geometry and masonry by the historian 
Anderson in his 1723 Constitutions. Subsequent 
writers did not add to the bare facts, leading Mackey 
to believe the legend was of continental origin, 
possibly from the fertile brain of Chevalier Ramsay 
who fabricated so many of the earliest "high 

In 1749 Ramsay wrote of a tradition of all nations - 
a great man or legislator, before the floor who was 
the first author of sacred symbols and hieroglyphics, 
and who taught the people sacred mysteries and 
religious rites.

This man, held Ramsay was called Thaut by the 
Phoenicians; Hermes by the Greeks; Edris by the 
Arabians; all of which names are synonymous with 

And just to give the legend a final touch of mystery, 
the bible records that Enoch lived 365 years, a 
sacred number in early history.


George Helmer FPS
PM Norwood #90 GRA
Z Norwood #18 RAM
You can look for me on the IRC EFnet channel #Freemasons
mIRC program can be downloaded at:  http://www.mirc.co.uk/

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