Latest book by Brother Alain Bernheim, CBCS

Here is the English version (the book is in French) of Ill. Br. Art de Hoyos' endorsement of Brother Alain's lates work:


Arturo de Hoyos, 33º
Grand Archivist and Grand Historian
Supreme Council, 33º, Southern Jurisdiction, USA

The job of an historian is to tell the truth as clearly and unambiguously as possible. For non-historians this may sound like a simple act, but for those of us who have written much history, we have learned that to do this is anything but simple. A good historian is a detective who may spend days, weeks, months or even years, trying to trace down a “simple” fact which amounts to a sentence or two, but without which one’s work would be incomplete. Or, there may a temptation to omit facts which run contrary to the interests or traditions of his associates, friends, or even the organization for which he works. He may be forced to admit that he was wrong about previously held notions or ideas upon which other historians have subsequently relied. He may have to relinquish his claim to being the foremost expert on a subject when another rises whose work shines a greater light upon otherwise obscure and troublesome issues of the past. But if he is true to himself none of this will matter to him, because all interests are worthy sacrifices upon the altar of truth.

I am privileged and proud to know one historian who embodies these virtues, a man whose writings have inspired me in my own Masonic researches, and whose outright honesty continues to thrill me at the same time it offends others. I am, of course, referring to my dear very friend and Illustrious Brother, Alain Bernheim, 33º, the author of this book. Alain’s Masonic writings can be neatly summed up in just two words: authoritative and encyclopedic. His unmatched knowledge of obscure sources, his blatant honesty, wit, and occasionally sarcasm (all of which I admire) have not come without price. They have made him unpopular among certain Masonic “academics.” Some of the “leading lights” of Masonic research don’t know how to deal with Alain. Like the gods of Olympus, he is both feared and reverenced (the German word Ehrfurcht comes to mind). And Ehrfurcht is indeed owed to Alain. If your research is good, he will praise you. If, however, you are sloppy, fail to use primary sources, or “borrow” the thoughts or research of another author, you will soon have cause to regret the wit and occasional sting of Alain’s profound intellect. But his honesty is neither malice nor a one-way street. One of the first things I learned about Alain is that he does not desire criticism about his own research; rather, he demands it. It was his almost fanatical devotion to the truth, and the truth alone, which soon formed a bond between us, and is the basis of a friendship which I hold near my heart.

Alain’s contributions are too numerous to count. His analysis of the Scottish Rite’s so-called Constitutions of the 1786 was a brilliant piece of detective work which led to its discovery as a forgery. His masterful article on the dating of Masonic documents is the clearest exposition available. His articles in such publications as Ars Quatuor Coronotorum, Renaissance Traditionelle, and more recently, in Heredom: The Transaction of the Scottish Rite Research Society, are unmatched and (in my opinion) unassailable. Alain’s palette does not only contain more colors than any other Masonic scholar, but he also paints with a greater finesse, a finer detail, and also a wider scenery. He brings light, further light, and greater light on every topic he touches. One need only study his masterful Les Débuts de la Franc-Maçonnerie à Genève et en Suisse (Genève: Editions Slatkine, 1994), to see that a new standard had been raised.

The book you hold in your hands is a magnificent anthology which should be translated into as many languages as possible. I am thrilled that this collection now appears in print, and believe that it will lay a foundation important to a greater understanding of Freemasonry. Although I read French, German and Spanish, I hope to see this book translated into my native English, as I believe it will firmly set Alain’s rightful place in the English pantheon, which includes the “dean of Masonic history,” Robert F. Gould; the “Holy Trinity” of Knoop, Jones and Hamer; the amazing Harry Carr. I am privileged to commend this book, Une “Certaine Idée de la Franc-Maçonnerie to the Masonic world, and promise that the reader will be amply rewarded.