[Grand Lodge]
[Calendar] [Search] [Resources] [History] [Links] [Sitemap]
[Four Crowned Martyrs]
No. 2076 LONDON


Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon.
By Bro. W. J. Chetwode Crawley, LL.D.
T is not a little remarkable that the two cardinal epochs in English Freemasonry were associated with the appearance in London of Models of the Temple of Jerusalem. At the first epoch, that of the Revival of Freemasonry, the Model ascribed to Councillor Schott had arrived in London, and was on exhibition in 1723 and 1730. At the second epoch when the organisation of the Antients was struggling into existence, the model of Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon was on view in 1759-60. The former exhibition seems to have won its way to popular favour, and cannot have been without effect on the rank and file of Freemasons at the very time when our legends were being moulded and harmonised. Much of the outside interest in the affairs of the Craft was doubtless due to the object lessons presented by these popular Models of the Building to which, it was understood, Freemasons referred their origin. As a matter of history, the three years we have specified, 1723, 1730 and 1760, were severally marked by an otherwise unaccountable outburst of Spurious Rituals, called forth by the curiosity of outsiders.
From, this point of view, the first-mentioned Model, that of Councillor Schott, must have exercised a real influence on the development of our Ritual. Bro. John Senex, the publisher of the first Book of Constitutions, in 1723, in which year he was Junior Grand Warden, also published a finely executed engraving or plan of Jerusalem, with views of the Temple and its principal ornaments. This publication, by one of the Grand Officers, could not fail to have extensive circulation among the Lodges. The setting of such Legends as had to do with the Temple must have been so framed as to accord with the impression left by an engraving that might fairly be regarded as semi-official. Simultaneously, a stimulus was given to the interest of outsiders by the publication of Sir Isaac Newton's Chronology of the Ancients. This book, the only one of Sir Isaac Newton's posthumous MSS. deemed worthy of publication by his literary executors, devotes an entire chapter, nearly one-fifth of the whole, to a visionary description of the Temple. The author's renown, and the incredible pains he had taken with the MS., gave the volume instant vogue. It was published in London in 1728, and re-published in Dublin in the same year, a sure token of its popularity.
The Model itself was freely advertised in 1729-30. The following advertisement, taken from The Daily Courant of the 3rd March, 1729-30, contains such quaint details of this model that we venture to reprint it, as an incidental illustration of Prof. S. P. Johnston's admirable paper.
" To be seen at the Royal-Exchange every Day, THE MODEL of the TEMPLE of SOLOMON, with all its Porches, Walls, Gates, Chambers and holy Vessels, the great Altar of the Burnt Offering, the Moulton Sea, the Lavers, the Sanctum Sanctorum; with the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat and Golden Cherubims, the Altar of Incense, the Candlesticks, Tables of Shew-Bread, with the two famous Pillars called Joachim and Boas. Within the Model are 2000 Chambers and Windows, and Pillars, 7000 ; the Model is 13 foot high and 80 foot round. Likewise the Model of the Tabernacle of Moses, with the Ark of the Covenant, wherein is the Law of Moses, the Pot of Manna and the Rod of Aaron, the Urim. and Tumin, with all the other Vessels. The printed Description of it, with 12 fine Cuts, is to be had at the same Place at 5s. a Book.
" N.B. The Publick is desired to take Notice, that the Sanctum Sanctorum, with all the holy Vessels is new gilt, and appears much finer and richer than before.
" This Temple is to be seen from 10 in the morning till 5 a Clock at Night, at the Backside of the Royal Exchange, as you go upStairs the first Door on the Right Hand over against the East India Company's Tea Warehouse. 'The Price is 9s. each Person."
The advertisement was repeated in The Daily Courant at intervals for many months and appears in other newspapers of the day. A copy of one of these latter, from The Daily Advertiser, 11th. March, 1730, was inserted in The Freemason, 9th September, 1882, by the well-known Masonic author, Bro. Robert Morris, LL.D., of Kentucky. He, however, was not aware that there were two, or more, distinct Models in existence, and, naturally enough, thought it referred to the Model afterwards mentioned by Lau: Dermott.
This latter Model took great hold on Laurence Dermott's imagination, already excited by the wondrous tales told in Irish Lodges about King Solomon's Temple. For it was a matter of cross-Channel reproach against itinerant Irish Masons, that they were prone to bore their brethren in England by too copious an exposition of Symbolism derived from the mediaeval idea of the Temple. The Oratorio of Solomon's Temple, which was prominently inserted in every edition of the Ahiman Rezon that appeared after Dermott had seen the Model in 1760, was in reality due to the Grand Lodge of Ireland, for whom it had been written and composed by Irish Brethren in May, 1753 imbued with this Irish view of the importance of the Temple and its symbolism a view which survived in Ireland from the time when the Ritual of England and Ireland was still one, before the "alterations" of 1730 Laurence Dermott appends to his address To the Reader, prefixed to the second edition of his Ahiman Rezon, 1764, an artless, though tumid, account; of his having met with the Model In the interval since the publication of the former edition of Ahiman Rezon, 1756. The weakness of half-educated men is that they cannot appreciate the relativity of knowledge, and are by turns credulous and incredulous in the wrong places. Dermott's keen intellect, though, or because, reinforced by a smattering of Hebrew, could not save him from the penalty of his half-education. Like the old woman of the sailor's tale, who refused to believe in the flying fish, or the coral insect, but readily accepted Pharaoh's chariot wheel fished up from the Red Sea, Laurence Dermott, who had strained at many a gnat because it smacked of the Moderns, swallowed with relish a whole troop of Jerusalem camels, because he thought them impregnated with an Antient flavour.
The book is rare, and the passage must be quoted, in order that the connection of Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon with our Craft may be understood.
" N.B. The free masons arms in the upper part of the frontispiece of this book, was found in the collection of the famous and learned hebrewist, architect and brother, Rabi, Jacob Jebudah Leon. This gentleman at the request of the states of Holland, built a model of Solomon's temple. The design of this undertaking was to build a temple in Holland, but upon surveying the model it was adjudged that the united provinces were not rich enough to pay for it; whereupon the States generonusly bestowed the model upon the builder, Notwithstanding they had already paid him his demand, which was very great. This model was exhibited to public view (by authority) at Paris and Vienna, and afterwards in London, by a patent under the great seal of England, and signed Killigrew in the reign of King Charles the Second. At the same time, Jacob Judah Leon published a description of the tabernacle and the temple, and dedicated it to his Majesty, and in the years 1759 and 1760 I had the pleasure of perusing and examining both these curiosities. The arms are emblazoned thus, quarterly per squares, counterchanged Vert. In the first quarter Azure a lyon rampant Or, in the second quarter Or, an ox passant sable; in the third quarter Or, a man with hands erect, proper robed, crimson and ermin; in the fourth quarter Azure, an eagle displayed, Or. Crest, the, holy ark of the covenant, proper, supported by Cherubims. Motto, Kodes la Adonai, i.e. Holiness, to the Lord. To this I beg leave to add what I have read concerning these arms.
The learned Spencer says, the Cherubims had the face of a man, the wings of an eagle, the back and mane of a lion, and the feet of a calf. De Legib. Hebr, lib 3. diss: 5. ch. 2.
" The prophet Ezekiel says, they had four forms, a man, a lion,an ox and an eagle.
When the Israelites were in the wilderness, and encamped in four cohorts, the standard of the tribe of Judah carried a lion, the tribe of Ephraim an ox, the tribe of Ruben a man, and the tribe of Dan an eagle; those four standards composed a Cherubim ; therefore God chose to sit upon Cherubims bearing the forms of those animals, to signify, that he was the leader and king of the cohorts of the Israelites. Trad. of the Heb.
" Bochart says, tbat they represented the nature and ministry of angels, by the lion's form is signified their strength, generosity and majesty, by that of the ox their constancy and assiduity in executing the commands of God; by their human shape their humanity and kindness, and by that of the eagle, their agility and speed. Bochart de animal sacr. P. 1.
" As these were the arms of the masons that built the tabernacle and the temple, there is not the least doubt of their being the proper arms of the most antient and honourable fraternity of free and accepted masons, and the continued practice, formalities and tradition, in all regular lodges, from the lowest degree to the most high, i.e. The HOLY ROYAL ARCH. confirms the truth hereof."
AHIMAN REZON, 1764, To the Reader, pp. xxxiv-xxxv-xxxvi.
The foregoing passage embodied all that was known to Masonic students about the Model or its maker till our accomplished Bro. W. H. Rylands took the matter in hand seventeen years ago. To him belongs the credit of being the first to show that the Rabbi Jacob Jehuda Leon and his Model were not mere creatures of Laurence Dermott's fancy, or chimeras begotten by him to awe the valgar.
Since Bro. Rylands' contribution to the Freemason, July, 1882, Laurence Dermott's reputation for honesty bas been steadily gaining ground. It is no longer possible, as it was twenty, years ago, to dismiss any statement of Laurence Dermott's as untrue, merely because it clashes with the orthodox view of the last generation. It behoves us, therefore, to ascertain who and what Rabbi Jacob Jehuda Leon was, and what it was that he really did.
The main authorities on the career of Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon are three in number. First in point of date, comes Johann Christoph Wolf (1683-1739), successively Professor of Philosophy at Berlin and of Oriental Languages at Hamburg, who included our author in his Bibliotheca Hebraea. This ponderous Thesaurus, filling four thick quarto volumes, took twenty years to compile and eleven years to print. The title page is as follows :
" JO. CHRISTOPROPLI WOLFII, Profes. Publ. Lingvarum. Orientt. — h. a. Gymnasii Rectoris BIBLIOTILECA HEBRAEA, Sive notitia tvm avctorvm Hebr. cvjvscvnqve aetatis, tvm. scriptorvm, quae vel Hebraice primvm exarata vel ab aliis conversa svnt, ad nostram aetatem. dedvcta. Accedit in calce JACOBI GAFFARELLI Index Codicum Cabbalistic. MSS. quibus Jo. Picus Mirandulanus Comes, usus est. Hamburgi — Lipsiae, Impensis CHRISTIANI LIEBEZEIT, Anno R.S. cIc Iccc xv." [1715.]
The next authority is David Franco, a learned Jew of the Portuguese Synagogue, who contributed a notice of Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon to HAMMESEF (The Collector) a sort of magazine or miscellany, publisbed in the Hebrew tongue at Berlin in the Jewish Year, 5548, that is, A.D. 1788.
Lastly, the great Hebrew catalogue drawn up for the Bodleian Library, 1850-1860, by Dr. Steinschneider, who supplements the labours of Wolfins and Franco as far as that Library is concerned. Dr. Steinschneider's volumes, though dealing with the Oxford Library, were published at Berlin under the following title:
" CATALOGUS LIBRORUM HEBRAEORUM in Bibliotheca Bodleiana, jussa Curatorum digessit et notis instruxit M. STEINSCHNEIDER. Berolini: Typis Ad. Fried1aender. 1852-1860."
David Franco's Miscellany is printed altogether in Hebrew. Wolfius and Steinschneider wrote in Latin, arranging their authors under Hebrew titles, and plentifully interlarding their Latin text with Semitic quotations. Steinschneider, no less than Wolfius, throws a needless obstacle in the path of the inexpert reader by never writing a word in full when he can help it, thus saving a little space at great cost to the reader in time, intelligence and patience. Such arbitrary systems of contractions appeal to the souls of catalogue-makers, in proportion as they are only catalogue-makers, and nothing more. Warned by such examples, the various sources, from which this article bas been compiled, will be found cited by full titles, conveniently arranged for skipping.
Once upon a time, the Podesta of an Italian State determined tbat Guicciardini's great History should be read through by at least one patriot. Then, as now, patriots were liable to be misunderstood, and the Podesta betook himself to the galleys as the readiest place to find one. He made his proposition; the galley-slave was released on condition of reading Guicciardini. At the end of a few years, the galley-slave came back, and begged to be restored to his fetters. The Wars of the Pisans had been too much for him. If, instead of Guicciardini's Storia, the ponderous tomes of Wolfius and Surenhusius had been proposed, the galley-slave would have permitted himself no illusions. He would never have chosen to leave the galleys.
Few learned men have enjoyed such a complicated variety of aliases as Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon, or Arje, or Arye, or Leonitius, or Templo, or Hispanus. His Hebrew cognomen, variously rendered on the continent as Leo, Leon and Leonitius, and in England as Lion or Lyon, was shared by an equally learned contemporary, Jehuda Ben Jechiel, a native of Mantua, who wrote upon similar subjects, and with whom he is consequently often confounded. The surname of Templo was given our author by contemporary scholars, owing to his intimate association with the literature bearing on the Temple at Jerusalem, and the epithet seems to have become hereditary, as we shall find his son denominated. Salomo Templo. Professor Swift P. Johnston has pointed out another perplexing alias, Aie, under which our author appears in the Universal Lexicon, Leipzig, 1735, vol. xiv., p. 46. He is also quoted under the name Leonitius Hebraeus, in Bayle's Dictionary, as an authority on abstruse Talmudic subjects (e.g., sub voce EVE).
Rabbi Jacob Jehadah Leon was a Spaniard by birth, but migrated early in life to Middelburg, and subsequently became Rabbi of the great Jewish communities at Hamburg and Amsterdam, where he was appointed Chief Master of the Jewish schools. He was born about the year 1603, as is plain from his address, AI pio lector, prefixed to his Las Alabanças de Santidad, published in the Jewish year 5431 (Ë.D. 1671). ln this address he ascribes to himself the age of 67 years:—
" My work . . . . which I compiled in the space of seven months, in the moments of leisure from the exercise of my collegiate duties, [a haste] so, inconsistent with [my] sixty-seven years."
This disposes of David Franco's statement that the Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon was thirty-four years of age when he began publishing, in 1642, his works on the Temple of Jeruslem. In 1649 he was elected Chief Master of the Jewish Schools at Amsterdam, whither he proceeded with his celebrated Model of the Temple, whieh had been completed in 1640. He obtained the patronage of William, Prince of Orange, and his wife Mary, who afterwards succeeded to the English throne.
While William was still in Holland, the Rabbi Jacob Jehndah Leon went to England, and about 1675 exhibited his Model to King Charles II. The King is said to have received him in the Royal Palace, and to have expressed great commendation of the Model. All that was really known about this visit to England was contained in the extract from the Ahiman Rezon quoted above, till the appearance of Bro. W. H. Rylands' article in The Freemason, to which we shall refer more than once for information concerning the Rabbi's English works.
The Rabbi went back to his Professorship at Amsterdam, and died there soon afterwards. The exact date of his death does not appear, though David Frainco has preserved to us a long Hebrew epitaph of the most eulogistic character, whieh omits such common-place details as dates or events.
The works of Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon in the Bodleian Library begin with the Spanish version of his Temple of Solomon, 1642, and end with Las Alabanças de Santidad, 1671, comprising twenty-nine years of literary life. We borrow the following list from Doctor Steinschneider's catalogue, which comprises all those preserved in the Bodleian.
Op.1. Retrato del templo de Salomo. 1642.
"2. Afbeeldinge von den Tempel Salomonis. 1669.
"3. Libellas effigiei templi Salomonis (Hebr.). 1650.
"4. Jac. Jeh. Leonis de Templo Hierosolym. 1665.
"5. Afbeeldinge van den Tabernakel. 1647.
"6. De Cherubinis tractatus. 1647.
"7. Las Alabanças de Santidad. Afio 5431 (1671).
Dr. Steinschneider's list must be collated with the list of our author's works in the British Museum, for which Masonic students are indebted to our accomplished colleague, Bro. W. H. Rylands, F.S.A. As far back as 22nd July, 1882, this distimgnished antiquary published in The Freemason the result of his researches, in the course of which he identified the English version of 1675, which, as we shall see, had escaped the notice of previous Bibliographers, and the very existence of which was doubted.
Nor does this complete the tale of editions of Rabbi Jacob Jehuda Leon's works. For there is in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, a greatly enlarged edition of No. 5 of Steinschneider's list, Afbeeldinge van den Tabernakel, that does not appear elsewhere. It is undated and uncatalogued, but the Dedication, signed by Jacob Jehuda Leon, is addressed to William, Prince of Orange, then Stadtholder of the United Provinces, and Mary his wife. The book must, therefore, have been published after the marriage of William and Mary in 1677, and before their accession to the Throne of England in 1688.
It will be observed that the original version, Retrato del templo de Salomo, was written in Spanish, and not in Hebrew. This might have been expected, for the Rabbi's mother tongue was Spanish. But there seems to have been a general opinion that Hebrew was the language in which. a book about King Solomon's Temple ought to have been written, and more than one of the translations profess to be from a Hebrew original. The question was threshed out in Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon's lifetime by Johann Saubert, a Semitic scholar of the first rank. How Saubert came to give an opinion upon the question is a quaint story and worth the telling.
There have been three eminent men named Johann Saubert all living at the same time, or at least with their lives overlapping each other. One was a musician; the other two, father and son, were Professors of Oriental languages. Johann Saubert the elder, Professor at Altorf, Nuremberg (1592-1646), had Johann Saubert the younger born to him in February, 1638. Our Saubert displayed ability from the first, and became, like his father, a profound Orieutal scholar.
Before he was thirty years of age he became Professor of Hebrew at Helmstadt, a chair formerly held by the great Orientalist, Calixtus. In proof of young Saubert's attainments, it may be mentioned that no successor to Calixtus had been appointed for many years, as it was thought expedient to wait till a scholar of equal reputation should be found to take his place. Saubert died in 1688, still holding this professorship, in conjunction with one specially created for him at Altorf.
The way in which Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon's works were brought to the notice of Saabert is told by himself in his Address to the Reader prefixed to his Latin translation of 1665. He tells us that when he visited Wulf Buttel "the year before," his attention was drawn to a book which had come into the possession of the Duke of Brunswick-Luneberg a few months previously (nempe xxvii. Feb. cic. ic. c. lxiii).
This Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg is best known to English readers as a kinsman of George I. of England. He was a patron of letters, and had already induced Saubert to translate the Old Testament from Hebrew into German, 1664. The book alluded to by Saubert was the Hebrew version of Rabbi Jehudah Leon's Temple, and had been presented to the Duke by one Abraham Henricus, a Saxon Jew, ex majori Gloggaviâ oriundus. It was written in the Rabbinical dialect, and the Duke having so competent a scholar as Saubert at his disposal, commissioned him to translate it into Latin. Saubert found that the Hebrew purported to be a translation from Lingua Barbara, and set on foot enquiries for the original. As the Hebrew did not state what particular language this Lingua Barbara was, Saubert had some difficulty in ascertaining the original. Finally, he obtained a clue from Esdras Edzardus, a learned Hebrew visitor to Helmstadt, who had it from a certain Portuguese that that the book had been originally written in Spanish. Probably with a view to enhancing the value of his information, one or other of the reporters added a cock and bull story that the original was kept in MS. by the author, from whom it could not be wrested: "nunquavb autem eâ linguâ editum esse, sed adservari ab auctore MS um. nec ipsi posse extorqueri."
Saubert goes on to relate how he discovered that the author, Jacob Jehuda Leo, had made a model of the Temple in wood, which had been so much admired that he had found it worth while to write a commentary or handbook to explain it, first in Spanish and afterwards in Hebrew.
Saubert takes notice of versions in other languages, especially of the French edition of 1643. This version he found so different from the Hebrew, and so incomplete and ill-arranged, that it looked like a mere trial essay in comparison.
Saubert then proceeds with what he modestly calls his translation of Leon's Hebrew handbook, which stands as No. 4 of Dr. Steinschneider's list given above. It has hardly a right to stand amongst Leon's works, being practically a new treatise, greatly enlarged in scope, and embellished with plans and engravings. The title page runs as follows:
" JACOBI JEHUDAE LEONIS de templo Hierosolymitano, Tàm priori, quod aedificavit Salomo rex, Quàm posteriori, quod devastavit Vespasianus, Libri IV: Jussu & auspiciis serenissimi Principis, DN. Augvsti, Ducis Brunsuicensium, ac Lunaeburgensinm, ex Ebreo Latinà recensiti à JOHANNE SAVBERTO. Accesserunt editioni huic variae figurae, ex Ebroeorum monumentis desumtae, aerique accaratissimè incisa. Helmstadt, cic. ic. c. lxv." [1665].
From the foregoing title page, it will be seen that Saubert, with his accustomed sagacity, avoided the weak spot in the traditional idea of King Solomon's Temple, which conferred upon the earlier, all the architectural splendour of the later Temple. It must be remembered that King Solomon's Temple had no claim to magnificence of architectural proportion, and commanded only local respect as being a permanent edifice raised by a nation of tent-dwellers. Saubert expanded Leon's meagre pamphlet of thirty-eight pages into a stout closely printed quarto, with a text of over two hundred pages, with a frontispiece and six plates, etc. Following on the publication of this treatise, Saubert was drawn into a controversy as to the original language of Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon's handbook, which seems to have excited considerable warmth of feeling, and occupies a surprisingly prominent place in the accounts of this eminent scholar's career. A German version of Leon's treatise appeared at Hanover, on the title page of which the translator stated that it was taken from the original Dutch. He further stated in the Preface to the Reader that the Dutch was the authentic text, in which the book was first published by the author, and in a sidelong fashion hinted that this German version was alone to be depended on, to the exclusion of all others. Upon this, Saubert took fire, and issued a little tract in a single octavo sheet, printed in German, at Helmstadt, in 1665, which was tbought to be of sufficient importance to be translated into Latin, and preserved for us in Wolflus' polyglot quartos. In this tract, entitled Solida Naratio (The Real Story), Saubert inveighs against the Grerman translator, and heaps together arguments to show the priority of the Spanish version to any other. The most surprising thing is that he thought all this Solida Naratio to be necessary. He quotes a letter in Hebrew received by him from Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon, in whieh the latter states his intention of forwarding the original Spanish and the Datch version from it.
Most people would think the author's own statement sufficient, and further arguments derived from the Higher Criticism superfluous.
The last book on Dr. Steinschneider's list, Las Alabanças de Santidad, is a very curious work, containing the Psalms in Hebrew, with a Spanish translation, and many original poems in Hebrew, inscribed to various friends and patrons, amongst whom we find mention 'Del muy Noble y Sabio Senor, Doctor Ishak Orobio de Castro, Filosopho Medico.' This name is met with again, a century later, in connection with the Rabbi's Model of the Temple, on the title page of the English version brought to light by Bro. W. J. Hughan.
We are indebted to Basnage (Histoire des Juifs depuis Jésus-Christ jusqu'à present : A la Haye, MDCCXVI, vol. ix, p. 1059), for a list of posthumous unpublished works of Rabbi Jacob Jehadah Leon. The titles run as follows:
I.Theatro de todas las Figuras que se necessitan para Intelligencia de los difficultosos. Passos de todo el Talmud, obra de mucho Estudio.
II.Disputas que tuvo con differentes Theologos de la Christianidad.
III.Exercicio del Templo en Hebrayco sobre el modo con que se ofrecian los Sacrificios todos los Dias.
IV.Argumentos y Questiones para Aprovacion de sus Estudios sobre la Fabrica del Templo.
To the foregoing, Prof. J. B. de Rossi (Bibliotheca Judaica Antichristiana: Parma, MDCCCI, p. 18), adds an edition of the Mishna with vowel points, which he elsewhere characterises as a work of great learning. In this favourable estimate, de Rossi follows the eminent Talmudic scholar, Surenhuys of Amsterdam (Surenhusius). But Surenhuys's testimony has so important a bearing on the passage quoted above from the Ahiman Rezon, that we shall have to treat of it at length later on.
In all this mass of bibliographical information, derived from continental sources, no mention is made of any English version, except an incidental allusion by David Franco, and on this doubt is cast by that most learned and painstaking authority, Dr. Steinschneider... he writes hesitatingly of "an English version, if we may trust David Franco, whose account does not seem to be altogether acurate." (Anglice si fides habenda Dav. Franco, cujus recensio veo partim confusa videtur). It was reserved for Bro. W. H. Rylands, F.S.A., and Bro. W. J. Hughan to bring the English versions to the notice of modern scholars.
The remarkable passage in the preface to the English version of 1675, which connects Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon's Model with Queen Henrietta Maria, in 1642, or thereabouts, might be susceptible of another explanation, less improbable than that of her having purchased the Model. The verb " owned " used in the passage quoted by our learned Bro. W. H. Rylands (see The Freemason, 22nd July, 1882,) might be taken to mean " acknowledged " (sc. to, be correct). If this interpretation appears strained, we must remember that the transhator was working on a foreign idiom, and that few things are less probable than that Queen Henrietta Maria should have spent on the purchase of a useless Model, the money so painfully raised by pawning the Crown Jewels of England. In any event, the case may be safely left for discussion and determination in the competent hands of Bro. Rylands.
Bro. W. J. Hughan's discovery of the later edition, by De Castro, is a triumph for that indefatigable investigator, as characteristic as was his prompt courtesy in placing his discovery at the disposat of Prof. S. P. Johnston in time for use at the St. John's Day Communication of our Lodge.1
Reverting to the passage quoted from the Ahiman Rezon, 1764, we find Laurence Dermott stating that the Freemasons' coat-of-arms, delineated in his Frontispiece, had been "found in the collection of the famous and learned hebrewist, architect and brother, Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon." It is well known that the whole subject of the Arms of the Freemasons will presently be discussed by Bro. W. H. Rylands, in one of those lucid and exhaustive papers in which he is accustomed to settle for us the most intricate archaeological problems. While awaiting the publication of Bro. W. H. Rylands' paper, and without trenching on the field he has made so peculiarly his own, we may venture to point out that Laurence Dermott's statement will not seem, to the next generation of Masonic students so wildly improbable as it did to the last generation. Indeed, Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon seems to have been a not unlikely man to bave left some such fantastical coat-of-arms among his posthumous papers, if we take the subjoined evidence into account.
Professor Grätz, of the University of Breslau, in compiling his elaborate Geschichte der Juden, came upon a curious note by Surenhuys, the Talmudist, which wafts the coat-of-arms out of the realm of the Impossible, and almost lands it on the shores of the Probable.
Dr. Grätz's words, roughly rendered and condensed, run as follows:
"It is also worthy of notice that Rabbi Jacob Jehuda Leon made sketches of more than two hundred objects in illustration of the Talmud and its traditions. His son, Salomo Templo"—it will be remembered that this epithet became a family name—"handed over these designs to the learned Surenlluys for the latter's Latin version of, and Commentary on, the Mischna. The passage will be found in Surenhuys' Praefatio, near the end. Among these designs, there were illustrations of all objects mentioned in the various Treatises of which the Talmud is composed. Surenhuys gladly availed himself of the sketches for his edition of "the Mischna" and Grätz goes on to say that the designs were, "for the most part, of a most ingenious and appropriate character." (Geschichte der Juden, ältesten zeiten bis auf die geqenwart. Aus den Quellen neu bearbeitet, von Dr. H. Graetz, Professor an der Universität, Breslau. Leipzig, 1888. vol. x., p. 201.)
In the passage to which. Dr. Grätz refers, Surenhuys, or Surenhusius as his name is Latin”zed, after mentioning the difficulty he had had in finding illustrations, that would give any adequate idea of the matters they professed to illustrate, goes on to, speak of his enquiries among his learned Jewish friends, and then enters on particulars of Templo's sketches, models (fiqurae) . . . . "The first of them to present himself was the eminent scholar, Salomo Jehuda Leon Templo, Chief Master of the Hebrew Schools of the Portuguese Jews, Rabbi of their Synagogue, and third in rank in their High Court of Justice, or Beth Din, as they style it. He contributed to the common stock of knowledge more than two hundred pictorial designs bequeathed him by his father. The acceptability of these designs was all the greater in my eyes, because they came from a most cultured man, who was well-known by his numerous literary productions. His name was Jacob Jehudah Leon, sometime Rabbi of the Synagogue at Hamburg, and subsequently of that at Amsterdam. He had won the admiration of the highest and most eminent men of his day by exhibiting to antiquaries, and others interested in such matters, an elaborate Model of the Temple of Jerusalem, constracted by himself. His renown induced Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg, to have his Hebrew treatise on the Temple turned into Latin by Johann Saubert, and to have his portrait engraved. Furthermore, he published the following treatises: Fabrica Tabernaculi; De Cherubimis; Versio, et Notae in Psalmos; Misna cum punctis. His unpublished works, still in his son's possession, comprise Quaestiones variae ad adstruendum ea quae de Templi Fabrica ediderat, et De Ritibus Sacrificiorum quotidie in Templo offerendorum . . . " —(MISHNA, sive totius Hebraeorum Juris, Rituum, Antiquitatum, ac Legum oralium Systema.... Latinitate donavit, ac Notis illustravit GUILIELMUS SURENHUSIUS. Amstelaedami, cic. ic. c. lxxxxviii. Pars prima, Praefatio ad Lectorem, pp. vii, viii.—abbreviated).
From the foregoing condensed quotations it appears that Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon really did leave among his papers many scores of drawings illustrative of the Talmud and its legends. An inspection of his published works will show that he was prone to embellish them with coats-of -arms and allegorical designs. We know, too, thanks to Bro. W. H. Rylands, that Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon promulgated, in English garb, the so-called Talmudic tradition that 163,600 craftsmen were employed for seven years on King Solomon's Temple ; nay, ,that he gave currency, with sublime exaggeration, to the stultifying statement that their number was 4,100,900.
Is it not likely then, that, with a similar idea of impressing on the visitors to his Model the elaborate organisation of the workmen, he emblazoned a coat-of-arms for them? The anachronism of ascribing coat-armour to King Solomon and his Craftsmen would not have weighed for a moment with antiquaries of the Rabbi's day and generation. At any rate the Cherubim who stand as supporters were borrowed directly fron a design by the Rabbi himself. The archetype appears as a vignette on the title page of his treatise De Cherubimis 1647, No. 6 in Steinschneider's list.
Whether the coat-of-arms was the offspring of the Rabbi's imagination or not, it found favour with all the Grand Lodges who held with the Antients. To this day it stands as the coat-of-arms of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and it shares the field in the arms of the Grand Lodge of England, from which the Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon's Cherubim have fairly ousted the Beavers of the Operative Masons.
Finally, the name of Leon might possibly explain a puzzling mention of a certain "Mr. Lyon " that occurs in the First Edition of Laurence Dermott's Ahiman Rezon. The book is scarce, scarcer even than the Second Edition from which we have quoted, so that no apology is needed for reproducing the passage.
Laurence Dermott begins the series of Constitutions that have passed under the name of Ahiman Rezon by breaking a good humoured jest on the absurdity of the stock History of Freemasonry served up to the Bretbren of that day. Prefacing his jocular observations with the serious " Quere, whether such Histories are of any use in the secret Mysteries of the Craft?" he continues in the same vein of raillery.
" Having called to mind the old proverb, Better out of the World than out of Fashion, I was fully determined to publish a History of Masonry, whereby I did expect to give the world an uncommon Satisfaction ; and in order to enable myself to execute this great Design, I purchased all, or most of the Histories, Constitutions, Pocket Companions, and other Pieces (on that subject), now extant in the English Tongue.
My next step was to furnish myself with a sufficient Quantity of Pens, Ink and Paper: This being done, I immediately fancied myself an Historian and intended to trace Masonry, not only to Adam, in his sylvan lodge in Paradise, but to give some account of the Craft even before the Creation. And (as a Foundation), I placed the following Works round about me, so as to be convenient to have Recourse to them as Occasion should require, viz., Doctor Anderson and Mr. Spratt directly before me, Dr. D'Assigny, and Mr. Smith on my Right-hand, Doctor Desagulier and Mr. Pennell on my Left-hand, and Mr. Scott and Mr. Lyon behind me: A Copy of (that often called) the Original Constitutions (said to be in the Possession of Mr. John Clark, in Paris), and another copy of the same Magnitude banded about in England, together with the Pamphlet printed at Frankfort in Germany, I tied up in the Public Advertiser of Friday, October 19, 1753, and threw them under the Table." — Ahiman Rezon, 1756; The Editor to the Reader, pp. vi.,vii.
The Mr. Lyon here associated with Mr. Scott, the publisher, and probably the compiler of The Pocket Companion of 1754, is not known to students in the same way as the other authors mentioned. Can it be possible that he is Leon, with his name Anglicized ? This is only a guess, ventured in default of certain knowledge
The mere fact that Mr. Lyon is unknown at the present day as an author, does not amount to much. Other pamphleteers are in like case. Here is an example. The following advertisement appears in The Evening Post, 17th-19th November 1730 cheek by jowl with an announcement of Prichard's Masonry Dissected.
" This Day is pubd. (Dedd. to Mr. Orator Henley) A new Model for Rebuilding Masonry, on a stronger Basis thau the former; with a sound Constitution, and a curious Catechism. . . . . In tbree degrees, teaching the whole World to be Masons, without the Imputation of being Fools or Knaves. TO which is added Several diverting Songs by celebrated Free Masons, of the Old Order and some of the New Ones proposed as Subjects for a certain Orator; with the Downfall of the Old Structure, a Melancholy Poem addressed to Melpomene. by Peter Farmer, Esq. Price 6d."
Farmer's treatise has disappeared as completely as Lyon's: so no conclusion can be drawn from the nonsurvival of the latter to its non-existence.
By-the-by, the issue of The Public Advertiser, 12th October, 1753, contains a reprint of the "Pamphlet printed at Frankfort in Germany," which, notwithstanding Laurence Dermott's contemptuous disclaimer on this occasion, ultimately found its way into the Ahiman Rezon, under the name of Mr. John Locke's "Letter to the Right Hon. Earl of . . ."
1. Equally characteristic of our Brother Hughan was the unselfishness with which he facilitated the acquisition of this extremely rare pamphlet by our Lodge Library.-G.W.S.

Reprinted with permission of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, the Transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, UGLE in Volume XII for the year 1899, pp. 150-58.


© 1871-2023 Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon A.F. & A.M. Updated: 2007/11/04