New journal puts spotlight on freemasonry

The mysterious world of the fraternal freemasons will be under inspection in a new journal which is being launched by the University of Sheffield this week (29 January 2010).

The University's Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism has launched the first ever academic peer-reviewed journal into the fraternal organisation, which will shed light on many of the intriguing elements of the society, which are often subject to public debate.

The Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism was published online on Friday 22 January 2010 and will appear in print this week. It is published by academic publisher Equinox in London under the general editorship of Dr. Andreas Önnerfors, Director of the University's Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism.

The first volume is dedicated to Freemasonry and national identity in Europe and gathers six papers by leading Dutch, Italian, French, American and Belgian experts in the area.

Freemasonry is one of the world's oldest secular fraternal societies and has had a major impact on shaping the culture of many European countries. Elements of the society remain private and it has been a challenge for historians to establish the truth behind the rumours and debate. The Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism was established in 2000 as the first centre in a British university devoted to scholarly research into Freemasonry. The Centre studies the historical, social and cultural impact of freemasonry, particularly in Britain.

Dr Önnerfors said: "This is the first ever academic journal in this area of research and marks another significant cornerstone in the development of Freemasonry as a subject of academic studies. Fraternal organisations have had a major impact on our history and are still topical today. The origins and influence of Freemasonry in particular, have long been debated and this journal will help shed light on many of the pressing issues affecting the organisation."

Visit the Journal's webpages for more information, including how to subscribe.

For further information please contact: Lauren Anderson, Media Relations Officer, on 0114 2221046 or email l.h.anderson@sheffield.ac.uk