Prestonian Lecture 2020: A system of morality – Aristotle and the making of the ritual

South Wales Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge No. 8900 was due to host the Prestonian Lecture 2020 in May. However, due to the Covid-19 outbreak it has had to be postponed.

The lecture entitled ‘A system of morality – Aristotle and the making of the ritual’ is authored, and due to be presented, by Professor G.R. Boys-Stones PAGDC. It is now available to purchase on Amazon either as a paperback or Kindle download. All the proceeds are going to support a Durham-based charity working with vulnerable young people, Building Self-Belief CIO.

The Provincial Grand Orator, W. Bro. Merrick Jones PAGPurs, said: “The lockdown has sadly prevented us from hearing W. Bro. George’s Prestonian lecture in person, but I would encourage all Brethren to support a worthy cause, and read his fascinating research for themselves.”

AbstractPrestonian Lecture 2020

English Freemasonry defines itself as a ‘system of morality’: but what does that phrase mean? This new study traces it back to the work of William Preston (1742–1818), who argued that Freemasonry teaches a philosophical approach to virtue. According to Preston, the rituals of Freemasonry are designed to lead the initiate through the ethical thought of Aristotle. His view proved popular, and was decisive in shaping the ritual approved for use by the United Grand Lodge of England shortly after its formation in 1813. Almost all English lodges, and many others throughout the world, still use a ritual derived from this one, and, perhaps without realising it, continue to pay silent testimony to Preston and to Aristotle in their work.

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