BARON OR DITFURTH

Baron of Ditfurth (Franz Dietrich Von Ditfurth VII: 1 May 1738, in Dankersen, Minden, Germany - 30 March 1813, Wetzlar, Germany), lawyer, writer, philosopher and progressive Freemason, son of Friedrich Ludwig von Ditfurth III and Lucie Katharina Auguste von Ditfurth. He contracted first marriages with Dorothea Konradine von Ditfurth and second marriages with Johanna Marie von Ditfurth, having children with them. He succeeded in social and legal sciences and philosophy. After the Bachelor of Laws, Installing in 1762 a law firm in Wolfenbüttel. He was appointed in 1773 to the post of advisor to the Reich Chamber of Commerce in Wetzlar. He had a brilliant legal and administrative career at Wolfenbüttel.

 

Ditfurth was initiated into Freemasonry, possibly in the Rite of Strict Observance (a rite introduced in 1761 in Germany by Baron Karl Gotthelf von Hund. This rite was based on the assumption that the ancient Knights Templar were not destroyed but continued to exist secretly in the Scotland, and, adjuncts to the Freemasons' guilds, founded Freemasonry). In 1776 he was elected Provincial Grand Master of the Strict Observance at Wetzlar.

​With the death of Baron Hund, Ditfurth detaches himself from the Strict Observance and starts to dedicate himself to the compilation of a new rite for German Freemasons, simply called the Eclectic Rite or Eclectic Freemasonry (Creation 1776-1779 - reform: 1783) . He left the Strict Observance in the same year, joining the Grand Lodge of the Three Globes. Acclaimed in 1777 Worshipful Master at the Lodge "Joseph zu den drey Helmen" in Wetzlar. It fought the mystique and templarism introduced in the Masonic rituals of the time. He defended the purity of speculative Freemasonry. Finally, in 1782 he participated in the Wilhelmsbad convent in an attempt to restore the seriousness of the German Freemasons. Unsuccessful, he installed the Grand Lodges of the Eclectic Rite in Germany in 1783 with the participation of Johann Karl Brönner and Kingge.

Baron of Ditfurth is considered the father of German Freemasonry, and also of the Grand Lodges of the Eclectic League of Frankfurt and Wetzlar. Ditfurth's legacy spread throughout the world, influencing various philosophers and authors, among them Friedrich Ulrich Ludwig Schröder.

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