Scholarly Societies Project

Freimaurerloge "Zur wahren Eintracht"


Freimaurerloge "Zur wahren Eintracht" =
Free Masonic Lodge "True Harmony"
Founding of the Society
Authority / Notes

According to Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.37, on 1781, June 8, Joseph II (Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790) authorized a law on censor reform. On p.40 of Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, it is pointed out, however, that although the censor reform certainly meant a broadening of intellectual freedom, it did not mean the abolition of the censor. Incidentally, footnote 22 of p.40 of Rosenstrauch-Königsberg describes this as the "Zensurpatent von 1781"

It should be noted that Weisberger (1993), p.119 refers to a "1781 Josephinian Patent legalizing the activities of Masonry in the empire..." It is not completely clear whether Weisberger is referring to the "Zensurpatent von 1781" mentioned above, or some other decree. In any case, Weisberger (1993), p.120 indicates that Viennese freemasons interpreted this to mean that Joseph considered freemasonry a respectable institution.

According to Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.50, the Lodge "Zur wahren Eintracht" (originally a spin-off from the Lodge "Zur gekrönten Hoffnung") was founded on 1781, March 12. Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.50 notes further that the nominal leader was at first Ignaz Fischer, court surgeon. After the lodge had existed for only a year, Ignaz Edler von Born affiliated himself and his circle with the lodge, and soon became leader of the Lodge. Under his leadership the Lodge aspired to become an elite lodge with literary and scientific leanings.

Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.64, indicates that as early as 1782 Born had encouraged the publication of a journal devoted to the cultivation and advancement of the exact sciences. This publication would also make the papers delivered at the lodges accessible to a wider audience. As a result, it was decided that the "Zur wahren Eintracht" Lodge would publish the Physikalische Arbeiten der Einträchtigen Freunde in Wien. Born became the editor of the journal. It was intended as a quarterly publication, but, as it happened, over its entire run from 1783-1788 it published only seven issues.

Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, pp.50-51 indicates that Ignaz Edler von Born was born on 1742, December 26 in Siebenbürgen, studied in Vienna, entered Jesuit orders, but left after only sixteen months, and did some traveling, in the course of which he came in contact with freemasonry. For a while, he settled in Prague, and in 1770 he revived the free masonic lodge "Zu den drei gekrönten Säulen in Prag", which had been founded in 1743, but which had been dormant for some time.

Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.51 also notes that at about the same time he founded the Prague scholarly society Privatgesellschaft zur Aufnahme der Mathematik, der vaterländischen Geschichte, und der Naturgeschichte, and he played a role in its publications. He also became a member of most of the scholarly societies and academies in Europe. In addition, he is said, with some justification, to have been the model for Sarastro in Mozart's Zauberflöte.

Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.53 notes that most Viennese authors appeared in the Lodge by and by, and considered it an honour to belong to this Lodge. It should be, as was often asserted, a substitute for the long striven for German Academy of Sciences and Arts (suggested by Leibnitz), and to fulfill this duty in the spirit of the Enlightenment. The duties of such a Leibnitzian Academy were in many respects fulfilled by the "Zur wahren Eintracht" Lodge. As an example, Rosenstrauch-Königsberg mentions the so-called Übungsloge which were held regularly at the suggestion of Born. Designated themes were considered, although authors always endeavoured to relate them to freemasonry.

According to Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.55, the Lodge could never be a valid substitute for an Academy of Sciences, since it was not possible to remain in the Lodge unless one adhered to the ideas of the Enlightenment, or at least pretended to do so. This ideological limitation would be unthinkable for an Academy.

According to Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.56 the sphere of action of the Lodge was limited by its definite pro-Enlightenment, anti-clerical orientation. Even so, the Lodge was the centre of intellectual life in Vienna, and could have become the embryo for an Academy, if its work had not been stopped by the 1785 Freimaurerpatent (freemason decree) of Kaiser Joseph II (see below).

Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.56 refers to the controversial Illuminati order, which had been founded in 1776 in Bavaria by Adam Weishaupt. There were some similarities in the ideals of both the freemasons and the Illuminati, but the latter were less inward-looking or contemplative than the former, and were instead more interested in social change. The similarities in philosophy between these two groups was, unfortunately, to play a role in the downfall of freemasonry in Vienna.

Weisberger (1993), p.149 indicates that, like the freemasons, the Illuminati operated in secrecy; but unlike the freemasons, the Illuminati also encouraged revolutionary activities against European monarchs. Weisberger (1993), p.149 notes that by late 1785 Joseph was disturbed by the activities of the Illuminati, and also believed that the goals of the freemasons were similar. He therfore enacted his Freimaurerpatent on 1785, December 1, aimed at thwarting the activities of secret societies. It limited each capital city of each province to one lodge, and required each lodge to submit its membership list to the secret police every three months.

An immediate consequence of this 1785 Patent was that on 1785, December 24 the "Zur wahren Eintracht" Lodge ceased its activities, and four days later (December 28) was merged with the"Zu den drey Adlern" and "Zum Palmbaum" Lodges to form the "Zur Wahrheit" Lodge (Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.63). After this a very rapid decline in membership occurred, since people did not want to appear on the freemason membership list that was to be sent to the Monarchs.

Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.64 notes that, between 1787 and 1789, Lodge members met infrequently, and in 1789 unanimously decided to dissolve. On the other hand, Weisberger (1993), p.150 says that Prince Dietrichstein [Grand Master of the Austrian lodges] decided to close it down in 1788.

Finally, Weisberger (1993), pp.167-168 identifies only two European Masonic lodges during the Enlightenment that aspired to be scholarly societies: first, the Parisian Loge des Neufs Soeurs (which he names as the "Lodge of the Nine Sisters"), and second, the Viennese Zur wahren Eintracht Lodge (which he names as the True Harmony Lodge). Weisberger (1993), p.168 states that because the Zur wahren Eintracht Lodge published literary and scientific proceedings, it was more like a scholarly society than its Parisian sister. Furthermore the Viennese Lodge "satisfied a great cultural need and functioned as one of the very few learned societies in Josephinian Vienna".

Seat of the Society
Authority / Notes
This location is supported by p.125 of Weisberger (1993).
Name of the Society
1781, March 12 - 1785, December 28 Freimaurerloge "Zur wahren Eintracht" Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.50 gives this start date for this name; Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.63 gives this end date, indicating that it then merged into the "Zur Wahrheit" Lodge.
1785, December 28 - 1789 Freimaurerloge "Zur Wahrheit" Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.63 gives this start date for this name; Rosenstrauch-Königsberg, p.64 gives this end date.
Journals of the Society
Full Journal Title
1783/85 - 1786/88
(1. - 2.,3)
Physikalische Arbeiten der Einträchtigen Freunde in Wien
According to Weisberger (1993), pp.128-130, this journal was the scientific journal of the Zur wahren Eintracht Lodge.
[GBV German Union cat.]
Physikal. Arbeiten der Einträcht. Freunde in Wien
[Reuss, v.7, p.51 cites Jahrg.2. Quart.2.]
Physikal. Arbeiten der Einträchtigen Freunde in Wien
[Reuss, v.1, p.67 cites Jahrg.1. Quart.3; v.1, pp.70, 71 & 72 cite Jahrg.1. Quart.4; v.3, p.85 cites Jahrg.1. Quart.4; v.1, pp.2 & 67 cite Jahrg.2. Quart.1; v.1, p.25 cites cites Jahrg.2. Quart.3.]
1784 - 1787
(1.Jahrg., 1.Vierteljahr - 3.Jahrg., 4.Vierteljahr)
Journal für Freymaurer : als Manuskript gedruckt für Brüder und Meister des Ordens
According to Weisberger (1993), pp.128-130, this journal was the literary journal of the Zur wahren Eintracht Lodge.
According to catalogue records in the GBV German Union cat., issues 1.Jahrg., 1.Vierteljahr - 3.Jahrg., 1.Vierteljahr (1784 - 1786) had the note: hrsg von den Brüdern der [Loge] zur wahren Einheit im Orient von Wien; and issues 3.Jahrg., 2.Vierteljahr - 3.Jahrg., 4.Vierteljahr (1786 - 1787) had the note: hrsg von den Brüdern der [Loge] zur Wahrheit im Orient von Wien.
A note in another record in the GBV German Union cat. indicates that the dates were actually given as 5784 - 5786/87, which were equivalent to 1784 - 1786/87; the larger dates are the years in the calendar used by Ancient Craft Masons.
[GBV German Union cat.]


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