Book Review: The Hiram Key

The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasonry, and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus – frequently abbreviated simply as The Hiram Key – is a popular 1997 book on Freemasonry written by co-authors Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas. Given that both are in fact practicing Masons, the book is loaded with all sorts of interesting theories and information that seem emblematic of an insider’s point of view on the subject matter. And some very fascinating subject matter it is – the old adage is that controversy sells, and in the case of The Hiram Key, that wise old marketer’s saying proves absolutely true. The central argument of the book is that the ancient foundations of the Christian religion are in fact distortions by none other than the early Roman Catholic Church itself regarding the teachings of Jesus and his followers. According to Knight and Lomas, in Masonry, there exists a new way to unlock the true secrets of civilization – as opposed to the allegedly false beliefs purported by many modern Christians. The book has in fact been marketed as a sort of “true story” and tell all regarding the historical Jesus Christ, as well as his original Jerusalem Church.

It’s no surprise that such assertions would give way to enormous amounts of backlash, to say the least. While the radical arguments set forth by the authors have attracted a great deal of criticism and even outrage, the fact remains that the book is nonetheless chock full of interesting trivia. Whether or not the authors’ viewpoints are correct is something that only time – and perhaps individual opinion – can verify. Far more interesting than the boring old “he said, she said” game or questions of truth and falsehood are the presentation of a fresh new take on old assumptions about history and religion alike. Knight and Lomas even go so far as to come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ himself must have been a Mason. They claim that this was inevitable – though no doubt there are quite a number of readers out there who will disagree with such a statement.

That said, despite the inevitable amounts of controversy, many reviews of the book have been largely positive. Critics and readers praise the book as being remarkably interesting and unflinching in its take on a highly debated period of religious history. While many readers are indeed shocked, this often makes them “hungry,” as opposed to turned off by the unusual theories espoused by the authors. Indeed, they claim that the shock value of The Hiram Key often keeps the audience turning its pages to the very end – and then they only put the book down to look for more reading material by the same authors. Furthermore, upon finishing the book, many readers have claimed that the theory presented – rather than being absurd, unfathomable, or simply dismissed as “merely amusing” – as actually a “remarkable” idea. In that sense, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasonry, and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus is quite the runaway success.

Moreover, despite their eyebrow raising statements on the Christian religion, the authors remain largely respectful of modern day followers of Christianity, particularly members of the Roman Catholic church, who perhaps have the greatest cause to be offended. Knight and Lomas blatantly and apologetically admit, “”We realize that this is a statement that will offend many Christians, and particularly many Roman Catholics,” acknowledging the controversial nature of their various statements, theories, and arguments. However, they do not shy away from their own staunch stances on some highly sensitive subject matter, and for that, perhaps they ought to be admired.