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The word Speculative is used by Freemasons in its primary sense as symbolic, or theoretical, when opposed to Operative. The Matthew Cooke Manuscript transcribed about 1400 A. D. from an earlier original, makes use of the word in this technical connection, and its adoption by Anderson in his version of the Old Charges, 1723 A.D., is one of the proofs that this Manuscript was under his hand when compiling the Book of Constitutions Otherwise he would have substituted for Speculative and Operative the Scottish terms Geomatic and Domatic, just as he used Fellow Craft and Cowan.

Dogmatic is derived from the Latin word Domus, which signifies a house. It therefore means of or belonging to a house. Its Masonic meaning is transparent from its usage in former times. When a body of Freemasons who were also Operative Masons, applied for a Charter to found a Lodge, as was the case with the petitioners for Ayr Kilwinning in 1765, they designated themselves Dogmatic Masons.

On the other hand, members of Lodges who were not Operative Masons--Nobles, Lairds, etc.--were styled Geomatic Masons, a term derived from the Greek word afa, the land or soil, and therefore intended to show that they were landed proprietors or men in some way or another connected with agriculture. This was evidently the idea the word was meant to express at first but it was by and by applied to all Freemasons who were not Operative Masons, and who were in those days styled "Gentlemen Masons."

So says Brother D. Murray Lyon, of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, in his History of Mother Kilwinning. But this will hardly hold water; it may pass with the bastard Latin Domaticus, but no one sufficiently acquainted with Greek to know that meant the Earth, could tolerate the meaningless termination. Judging by linguistic analogues, Geomatic should be a corruption of Geometic, due to the sharp sound of the short e in Lowland Scottish aided by the jingling assonance of Domatic (see Domatic).

Similarly, the word Cowan is first met with amongst Scottish Operative Masons applied with contempt to a Dry-Diker, that is, a spurious Freemason who builds walls without cement. Its etymology is uncertain and the far-fetched derivations from a dog, or from listening, a listening person, that is, an eavesdropper, must be dismissed as inconsistent with philological principles. In the present writer's opinion the most likely derivation is that which connects it with the French Cofon or Coyon, a man of no account, a wretch. If so, it adds another to the list of low French words embedded in Lowland Scottish, during the medieval intercourse of the two countries, for the curious derivation of the French word and its Romance cognates from Latin Coleus, Greek (see Cowan). The above notes are by Brother W. J. Chetwode Craxvley (Caementaria Hibernica, Faseieulus 1, page 6).

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