Perneiti or Pernety, Antoine Joseph
Born at Roanne, in France, in 1716. At an early age he joined the Benedictines, but in 1765 applied, with twenty-eight others, for a dispensation of his vows. A short time after, becoming disgusted with the Order, he repaired to Berlin, where Frederick the Great made him his librarian. In a short time he returned to Paris, where the Archbishop strove in vain to induce him to re-enter his monastery. The Parliament supported him in his refusal, and Pernetti continued in the world. Not long after, Pernetti became infected with the mystical theories of Swedenborg, and published a translation of his Wonders of Heaven and Hell.
He then repaired to Avignon, where, under the influence of his Swedenborgian views, he established an Academy of the Illuminati, based on the first three grades of Freemasonry, to which he added a mystical one, which he called the True Freemason.
This Rite was subsequently transferred to Montpellier by some of his disciples, and modified in form under the name of the Academy of True Freemasons. Pernetti, besides his Masonic labors at Avignod, invented several other Masonic Degrees, and to him is attributed the authorship of the Degree of Knight of the Sun, now occupying the twenty-eighth place in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. He was a very learned man and a voluminous writer of versatile talents, and published numerous works on mythology, the fine arts, theology, geography, philosophy, and the mathematical sciences, besides some translations from the Latin. He died at Valence, in Dauphiny, in the year 1800.
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