Posted by: Nyxks | July 20, 2007

The Knights Templar and Their Myth

The Knights Templar and Their Myth
by Peter Partner © 2005
Destiny Books
ISBN 0-89281-273-7
209 pages
Paperback
$14.95 (U.S.) $21.95 (Canada)
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason

There have been many books written about the Knights Templar. They have expounded every idea about what the Templars believed; what they did; why they behaved as they did. This book is another in that genre. I don’t know how to judge the scholarship underlying it, as I am not qualified as a specialist in the field.

Mr. Partner devotes the first half of this work to the factual history of the Order from their founding to the dissolution of the Order and the execution of the leadership. There are a few gray areas in this account, as some aspects of it have never been fully documented or authenticated, but it is, by and large, a straightforward account of an organization which was neither fully military nor fully clerical. The accusations against the Order and its members are set forth and examined in broad outline. No attempt is made to offer a final decision on their guilt or innocence, although he does discount the idea that they were magicians of any sort.

The second half of the book is devoted to the myths that have grown up about the historical Order and its (alleged) continuation to the present day. The “connection” between the Knights Templar and the Freemasonry of the Middle Ages is explored in depth and dismissed as tenuous at best.

For those readers with a basic understanding of Freemasonry and its origins and history, this book will yield little new material. For those readers with conspiracy theory leanings, there will be confirmation of their beliefs. And for those readers with neither of the above, there will be an education. While not an exhaustive history, it is thorough enough to provide a basis for further investigation, which is (in today’s rather open environment) easily undertaken either on the Worldwide Web or through the more traditional sources of books and magazines.

The bibliography is extensive, but heavily laden with publications difficult to access because of age and/or language of publication (many being published as long as 400 years ago, and being in French and German).

Readers coming from a background of magical systems, or followers of the “old religion” will find his dismissal of these upsetting, I am sure. His emphasis is on the documented existence and dissolution of the Order as seen from a historical perspective, and consequently he brushes aside speculation on the metaphysical aspects.

This book is well-written and informative. And, while it probably won’ appeal to the New Age-style reader, it deserves a place on the bookshelves of those seriously interested in the history of this intriguing organization.

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