Saturday, May 06, 2006

The real stuff on the Templars

I scoffed a while back at a news item concerning the Templars, who have become a favorite and now well-publicized subject of modern occult thinking and conspiracy theories.

For anyone who wants to get past the modern overlay of Templar mythology, there are some good books out there. Those with access to Nipissing University's collection can get them here.

For those who are adventurous, there is Malcolm Barber and Keith Bates' The Templars : selected sources. It contains a brief historical introduction and dozens of original sources in English translation.

Maybe more readers would be interested in narrative accounts. For you, we also have two other books by Malcolm Barber: The new knighthood : a history of the Order of the Temple, an overall view of the organization till its destruction by Philip IV of France in the 14th century, and The Trial of the Templars, a detailed account of that destruction (so like a Soviet purge). This is history that is both sober and exciting. When your friends start talking about The Da Vinci Code or Holy Blood, Holy Grail, you'll already have the straight facts.

All of Barber's books are still in print and can be ordered on-line.

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