Author: Peter Partner
Trade Paperback, 232 pages
Publisher: Destiny Books
Publication date: 2005
List: US$14.95, C$21.95
Price & More Info: Click Here
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't
appeal to the New Age-style reader, it deserves a place on the bookshelves
of those seriously interested in the history of this intriguing
Reviewed by Mike Gleason