Book Review: The Templar Papers

This book (mentioned in a previous forum thread) is a collection of articles from The Temple Magazine and edited by Oddvar Olsen. The bias of the collection is very much on the speculative side rather than “straight” history and while that undoubtedly makes for more gripping reading my one major complaint with most of the contributions was that the level of reference to old primary (or even secondary) source material was low and the number of quotations taken from recent books such as “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” was high.

That aside I was thoroughly engrossed by this book and I had a piece of paper beside me which I used to take notes of nuggets of information that I thought deserved follow-up. By the end of the book the page was full which is fair testament to its thought-provoking nature.

As with all such collections the overall experience is like tackling a box of assorted chocolates (although as you’re all probably just getting over your Easter inchoxification, this is probably a nausea-inducing simile) – the ones you like you want more of, but there are invariably some that aren’t to your taste either. Thankfully in this collection there were far more of the former.

I have to say (and not just because he is a “magus” on this site) that Yuri’s articles were probably my favourite. It’s been a hobby horse of mine for a while that there seems to be two perspectives of early Christianity – the story told by the community themselves and the story told by external sources (e.g. Josephus) – and that some characters may be appearing in both under different guises.

In particular it seems to me that Jesus and his family may have had closer ties to the existing priestly power structure than the Gospels let on (although tantalising glimpses of the possible links do exist). If only you could triangulate the characters from both traditions and see if a more comprehensive composite picture emerges. Yuri cuts to the heart of this with his essays on Salome and John the Baptist and I for one would love to see what additional flesh could be added to these particular bones (coporal metaphors intended!).

Lynn Picknett’s offering is as finely crafted as ever although if you’ve read her Templar Revelation/Mary Magdalene books there’s little here that’s new. Robert Lomas’ contribution is similarly deft although in his case I was less interested in the subject (Freemasonry). I had one of those spooky moments when I saw that one of the contributors was Barry Dunford who I referenced in the Quest Lead forums. I had no idea that this was the case (Yuri, you never said that he was a collaborator of yours). His article seemed at first glance quite niche but left me with the feeling that it contained exactly the kind of specific, local landscape information that might actually spring into relevance during a psychic quest proper.

All in all then an intriguing read and if you have any interest in Templars, early Christianity, the Holy Grail or Freemasonry then I would recommend it as a sort of mental flint.

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