Historical Distortions and The Templars | The Foreword to Régine Pernoud’s ‘The Templars: Knights of Christ’ by Piers Paul Read | Ignatius Insight [22 October 2009]

As disgraceful as the fate of the last Templars–the last Grand Master, *James of Molay, was burned at the stake in Paris–has been the appropriation of the Order by myth-making Freemasons in the eighteenth century, whose mytagogy and obfuscation persists to this day. From Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, the protrayal of the Templars is as false as it is absurd. This distortion exasperated, and even enraged, the French historian Régine Pernoud, who has already set right many of our misapprehensions about the Middle Ages in her Those Terrible Middle Ages: Debunking the Myths. Now in The Templars she rehabilitates the devout Catholic knights, exposing ‘the incredible crop of fanciful allegations attributing to the Templars every kind of esoteric rite and belief, from the most ancient to the most vulgar. . . .’ As she rightly points out, the truth is accessible in archives and libraries; it is not impossible to uncover the facts. The result is an excellent, unadorned history which is a pleasure to read.

* Jacques DeMolay


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