The occasion is the release of a new book by Michael Haag, which is reviewed by Christopher Howse:
Michael Haag, in his well-knit narrative, gets through an enormous spread of history, helpfully telling readers what the Bible has to say about the Jewish Temple before running through the Roman, Muslim and Crusader centuries. The after-history of the Templars is dominated by the imaginings of Freemasons and the conspiracy fancies of scarcely distinct alternative historians and novelists. If anything, the author is too tolerant of this froth. Historical truth does matter.
Why is that among authors who dedicate themselves to unraveling the “Templar mysteries” one after another are “too tolerant of this froth”? Perhaps, because frothy books sell better than honest and realistic ones? I am a perpetual stick in the mud.
Howse is refreshingly unsympathetic to Templar baloney, but unfortunately is also unsympathetic to the Church Militant:
Perhaps the Templars themselves were off-beam from their first dawn, since it seems to have escaped the notice of these poor, chaste and obedient monk-knights that Christ was not a soldier. They joined St Bernard in promoting the rather disastrous Second Crusade, but found little success in freeing Christian territories in the Holy Land from surrounding warring Islamic factions. They had better luck in Spain, where the frontier of reconquered territory pushed steadily southwards.
Hmm, “Christ was not a soldier.” Oh, really? Seems Christ was more a soldier than St. George for Our Lord’s dragon threatened not just one virgin, but the whole human race. Mr. Howse should read Genesis 3:15, John 19, Ephesians 5 and Revelations 12.
Furthermore, the word of Christ to soldiers was not a condemnation of soldering, but of the sins common to soldiers: Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely–be content with your pay (Lk. 3:14).
Perhaps both the sensationalists and pacifists would do well to read some reliable history on the Crusades instead of relying on Ridley Scott. (See this video at 3:16-3:27 for a nice taste of the slop that too many moviegoers are only too eager to lap up).
A sword salute and click of the heals to Frank Wilson.
Michael Haag, has commented below. Mr Haag is the author of the book The Templars: History and Myth, the review of which is the subject of this post. His comment is a fair defense of his book, which I admittedly have not read. See also my response to him following his comment.