Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Debate on the Trial of the Templars (1307-1314)

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Debate on the Trial of the Templars (1307-1314)

Article excerpt

The Debate on the Trial of the Templars (1307-1314), ed. Jochen Burgtorf, Paul F. Crawford, and Helen J. Nicholson (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010). xxvi + 399 pp. ISBN 978-0-7546-6570-0. £60.00. This volume makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the enigmatic downfall of the Templar order in the early fourteenth century. A lucid introduction by Malcolm Barber provides context for those unfamiliar with the trial, and is followed by twenty-eight articles offering new approaches to old questions: did the accusations have any factual basis? was the King of France motivated purely by financial gain? was the Pope merely a pawn of the French king?

There is not space here to evaluate the contributions of particular articles, but only to point to some of the salient themes of the volume and their problematization of conventional narratives. The common historiographical assumption, that the Templars must have been decadent and corrupt by the 1300s, is scrutinized in the light of evidence indicating the nature of Templar devotion, or concerning earlier renegades from Templar houses, and extended families with Templar connections, where one would expect to find mention of abuse. …

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