The Templar Treasure at Gisors (ISBN 089281972-3) by Jean Markale and published by Inner Traditions is the best book about the Templars I've ever read. The real treasure isn't all the gold and precious gems lost to antiquity, but the true and irrefutable history of the Order itself.
Author Jean Markale didn't make the mistake of accepting all the myths surrounding the Order. He researched it himself by going back to the original documents and telling the story of the Knights Templar with fact and not imaginative fiction. Unfortunately, the facts he uncovers destroy many of the myths we've come to believe. The Masonic York Rite's myth about the Knight's Templar, for example, will probably never change as the myth is secondary to the teachings of that Rite.
But the myth of many of the current Orders of the Temple will need to change because that myth is central to their Christian teachings. The Order to which I belong has long felt the Knights Templar were a Gnostic Order founded by the Pope to retain the true message of Jesus while the Church subverted those teachings for the benefit of the Church. Jesus taught Love above all else. The Church teaches Salvation and places the priest in the position to offer people that salvation. This business has been the most profitable business ever conceived. Jesus taught for free.
Jean Markale doesn't go so far as to suggest the Knights were a Gnostic Order but he does provide ample truth about several things of central importance to modern Orders of the Temple:
1. The Knights of the Temple renounced Jesus as Divine. That's a very Gnostic concept that everybody is a Son or Daughter of the Divine and no single person is the Divine Incarnate. Most modern Templars consider Jesus to be the Divine Himself.
2. The Knights rejected the cross and even spit on it in their ceremonies as a symbol of rejecting the Crucifixion. They don't claim the man Jesus wasn't crucified, but they do renounce the teaching that &Jesus died for our sins.& Most modern Knights consider the Christian Cross to be their central symbol. Bearing this Cross, they consider themselves Knights for Christ because Jesus died on the Cross for our sins.
3. The Knights were known to &worship& a two-faced idol of various descriptions. This again is very Gnostic as it points to the fact we each are physically incarnated in this material world and we are each a divine Child of the Divine at the same time. In the modern Knights Templar ceremonies a skull is used in place of the two-faced idol and it's a symbol of death that's not worshipped.
4. At the time the Temple was disbanded by Pope Clement the Knights Templar controlled more wealth than the King of France and the Pope. This made the Knights very dangerous to both. It's undoubtedly the reason the Knights were tortured, their properties confiscated and the Order dissolved. The Modern Knights Templar don't speak of these things but they do blame the King of France for burning the Grandmaster and a few other Knights at the stake.
The author makes a great case for the Temple being here and everywhere. He describes the founding of the Templars in great detail and documents his facts with ancient writings. He describes their growth and decline with the same attention to detail. There's no doubt in my mind this is the most accurate book ever written about the Knights Templar.
If the Order of the Temple or the Order of the Knights Templar appeals to you, this book is a good place to discover the truth about the Order. To pursue this further, you may want to investigate the Spiritual Alchemy as a starting place.
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