Saturday, June 4, 2011

Book Review: The Templar Revelation

It was at my nearest thrift store, I think, that I paid 50 cents for The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ, by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince [1997, Touchstone, ISBN 0-684-84891-0]. On the cover of this paperback it says "As featured in The DaVinci Code". I figured it was worth the modest investment to see how The DaVinci Code was related to it.

As far as is possible, I feel I wasted my 50 cents. The book is awful. It is divided into two part: 1) The Threads of Heresy, and 2) The Web of Truth. I read about half of part 1 and spot read 20 to 30 pages of part 2 (150 out of 373 total pages). The most common phrase used in the book is "as will be short later," or various derivatives of that. John the Baptist was more prominent than Jesus, as will be shown later. Mary Magdalene was Jesus' wife or concubine, as will be shown later. The Knights Templar were adherents to the cult of Mary Magdalene, as will be shown later. The Cathars understood the true importance of the Baptist and the Magdalene, as will be shown later. How tiring, with never a forward reference included, such as "as will be discussed in Chapter 17." How much later? What chapter should I go to? Why don't you just explain it now.

The second most common phrase is "according to modern scholarship." The authors seemed enamored with any study/publication in the last hundred years that in any way contradicts the traditional Christian message and belief. Nineteen hundred years of scholarship is tossed aside simply because it isn't the latest. This, too, was tiring.

The book does indeed follow The DaVince Code. Or, rather, based on publication dates, The DaVinci Code follows The Templar Revelation, and is its fictional counterpart. DaVinci's Last Supper, the true purpose of the Knights Templar, the mysterious old or new Priory of Sion with its train of grand masters—all are here. Even some names of Dan Brown's fictional characters came from historical figures mentioned by Picknett and Prince. Dan Brown must have read this 1997 book before writing his and publishing it in 2003. Although, that blurb on the cover references TDC whereas the latest date on the title page if TTR is 1998. What gives? I thought publishers put the date of the latest printing on the copyright page. Apparently not any more.

The Templar Revelation is poorly written, not from the standpoint of writing craft, but from its lousy scholarship. Despite many footnotes it is poorly referenced, I came away with a sense of the authors wanting to believe anything that would poke holes in Christian orthodoxy. Every hack professor is believed; hundreds of theologians are not. Clearly the authors were trying to strike a balance between a popular book and a scholarly work, and achieved neither. At one point it reads, "As we have seen, most modern Christians are surprisingly badly informed about developments in biblical scholarship." [page 362]

Hey, Picknett and Prince, that's because we have settled the question. We have no need to delve into the questionable works you cite to see what Satan has inspired. We believe the gospel message about Jesus' life and teaching as told by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. We believe Christian doctrine as first outlined by Paul and later confirmed by thousand of works by a hundred early Christian authors. We believe that other gospels you seem enthralled with disappeared not because the church tried to destroy them but because they carried no authority, being obviously contradictory and bogus, thus rejected by scholars of a formative age. We don't need to revisit the question. We are not badly informed; we know whom we have believed in, and why.

If you see The Templar Revelation in a used book sale, leave it there and use your pocket change to buy a sno cone or some other nutritionally void stomach killer. The stomach will recover faster than the mind, should it be infected with this garbage. I'm not going to finish this. I'll put it in the garage sale pile, and hope to recover half my investment.

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