We simply do not know the answers. But the chapel at Montsaunès is proof, in its own enigmatic way that the religious life of the Templars was not as straightforward as we have perhaps come to believe. As Umberto Eco’s lunatics, and a growing swathe of more ordinary people, prepare to mark the anniversary of Jacques de Molay’s death, there will be discussions about individual freedom and the abuse of power, about political show trials and miscarriages of justice, and about Europe’s transition from theocracy to autocracy. But there will also be time to think again about what knowledge went up in flames with Jacques de Molay, and to the grave with the other knights.(HT Dorothy Lobel King.)
The little-known chapel at Montsaunès reminds us that there is much we still do not know about the Templars, who increasingly baffle us the more we discover about them.
Dominic Selwood's new thriller The Sword of Moses features the Templars, Montsaunès and a number of the themes discussed in this article.
My reviews of The Da Vinci Code novel and film are here and here. My visit to Rosslyn Chapel is described here. The Sword of Moses is also the title of a late-antique magical treatise in Hebrew and Aramaic. It has recently been translated into English by Yuval Harari and his translation is also forthcoming in volume 2 of the More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project.