Temple Antiquities: The Templar Papers II
Author: Oddvar Olsen
Published 2010 by O Books Publishing
ISBN-10: 1905713657
ISBN-13: 978-1846943256
Paperback, 260 pages
List $19.95
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Reviewer: Mike Gleason

This is a follow-up to The Templar Papers (which I must confess, I have not read). There are 21 articles by 16 separate authors (which appear to have been drawn from the website) ,which cover not only the period of the Templar's historical existence, but the times and events preceding and following that period. There are illustrations aplenty scattered throughout the book. The principal author founded a periodical ("The Temple" (www.thetemplebooklet.co.uk)) dedicated to the Knights Templar (the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, to give them their proper name) and related subjects.

The articles contained within the covers of this book are not confined to Templar topics. In fact, the very first article is concerned with the Quest for the Grail as a symbol of the Redemption of the Sacred Feminine. For those unfamiliar with the story of Perceval's quest it is an easy introduction to the topic. It shows the development of the chivalric concept, and how it came to be accepted in the Western world. How much of it relates to theme of the Knights Templar is for the individual to decide.

The first two sections of this book touch on the Templars only peripherally. It isn't until you reach the third section that actual discussion of Templar topics begins. In spite of the fact that the subject of the Templars has been a "hot-button" topic for a number of years, there is surprisingly little available in the way of historical documentation, thus opening the field for all forms of speculation. While it is true that almost anything said about them COULD be true, the reality may never be known. The advantage for the speculator is that he/she is not required to provide proof of what is proposed, the proposition is enough.

The fact that these articles were written for an informal posting site is obvious from the "chatty" nature of some of them. They appear to have been written in a "stream of consciousness" mode, and thus are less subject to my usual criticism of editing. I keep promising myself that I will overlook the minor problems I find with the various books I review, and for the most part I succeed. I can forgive the occasional "typo" in spelling, as well as an occasional missing word, but when I see a pattern of such occurrences, I have to question the research which has gone into the writing. I would assume that most people have a spell-check program at their disposal (mine is engaged full time, so I know as soon as I goof up), and I know there are programs available which can help with syntax; but even if those things are not available there is still the simple expedient of having someone (not involved in the writing) read what had been written before it is sent to print. There were a lot of such instances in the of articles in this book. Lest you think I am condemning the work, I am not. I am simply giving you a head's-up that you need to pay close attention while reading. I have reviewed about a dozen books from this publisher and have, for the most part, been very favorably impressed by the quality of their offerings.

For the novice approaching the subject of the Templars this book is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is a good thing because it is down-to-earth and easy to understand. It is a bad thing because much of the material consists of personal conjecture, questionable research, and unprovable conclusions. Truly dedicated researchers won't find a lot here, although some of the speculation and conjectures may well open up new avenues of thought and/or research. It will probably find its prospective audience in the middle ground those readers with some background and interest, but who have not had the time to amass a substantial number of books on the subject.

For all of its shortcomings, it is a good, intermediate book, giving a broad base of information.