THE TEMPLE AND THE LODGE by Michael & Richard Leigh Baigent


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Baigent and Leigh collaborate again on their favorite subject, secret societies, as they attempt to link the Knights Templar of the Crusades to Scotland's Robert Bruce, the Stuarts, and eventually to Freemasonry. By and large, they are less sensational (and more successful) here than they were in their best-selling Holy Blood, Holy Grail (1982), which murkily traced the Merovingian dynasty back to Jesus Christ. By 1307 the Knights Templar, due to their activities in the Holy Land during the Crusades, had attained a power that threatened not only the royal houses of Europe but the Papacy itself. In that year, Philippe IV of France outlawed the Order of the Temple; its leading members, together with its vast treasury, disappeared, It is Baigent and Leigh's contention that the Order sailed off to join the excommunicated Robert Bruce in Scotland, and that it was a determining factor in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The authors purport to find the Templars' influence in the actions of many of the Scottish noble families whose connections spread the Templar creed back across the North Sea to France and southward into England, where they supported the Jacobite cause. The Templars' internationalist tenet of the brotherhood of man, the authors argue, found further expression in Freemasonry, where it had a humanizing effect on its members. Among these were such worthies as Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, James Boswell, and the Marquis de Lafayette. It was Freemasonry, the authors contend, which was a major motivating force in the American War for Independence--a connection that has been made repeatedly by others, most notably Robert Anton Wilson in his Illuminatus trilogy. In the main, a better-researched and more convincing effort than the authors' previous works, and one which can be read with enjoyment, if not unquestioning acceptance. pages of halftone illustrations.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Arcade--dist. by Little, Brown