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What are the Knights Templar up to now?

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Pssst. Wanna know a secret?

The Vatican’s recent decision to release documents on the persecution of the Knights Templar in the 14th Century has piqued interest in the mysterious order. But what are the latter-day Templars up to?

This is a story. In the Middle Ages there was a secretive organisation called the Knights Templar. They were disbanded with many killed on the orders of the Pope because they knew the secret that Jesus had had a child with Mary Magdalene. Despite the killing of the order’s members, societies carry on its legacy of hidden knowledge today.

There’s a problem with this version of events, part-inspired by Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown and other earlier authors.

It’s cobblers.

There are lots of organisations today that bear the Templar name, but for the most part they are in the business of charitable works inspired by the original order. Secret documents about Mary Magdalene are not the order of the day.

The original Templars were founded in the 12th Century to guard pilgrims on their way along the dangerous roads that led to Jerusalem. Its members were effectively armed monk-like knights who were granted certain legal privileges and whose status was backed by the church. They were reputed to be the possessors of great wealth and power.

TEMPLAR HISTORY
1099: Jerusalem captured by Crusaders
1118: Order formed
1129: Endorsed by church
1307: Members arrested in France
1312: Pope dissolves order
1314: Last Grand Master burned at stake

But the latter-day Templars are rather like a version of the Rotary Club, with a vague religious tinge, author and broadcaster on religious history Martin Palmer says.

“It’s a sort of version of the Rotarians with long cloaks and swords.” The overall effect is “clubby with a slight mystical element”.

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Rather disappointing, really. I like Dan Brown’s version better…

Cat Among the Pigeons

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‘Wife of Jesus’ reference in Coptic 4th Century script

The text reveals early Christians’ concerns about sex and marriage, Harvard scholar Karen King says

An ancient scrap of papyrus makes explicit reference to Jesus having a wife, according to a renowned expert in Christian history.

Harvard divinity professor Karen King unveiled the 4th-Century Coptic script at a conference in Rome.

She said researchers had identified the words “Jesus said to them, ‘my wife'”, which might refer to Mary Magdalene.

Christian tradition holds that Jesus did not marry – but Ms King said in early years it was subject to debate.

The provocative find could spark debate over celibacy and the role of women within Christianity, she added.

But the announcement sparked scepticism from some theologians.

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