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Templars and the Shroud of Turin: Two Barbara Frale Books

There seem to be two new books in English from Barbara Frale. The first is The Templars: The Secret History Revealed Barbara Frale (Author) and Gregory Conti (Translator), Arcade Publishing (May 1, 2011 but currently shipping).

A groundbreaking history of the medieval world’s most powerful military order, the Templars—and the momentous discovery that finally allows the full story to be told.

Barbara Frale gives us an explosive, exhaustively researched history of the medieval world’s most powerful military order, the Templars. At its height, the Order of the Knights Templar rivaled the kingdoms of Europe in military might, economic power, and political influence. For 700 years, the tragic demise of this society of warrior-monks amid accusations of heresy has been plagued by controversy, in part because the transcript of their trial by the Inquisition—which held the key to the truth—had vanished.

Templar historian Barbara Frale happened to be studying a document at the Vatican Secret Archives when she suddenly realized that it was none other than the long-lost transcript! It revealed that Pope Clement V had absolved the order of all charges of heresy. The Templars chronicles the spectacular rise and fall of the organization against a sweeping backdrop of war, religious fervor, and the struggle for dominance, and finally lifts the centuries-old cloak of mystery surrounding one of the world’s most intriguing secret societies.

The second is Templars and the Shroud of Christ by Barbara Frale, Maverick House (April 7, 2011 but not yet shipping though it is April 7) $14.63 at Amazon or 10.99 Euro (about $15.70) from the publisher. The publisher is offering a 20% discount if you belong to a Templar associate society.

The Templars and the Shroud of Christ is the second book in this series by Vatican historian, Barbara Frale. The Knights Templar – the most powerful religious-military order of the Middle Ages – almost certainly looked after the mysterious shroud that is now kept in Turin. Worshipped in a relentlessly secret manner, and known in its intimate nature by only a handful of the order’s officials, the swathe of fabric was kept in the central treasury of the Knights Templar, who were known for their expertise in the field of relics. In an age of doctrinal confusion, the shroud might have represented for the Knights Templar a powerful antidote against the spread of heresy. By tracing faint clues concerning the shroud’s movements during medieval times, Barbara Frale reaches back into the centuries and explores complex hypotheses on the shroud’s origins and offers a new viewpoint on this controversial relic.

The first book seems to be a reprint, and possibly an update to a book by the same title published in 2009. Therein we read on page 202,

The same consideration applies to the conjecture that the Templars were the custodians of the Shroud of Turin, which was believed to he Jesus’ burial shroud. Although there is some evidence to support the theory, proposed some thirty years ago, it isn’t conclusive.

which contradicts the whole gist of the second book. So is the first book, originally published by Maverick House, updated?

Also, keep in mind that Frale claims (in the media) to quote Barry Schwortz:

. . .she has discovered inscriptions on the Shroud that prove it is authentic. However, she is basing her conclusions on the work done by French researchers Marion and Courage (published in the late 1990′s) which made these same claims. Rather than submitting her work to a journal that could review and verify her research . . .  is publishing her work in a commercial book (and only in Italian [and now English]). In fact, the recent press coverage seems to be mainly designed to promote the sale of that book. Once again, we are seeing "science" reported by press releases rather than in the conventional scientific literature.

I will keep you posted.

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