The “Holy Grail” makes its first appearance in literature in the 12th century in a work by Chrétien de Troyes, Perceval. Here, Perceval was a knight of the legendary King Arthur’s Round Table on a quest to find the "Holy Grail." The story was subsequently told and re-told, embellished and altered by various writers, including both Wolfram von Eschenbach and Sir Thomas Malory. In later versions of the Grail quest, Sir Galahad replaced Sir Perceval as the principal hero, but the theme remained popular and was increasingly depicted in works of art as well literature.
People in the Middle Ages understood that, like King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table themselves, the Holy Grail was a symbol, a spiritual gift. It was not until the 19th century that people -- increasingly lacking spirituality and thinking of themselves as more “rational” and “scientific” -- crudely turned the Holy Grail into a mere thing. Just people in the 19th and 20th centuries insisted on trying to identify the “real King Arthur,” modern scholars and enthusiasts have tied themselves in knots trying to explain just what the Holy Grail was ― even inventing the idea that it was the blood of Christ in the form of genetic descendants of Christ and Mary Magdalen.
Another 20th/21st Century invention is that the Templars were in search of the Holy Grail when they excavated under the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Indeed, it has even been argued that the Templars went all the way to Ethiopia in the 12th century in search of the Holy Grail (now transformed into the Ark of the Covenant). Most recently, the History Chanel’s “Knightfall” builds on the notion that there was a connection between the Templars and the Holy Grail.
This connection is as spurious and ridiculous as the idea that there was a Holy Grail in the first place. There can be no evidence of a connection between the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail, because people in the Middle Ages, least of all the practical and hard-headed Knights Templar, weren’t gullible enough to actually think that the Holy Grail was a thing. Since the Templars (at least in theory) disdained secular literature and courtly love, the venue in which the legends and tales of the Holy Grail played out, would have been particularly disdained by the Templars. They probably would not have deigned to admit they knew of the tales at all.
|Copyright Fireforge Games|
Literature, whether disguised as pseudo scholarship or, more honestly, fiction, that depicts a relationship between the Knights Templar and an object called the “Holy Grail” belong in the realm of fantasy and should be recognized and treated as such.
For readers tired of clichés and cartoons, award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader offers nuanced insight to historical events and figures based on sound research and an understanding of human nature. Her complex and engaging characters bring history back to life as a means to better understand ourselves. Her Jerusalem Trilogy has won 15 literary accolades including Best Biography 2017 (Book Excellence Awards) and Best Christian Historical Fiction 2017 (Readers' Favorites).