These stories on the release of the Processus Contra Templarios are absolutely ridiculous. What person, in their right mind, trumpets the publication of a book of historical documents when each 300 page volume costs a staggering $8377USD?
That’s right. A single volume, of three hundred pages, closing in on five figures.
What libraries can afford this? If a research library does buy the book, to whom will they grant access? Would you send a $8000 book out on ILL? Would you let an undergraduate check it out? Probably not.
Latin is enough of a barrier to access to many interested people but at least, if you don’t know the language, you can learn it. How thrilled I was to see that three of my students currently studying medieval history have enrolled in Latin. They’re doing what they can to get past that great barrier to accessing the past by learning the important languages.
You may learn the language and study the context, but what student or researcher can cough up thousands for a single volume of documents? This pricetag is outrageous — it prices right out of the market many scholars and students who would love to see these types of sources in print. I’d be fine with the issuing of a deluxe, commemorative volume at an insane price as long as researchers could get access to a plain and utilitarian version. I find no indication of the same — there are 800 volumes to be printed and that’s all they wrote.
We shouldn’t be praising the Vatican for this publication but condemning them for an outrageous scheme that treats history as the plaything of the obscenely rich institutions or individuals. With this publication, they’re perpetuating the tendency of Templar scholarship to wander on the fringes of Da Vinci Code craziness rather than ensuring that as many interested people as possible can access the historical record.