The Knight’s Code by Robert Noland

As a man interested in the lessons of history and the code of chivalry for most of my life, to the point of having learned the art of the sword (actual steel, not that foam stuff used for LARP), I was understandably curious about this title and took the plunge.

Here’s the bottom line of it, up front: the author is a well-intentioned minister, and his aim here is less about chivalry than it is converting you to Christianity. He tells you up front this is so, and he even says he’s unapologetic about it. Fine and well, it’s his book. To him it’s one and the same, and it’s just not so. Faith is but one facet of chivalry, and Faith is not denomination-specific. That wouldn’t be so disappointing given the historical context of knights, except that this book is approached as a Sunday prayer service (seriously, there are numerous prayers for guidance within) and ministry rather than as historical extrapolation for translation to the modern world. He tries both, and he truly believes he can convert those who aren’t in the flock already, but… well, you perhaps see where I’m going with this. It’s the same imbalanced mistake every would-be converter to the faith makes in that he readily assumes that an open mind is all it’ll take to bring you over to their side. The result is that if you’re not already a part of the flock, you’re likely to be turned off almost immediately. And if you are part of the flock already, chances are you think you already follow the code. Sad, but true.

The views presented within are not so wrong from the perspective of the converted and faithful, but they are incredibly misguided from the standpoint of the code of chivalry. There are a number of historical inaccuracies, but I think in this case the spirit of intent was far more important to the author. The biggest fallacy I found, other than the need to convert everyone, is that he apparently believes there is only ONE code of chivalry, and his reliance on it to redirect the reader back to Scripture knows no bounds. I guess if that’s all you found in your research, that’s what you roll with, but I doubt if he knows if his code originates with a Catholic or Protestant order of knights. I know of a handful of historical codes of chivalry, and not all of them are Christian-oriented. I personally follow one that relies heavily on faith and similar points presented here without necessarily being Christian. It can be applied easily to nearly any well-intentioned faith as well as a morally-strong agnostic point of view, much like the code of the Boy Scouts. While I’m certain that would get me burned as a heretic in the Middle Ages, I submit this point as my primary fault with this title and its intent. Personally, I have nothing against Christianity or its precepts, but like any religion or sect out there, the fundamentalists tend to create this unintentional wall between themselves and those they wish to convert. The willingness of the recipient has to be there, and such is the case presented here. The Biblical research may be there, but the historical content simply isn’t. Let’s be clear: Biblical research is NOT historical research. That said, if you buy the message as the author hopes, you can probably apply the rest if you’re willing to do the work. This basic building block and the approach the author takes will have its audience, but that audience isn’t me. Approaching this from a more generalized angle rather than an everyone-needs-to-be-assimilated perspective would have been far better for my needs.

1 star

Knight's Code