Malcolm Barber presented in a very succinct but enlightening manner the few biographical facts known about the master's career, and discussed his ambiguous influence on the tragic process that brought about the dissolution of the order. James of Molay emerges in this account as a quite effective administrator during the first years of his mastership, which began in April 1292 or December 1293. Barber further emphasized the difficult circumstances in which the Temple operated after 1291, which made the order more vulnerable to criticism and, eventually, to dissolution. Historians, as well, have tried to decipher the puzzle of the dissolution of the Temple, a process in which James of Molay was naturally involved and, in the eyes of some medievalists, played a most important role. Notwithstanding the many studies devoted to the Temple and its last master, the personality of James of Molay still remains vague.