Hi Guys can you recomend me a good apologetic book about the crusades?
@Sandro Recently read Thomas Madden’s book and really enjoyed it. He acknowledges the very real atrocities of the crusades, but also recognizes many crusaders were motivated by their beliefs. Below is a link to the book and some of his thoughts from an article he posted.
During the Middle Ages you could not find a Christian in Europe who did not believe that the Crusades were an act of highest good. Even the Muslims respected the ideals of the Crusades and the piety of the men who fought them. But that all changed with the Protestant Reformation. For Martin Luther, who had already jettisoned the Christian doctrines of papal authority and indulgences, the Crusades were nothing more than a ploy by a power-hungry papacy. Indeed, he argued that to fight the Muslims was to fight Christ himself, for it was he who had sent the Turks to punish Christendom for its faithlessness. When Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his armies began to invade Austria, Luther changed his mind about the need to fight, but he stuck to his condemnation of the Crusades. During the next two centuries people tended to view the Crusades through a confessional lens: Protestants demonized them, Catholics extolled them. As for Suleiman and his successors, they were just glad to be rid of them.
It was in the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century that the current view of the Crusades was born. Most of the philosophes , like Voltaire, believed that medieval Christianity was a vile superstition. For them the Crusades were a migration of barbarians led by fanaticism, greed, and lust. Since then, the Enlightenment take on the Crusades has gone in and out of fashion. The Crusades received good press as wars of nobility (although not religion) during the Romantic period and the early twentieth century. After the Second World War, however, opinion again turned decisively against the Crusades. In the wake of Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, historians found war of ideology–any ideology –distasteful. This sentiment was summed up by Sir Steven Runciman in his three-volume work, A History of the Crusades (1951-54). For Runciman, the Crusades were morally repugnant acts of intolerance in the name of God. The medieval men who took the cross and marched to the Middle East were either cynically evil, rapaciously greedy, or naively gullible. This beautifully written history soon became the standard. Almost single-handedly Runciman managed to define the modern popular view of the Crusades.
Since the 1970s the Crusades have attracted many hundreds of scholars who have meticulously poked, prodded, and examined them. As a result, much more is known about Christianity’s holy wars than ever before. Yet the fruits of decades of scholarship have been slow to enter the popular mind.
Thank you for your answer, it helped me alot, specially the last part.
@Sandro Great It’s always fascinating to study how people perceive historical events during different time periods and then to reflect on how our own time period is shaping our view of history and the world. The complex realities of peoples’ experiences and motivations can often be oversimplified as we try to make sense of history.
If you are interested in the Crusades you might want to put a book on your list that will help set the table for the Crusades.
It is also available as an audio book.
I don’t have a book at hand. Just a note:
the Crusaders tried to hold back the Turkish, fighting on the eastern borders of Europe, no one really speaks about Spain and the battles to keep them coming further north. The violence as one wrote earlier done in the name of Christ do not reflect the teachings of Christ. It reflects violence. Often used to silence believers: your history is not better than anyone else’s, so Christianity cannot he true. So I point out the genocide done in the name of atheism: Stalin killed more than 10 mio., Hitler 6 mio, Pol Pot and Mao the numbers are higher even.
History is so important … great question and answers here! Thanks yo all who posted
Somebody has pointed out the complexity of History and oversimplifications the people of our time do related with crusades (and also with some passages of the Bible which talks about fights and judgement for some groups, like the Canaanites), so I was thinking on how do we perceive the actions of the Western armies regarding ISIS during the past years. Doing so, without the light of tho “other side” would lead us to total different conclusions.
I’ll read that book and see if I can see some blind spots the modern thinkers are probably leaving behind when they evaluate these historic events (for instance, the fact that most of them acted following politic tendencies rather than Christ teaching/example).