Original Research

Changing perspectives on the Crusades

Jacques Theron, Erna Oliver
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 1 | a4691 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i1.4691 | © 2018 | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 June 2017 | Published: 08 March 2018

About the author(s)

Jacques Theron, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa, South Africa
Erna Oliver, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa, South Africa


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Abstract

The notion and consequences of the Crusades are still influencing the modern Christian (and Muslim) pattern of thinking. These ‘holy wars’, fought by members of the Roman Catholic Church, mostly against infidels (‘unbelievers’), including the Muslims of the time, lasted for several centuries and had varied levels of success. These wars were both lauded and criticised and currently these two opposite perceptions still persist. After the background to the historical setting of the Crusades, this article provides an overview of the changing viewpoints on this movement by describing the perspectives of the most prominent authors (exponents) who aired their views on the Crusades between the 16th century and the first part of the 21st century, finding that the negative perception runs like a thread through the last five centuries.

Keywords

Crusades; perspective; change

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