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Inquiry@Queen's Undergraduate Research Conference - March 6 and 7
Support your classmates or come to discuss with the presenters during Posters with Pizza on Friday, March 7 @ 11:45-1:15.
Material Matters Discussion Group
Army of Heaven? The First Crusade and the Pogroms of 1096
In the spring of 1096, an army of 12,000 German Crusaders marched upon the gates of several cities and towns in the Rhineland, attacking and murdering much of the local Jewish populations and forcibly converting many more to Christianity. These pogroms stand out as particularly violent and radical episodes in the history of Crusading, and so historians must ask why it was that such an extreme program was taken on. Several explanations have been proposed, including aspirations of material gain, desires for vengeance against the supposed enemies of Christ, and even misdirected anger against Muslims. However, these interpretations do not adequately balance the accounts of both the Latin and Hebrew chronicles, and tend to make general assumptions as to the motivations of all Crusaders and Latin Christians. As such, I will argue that the answer lies in the radical messianic apocalypticism of this particular band of German Crusaders. This urgent apocalyptic imagination resulted in reckless acts of devotion as it was coupled with a theological worldview that saw Jews as the enemies of Christ, their refusal to accept his divinity delaying the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. This episode provides a key data point in the evolution of Christian anti-Semitism and, as such, the goal of this study is to establish a greater understanding of the development of anti-Jewish sentiment within Christian theology.
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