Crusades Revisited

By Renick, Timothy M. | The Christian Century, June 14, 2005 | Go to article overview

Crusades Revisited


Renick, Timothy M., The Christian Century


THOUSANDS OF medieval Christians answer the spiritual call of the pope, take up arms, and travel to the Holy Land to defend the faith against a barbaric and militaristic Muslim foe. The war is bloody, and over time Jerusalem is won, then lost again--but the spread of Islam into Christendom is halted.

We all know the story of the Crusades. Or do we?

Riddley Scott's film Kingdom of Heaven reverses centuries of popular portrayals of the Crusades. It shows the great Muslim military leader Saladin as articulate and circumspect. Its Christian hero theuled by a secular conscience rather than by religious convictions. Christians are (at times) duplicitous and faithless, and Muslims are (at times) noble and godly.

Set amid the events surrounding the Muslim siege of Jerusalem in the 1180s, the film (with screenplay by novelist Willian Monahan) focuses on the story of Balian (Orlando Bloom), a humble blacksmith and illegitimate son of a Christian knight named Godfrey (Liam Neeson). Unlike the Templars and their leader (Brendan Gleeson), who are depicted as seeking confrontation with the Muslims at every turn, Godfrey envisions establishing a "kingdom of heaven" in the Holy Laud--a place where peace will reign between Christians and Muslims.

Balian is knighted and eventually finds himself chief defender of Jerusalem, pitted against Saladin (played by Syrian actor Ghasson Massoud). The picture's last third is devoted to the gripping and bloody siege of the city, replete with the proverbial armies of thousands, fiery night scenes, intricate strategies and the director's patented cinematography. (Nothing in Scott's Oscar-winning Gladiator matches these epic battle scenes.)

A movie that revisits the most historically significant invasion of Islamic territory by Western military forces and that appears during a time of crisis between the West aid Islam cannot but be controversial. The filmmakers reportedly received death threats from Islamic extremists while the movie was being shot in Morocco. Cambridge University scholar Jonathan Riley-Smith has allegedly criticized the film's script as "Osama bin Laden's version of history." The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called the film "a balanced and positive depiction of Islamic culture during the Crusades," but UCLA law professor Khaled Abou El Fadl has asserted, "There is no doubt in my mind people are going to come out of this movie disliking Muslims and Arabs more than they already dislike them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Crusades Revisited
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.