Book Review: God’s Battalions – Chapter 4: Pilgrimage and Persecution

March 10, 2011

This is part of a multi-part review of God’s Battalions by Rodney Stark. The summary is here. You can use the table of contents found there.

In Chapter 4, Rodney Stark argues that one of the causal factors in the Crusades was the brutal persecution of the Christian populations under Islamic rule as well as the regular killing of Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. Stark provides gruesome detail of mass killing after mass killing. The oppression suffered during this time is difficult to imagine.

Stark concludes by saying that the Crusades were “not unprovoked”. Oppression of the Christian populations was rampant. Pilgrims were being attacked and killed. Christian sacred sites were being destroyed.

Christendom felt as though something needed to be done. Their previous victories and superior technology gave them the confidence that they could do something.


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