JSIS 498 C - Jihad & Crusades

from the Middle Ages until the Modern Era


Welcome to the JSIS 498 C Jihad & Crusades Course Website

This is an advanced reading course in which we shall be exploring the phenomenon of “Holy War,” primarily in Islamic and Christian (later to be Western) civilizations, but also in Judaism. We shall be examining historical roots of religious conflicts, as well as their implications on today’s world.

Hence, we shall be scrutinizing the question whether the origins of the concept of Holy War for Jews, Christians, and Muslims can be traced back to their differing interpretations of scripture, or rather to sheer mundane reasons, like economic and political prestige, and eventually even to secular ideologies, like nationalism and imperialism, or to both - religious and worldly reasons.

We shall also be looking for answers to the questions

to which extent is Islamic Jihad a threat to the West,

whether there is such a thing like Modern Imperialist Crusade that threatens the Middle East, and

whether there could be a relationship between these two “holy struggles.”

To achieve this goal, we shall be researching original sources - Jewish, Christian, and Muslim ones - in English translation, besides studying commentaries by prominent scholars in the fields of history, history of religion, and Near and Middle Easter Studies. To give some color to the written word, we shall also be watching some documentaries related to the subject.

I hope you will find this challenge of demythicizing and demystifying the phenomenon of

Holy War” enticing.

Welcome to my class!

Denis Bašić, Ph.D.