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When Jesus met Mohammed in the Holy Land: Attitudes toward the “Other” in the Crusader Kingdom

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This paper investigates changing attitudes toward the “other” in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem from two main perspectives; namely, the crusaders' approach to the former inhabitants of the Holy Land and the degree to which those former Occidentals became Orientals and created a new identity. Taking into account the first encounter with Islam, this paper investigates the emotional aspects of the meeting between Latins and Muslims from the perspective of those Christians who came to the Holy Land, whether as crusaders, settlers of a more permanent nature, or pilgrims. Historical contextualization allows a more suitable analytical and theoretical perspective of the intricate emotional spectrum that was inherent in the history of the Crusader Kingdom. The Latins use of the Augustinian emotional index transformed negative attitudes toward the Muslims into an act of illusionary inclusion in order to exclude. This inverted inclusion meant that within its inner discourse, Christian society had defeated the Muslims symbolically, regardless of the outcome on the battlefield—a denial of reality that served to exclude the Easterners altogether. The inverted inclusion of the Muslims became the last step on the long march of both acknowledging and, at the same time, erasing the infidel, for it was Christianity that defined the cultural boundaries of the West.

Affiliations: 1: University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel


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