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Full Access Vanquish the Haughty and Spare the Subjected: A Study of Bernard of Clairvaux’s Position on Muslims and Jews

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Vanquish the Haughty and Spare the Subjected: A Study of Bernard of Clairvaux’s Position on Muslims and Jews

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Abstract The Jews and the Muslims drew the attention of the twelfth Century Cistercian abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, and his words and actions had consequences for both communities. Despite his many demeaning comments about Jews and Judaism, he defended Jews from Crusader attacks, and he believed that Jews would convert to Christianity prior to the end of the world. On the other hand, he promoted the Second Crusade for the purpose of defending Jerusalem from Muslim invasion. He had no interest in converting Muslims to Christianity, only killing them if they continued their threat on the Holy Land. A close examination of Bernard’s writings reveals that his position on Jews and Muslims was not merely a reflection of church policy, but a means to advance his personal spiritual desire of union with God.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Theology, Marquette University Milwaukee, WI USA

10.1163/157006712X634567
/content/journals/10.1163/157006712x634567
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Abstract The Jews and the Muslims drew the attention of the twelfth Century Cistercian abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, and his words and actions had consequences for both communities. Despite his many demeaning comments about Jews and Judaism, he defended Jews from Crusader attacks, and he believed that Jews would convert to Christianity prior to the end of the world. On the other hand, he promoted the Second Crusade for the purpose of defending Jerusalem from Muslim invasion. He had no interest in converting Muslims to Christianity, only killing them if they continued their threat on the Holy Land. A close examination of Bernard’s writings reveals that his position on Jews and Muslims was not merely a reflection of church policy, but a means to advance his personal spiritual desire of union with God.

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/content/journals/10.1163/157006712x634567
2012-01-01
2016-12-09

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