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Full Access The Preaching of the First Crusade and the Persecutions of the Jews

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The Preaching of the First Crusade and the Persecutions of the Jews

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Abstract Although the versions of Pope Urban’s call for the First Crusade focus on the need to liberate the Holy Land from the Muslims, crusaders and locals attacked first the communities of the Franco-German (Ashkenazic) Jews. Both contemporary and modern historians have offered a variety of explanations for these uncalled-for devastating attacks. Without discounting some of these proposals, this article applies the psychological explanation of Displacement to offer an additional reason. The article suggests that the urgent call to retaliate against the Muslims immediately and the many graphic descriptions of alleged Muslim atrocities against Eastern Christians and Christian pilgrims in the propaganda of the First Crusade created mounting frustration in Europe. And since this frustration could not be expressed immediately and directly against its source, i.e., the faraway Muslims, the attackers displaced their aggression onto the nearby Jews. Moreover, Displacement also explains the many close parallels between the images of Muslim atrocities in crusading rhetoric and the idiosyncratic manifestations of the violence against European Jews in the early stages of the First Crusade.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History, The University of Oklahoma 455 West Lindsey Street, Room 403A, Norman, OK 73019-2004 USA

10.1163/157006712X634576
/content/journals/10.1163/157006712x634576
dcterms_title,pub_keyword,dcterms_description,pub_author
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Abstract Although the versions of Pope Urban’s call for the First Crusade focus on the need to liberate the Holy Land from the Muslims, crusaders and locals attacked first the communities of the Franco-German (Ashkenazic) Jews. Both contemporary and modern historians have offered a variety of explanations for these uncalled-for devastating attacks. Without discounting some of these proposals, this article applies the psychological explanation of Displacement to offer an additional reason. The article suggests that the urgent call to retaliate against the Muslims immediately and the many graphic descriptions of alleged Muslim atrocities against Eastern Christians and Christian pilgrims in the propaganda of the First Crusade created mounting frustration in Europe. And since this frustration could not be expressed immediately and directly against its source, i.e., the faraway Muslims, the attackers displaced their aggression onto the nearby Jews. Moreover, Displacement also explains the many close parallels between the images of Muslim atrocities in crusading rhetoric and the idiosyncratic manifestations of the violence against European Jews in the early stages of the First Crusade.

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2012-01-01
2016-12-06

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