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July 14 - 25, 2008


From Holy War to Peaceful Co-habitation. Diversity of Crusading and the Military Orders


CEU Medieval Studies

Director of the course:
József Laszlovszky (CEU)

Director e-mail:

Dóra Mérai

Coordinator(s) e-mail:

Recently, major international conferences and monographic studies reinterpreted the whole period of the crusades and the emergence of the medieval military orders and proposed fundamentally new concepts for the explanation of this religious and military conflict. They represent an extremely wide range of modern ideas of reinterpretation and many complex issues concerning the concept of holy war, as a new type of warfare and interaction between Christian and Muslim societies, regional development patterns in the Holy Land and other crusader states, and the very general concept concerning the clashes of cultures.

These very important new historical works were also confronted with contemporary political events and with the most recent religious and military conflicts between the Western world and the Islam. "Nine eleven" and the fundamentalist Islam movement confronted the scholars dealing with the problem of crusades and the military orders with the fact that their research agenda is not simply an academic problem, but one of the most difficult political and religious issues of our world.

A fundamentally different explanation and interpretation of this issue can be found in several well-documented and clearly argued studies of scholars, who follow the concept of a gradual transformation and take into consideration the evidence for war and destruction just as the evidence for revival, restructuring or co-habitation. New research methods and approaches (environmental-historical studies, architectural history of military constructions, art historical interpretations of Christian-Muslim interactions) offer a wide panorama on the fast growing published written source material, the archaeological evidence of this period, which fundamentally changed our understanding of the main issues of the period. Based on these recent studies and the discussions and debates generated by them the summer course wants to focus on these questions and plans to offer an interdisciplinary approach for scholars.


Taef Kamal el-Azhari, Helwan University, Egypt
Michel Balard, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
Jochen Burgtorf, California State University, Fullerton, USA
Ronnie Ellenblum, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
John France, University of Wales, Swansea Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UK
Jürgen Sarnowsky, University of Hamburg, Germany
Hugh Kennedy, St. Andrews University, UK
Janus Moller Jensen, University of Southern, Denmark
Alan V. Murray, International Medieval Bibliography, Leeds University, UK


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CEU Summer University

H-1051 Budapest, Nádor u. 9. - Tel.: (36-1)327-3024, Fax:(36-1)327-3055, E-mail: