The Jews during the Crusades

crusade project, Mr. Burruel, 3/26/14

1: Why was Jerusalem important to the Jews?

Jews see Jerusalem important because it was there that Abraham (one of the great Fathers of Judaism) was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. God had ordered Abraham to do this, and Abraham was very religious and would always obey God. As Abraham was about to plunge the knife into his son's body, God ordered him to stop. Being satisfied with Abraham's obedience, Jews now see Jerusalem as being the place where their 'personal' pact with God was celebrating. This act of almost-sacrifice made Jews the people that God was most satisfied with. And, of course, that sort of rapport with the Almighty is something to cherish. This is why Jerusalem was important to the Jewish.

2: What was the reason for the Crusades on the Jews point of view?

The Jews termed them to'im ("[misguided] wanderers"). At the outset, nothing in the proclamation of Urban II seemed to threaten the Jews, but it would appear that the Jews in France sensed danger, since they sent emissaries to the Rhine communities to warn them of the possible threat. The first group of crusaders gathered in France on their way to Germany. They may already have attacked some Jewish communities on their way, possibly in *Rouen, and more certainly in *Lorraine. It was already clear that the crusaders, or at least some of them, were gathering in the Rhine valley in order to follow the traditional route to the Orient along the Rhine and Danube rivers. The community of *Mainz was more troubled about the French communities and thought that those in the Rhineland had no reason for concern on their own account. However, their sense of security was soon to be brutally shaken shortly after the first muster of the crusaders and before the Jewish communities of Germany could take whatever precautions were open to them. The sight of the wealthy Rhenish communities acted as an incentive to the crusaders, who decided to punish "the murderers of Christ" wherever they passed, before their encounter with their official enemies, the Muslims. Soon it was rumored that Godfrey of Bouillon himself had vowed that he would not set out for the Crusade until he had avenged the crucifixion by spilling the blood of the Jews, declaring that he could not tolerate that even one man calling himself a Jew should continue to live.

3: What were the effects of the crusades for the Jewish?

Such escapades as the slaughter of Jews and Muslims were later used as an indictment against the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) during the Protestant Reformation beginning in the 16th century, convincing many that the RCC was not the moral authority it had claimed to be throughout the Dark Ages.

4: What were the Jews perception of the other groups such as Muslims, European, and the Byzantine people?

here are a number of reasons why Christians have hated Jews during the middle ages (and also at other periods of history). First, if you believe that Christianity is the one and only true religion, and that all other religions are wrong, you would then also believe that it is a moral failing of Jews to have refused to convert to Christianity, particularly when all the other ethnic groups of Europe had done so. Jews were the only holdouts, clinging obstinately to their (supposedly) false religion. Secondly, it was considered to be particularly bad for Jews to refuse to convert to Christianity because it was the Jews to whom Jesus originally preached; it would seem that they should have been the first to embrace Christianity, rather than the last. Jews were also considered to be racially guilty for the crucifixion of Jesus, which according to the New Testament, had been performed by Roman soldiers at the request of Jewish religious leaders who considered Jesus to be a troublemaker. But there were other problems as well. In the middle ages, Jews got into the banking industry in Europe because Christians had a dislike for the profession of money lender, and therefore preferred to leave it to the Jews. Jews were also prohibited by law from many other professions.

Comment Stream