Crusades-God's War

Ref: C2338066

The course will consider the enduring legacy of the crusades and jihad in the 21st Century world moving back from modern constructs to explore the origins and development of the idea in its historical context. The course will explore the origins of the crusades, the role of the papacy in forging a new interest in the Holy Land and the Muslim Jihadi response. We will study how Christians and Muslims perceived each other and how war was waged between them. The events of the first three crusades will be examined in relation to key figures, success or failure and changing interpretations and attitudes. The role of the military orders, such as the Templars and Hospitallers, will also be analysed and will question how their rise challenged attitudes towards orthodoxy and stimulated the popular imagination. Finally, consideration will also be given to whether what we think about the crusades really matters today; from Walter Scott to Ridley Scott.

Course aim

To gain an appreciation of the significance of the 'Crusades' , their enduring legacy and to demonstrate the complexity of relationships between co-religionists, both Christian and Muslim.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understand the abiding legacy of the Crusades and problems of definition
  • Understand how the Crusades have been interpreted throughout History
  • Be able to identify Crusader motivations and know about the key events and important individuals in the first three crusades
  • Know about the establishment of the Crusader kingdoms and the events of 1187 leading to the fall of Jerusalem
  • Be able to critically evaluate whether the third crusade failed or succeeded

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Students keen to read in advance should consider one of the following: The Crusades 1095-1197 Jonathan Phillips God’s War, Christopher Tyerman S. Runciman, A History of the Crusades, 3 vols (1951-4) The First Crusade, Tomas Asbridge

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full Course information sheet

Crusades-God's War


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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