An Influential Period Of Christian History

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One of the most influential periods of Christian History began in 1096, after Pope Urban II officially launched the First Crusade in an attempt to regain Jerusalem from its Muslim occupants. As with any other significant historical event, many people rallied in support of the war, while others demanded peace. Hadewijch of Brabant, a renowned thirteenth-century mystic and Beguine stood in opposition to the Crusades as a whole. Her status as a highly respected mystic, coupled with a unique voice and perspective, all gave Hadewijch a substantial platform on which to preach peace over war, love over violence, and forgiveness instead of revenge. Unlike her contemporary, Bernard of Clairvaux, Hadewijch used her opportunity to teach accurate…show more content…
Bernard’s rhetoric relies heavily on persuasion though justification, especially in his calls to action for the Second Crusade. Though the official papal bull came from Pope Eugenius III, ultimate motivations to fight came from the Cistercian (Allen and Amt 125). Bernard’s rallying speeches, known to be in the library at Brabant, urged crowds of would-be mercenaries and sympathetic laymen to turn their attention to the Latin East. As a literate Beguine with unlimited access to the library, Hadewijch would have read and understood the rhetorical strategies employed by Bernard in his messages urging Christianity to action. While Jerusalem teetered on the brink of collapse, Edessa and Antioch remained prisoners in the hands of heretical Muslims. Bernard’s words echoed through Europe, as he commanded those soldiers of God into a call to action:
And now, for our sins, the enemies of the cross have raised blaspheming heads, ravaging with the edge of the sword the land of promise. For they are almost on the point, if there be not one to withstand them, of bursting into the very city of the living God, of overturning the sanctuaries of our redemption, of polluting the holy places of the spotless Lamb with purple blood. (Bernard of Clairvaux 126)

Clearly, the rhetoric of the Cistercian rang true with Crusading soldiers, as thousands marched to the Holy Cities to defend and reconquer. As Joel Regnard points out in his
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