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Crusades come to life at seminar

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« on: November 14, 2014, 09:53:07 pm »

Crusades come to life at seminar
Last updated 12:00 13/11/2014


HISTORY ALIVE: Members of the Red Ravens Medieval Club in their crusader gear.

HISTORY ALIVE: Members of the Red Ravens Medieval Club in their crusader gear.
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Swords, helmets, axes and chain mail have spiced up a seminar about jihad and the Crusades.

The University of the Third Age's seminar in Palmerston North yesterday was the final in its spring series. U3A aims to educate retirees on topics they may not have had time to study while working.

Manawatu chairwoman Margaret Hazleton said U3A was indebted to Massey University for providing many of the experts for the series. The spring series focused on the medieval period and was put on free of charge at the All Saints Church hall.

The series looked at health and medicine, religion, religious wars, dissent, and treason in medieval times and their effects.

Yesterday's seminar on jihad and the Crusades was delivered by religious studies expert Dr Christopher van der Krogt. The Massey University professor talked about Islam's history and the expansion of the Arab world, as well as the life of Muhammad.

He discussed the idea of jihad and how the term came to be known as a reference to holy war.

It became understood that although war was "repugnant", it was also necessary.

"Accompanying that, of course, was the idea of martyrdom," he said.

The Christian thought process was harder to define. But with the Roman Empire, stage by stage Christians found their own kingdom to defend. They began to find religious reasons to justify war. Even some popes led armies in the Crusades. Eventually, embarking on a crusade became the equivalent of doing a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

As van der Krogt began discussing the soldiers during the Crusades, the crowd was surprised by two men dressed in costume, not dissimilar to what may have been worn in that period.

During a question and answer session, van der Krogt spoke about the Islamic State and jihad in a contemporary sense.

"Different people interpret scripture in different ways." He said some people tried to "find a scripture to match" their ideals.

"Like any religion, there are people with different points of view."
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