‘The rendez vous of cracked brains’?
Reformation, revision, texts and nations 1500–1700
in The Debate on the Crusades
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Printing and new generations of antiquarian scholars revolutionised the availability of crusade texts and hence the range and depth of historical understanding. English writers on the crusades provide a revealing parallel to their French contemporaries in refashioning the medieval conflicts. Late fifteenth- and sixteenth-century England shared the continental tradition of interest in the crusading past. By portraying crusading as a matter of national pride, Jacques Bongars was aping his master's policy of attempting to escape the politically destructive vice of theological debate. Given the equivocal role he judged was played by religion, Etienne Pasquier took a consistently secular view of the impact of the crusades in trying to identify winners and losers. In certain pre-Reformation reformist Catholic circles, the idea that wars could be lawful if possessed of religious motives such as conversion was challenged.

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