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Keeping the crusades up to date

4 Empathy and materialism: keeping the crusades up to date During a course of lectures delivered in Munich in 1855, Heinrich von Sybel (1817–95) reflected on writers on the crusades. He had made his name a decade and a half earlier demolishing the reputation of William of Tyre and Albert of Aachen as reliable sources for the First Crusade and now suggested that ‘every new commentator must find fresh subject for interest and instruction according to his own requirements and inclinations’.1 The legacy of the Enlightenment had established the crusades as a

in The Debate on the Crusades

– were drawn only in the 1960s; however, these and related words were also being used in similar senses thirty years previously. 1 ‘Secular’ had neutral, negative and positive connotations in the Oldham group, evoking, respectively, a shared ‘common life’, a dangerous ‘materialism’ and an appreciation of science. Group members even saw a role for secular actors and ideas in pursuing a more Christian culture. However, finding a middle way along Oldham’s ‘frontier’ also meant emphasising faith’s distinctiveness and its absolute necessity in building a better society. In

in This is your hour

This book investigates the ways in which the crusades have been observed by historians from the 1090s to the present day. Especial emphasis is placed on the academic after-life of the crusades from the sixteenth to twenty-first centuries. The use of the crusade and its history, by humanists and other contemporary writers, occupied a world of polemic, serving parochial religious, cultural and political functions. Since the Renaissance humanists and Reformation controversialists, one attraction of the crusades had lain in their scope: recruited from all western nations, motivated by apparently transcendent belief systems and fought across three continents. From the perspective of western Europe's engagement with the rest of the globe from the sixteenth century, the crusades provided the only post-classical example to hand of an ideological and military world war. Remarkably, the patterns of analysis of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century have scarcely gone away: empathy; disapproval; relevance; the role of religion; materialist reductionism. Despite the explosion of literary attention, behind the empathetic romanticism of Michaud or the criticism of Mills and Scott, the themes identified by Thomas Fuller, Claude Fleury, David Hume, Edward Gibbon and William Robertson persisted. The idea of the crusades as explicit precursors to modern events, either as features of teleological historical progress or as parallels to modern actions remains potent. The combination of ideology, action, change, European conquest and religious fanaticism acted as a contrast or a comparison with the tone of revolutionary and reactionary politics.

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, Baron d’Holbach, Thomas Paine, Volney and Voltaire were frequently referred to in Freethought publications, and Freethinkers drew on these eighteenth-century discussions of materialism, religious tyranny, anti-clericalism, comparative religion and anthropological interpretations of the Bible. 72 Enlightenment ideas often reached Freethinkers second-hand, through ‘non-popular propaganda’ such as Geoffrey Higgin’s Anacalypsis (1836), which

in Infidel feminism
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mobilisation. In doing so, I do not pretend to Glynn 00_Tonra 01 19/06/2014 12:46 Page 2 2 CLASS, ETHNICITY AND RELIGION IN THE BENGALI EAST END occupy ideologically neutral space. (No one does – though a passive acceptance of dominant views is often portrayed as though it were non-ideological.) My own perspective is that of a loosely Marxist materialism. I examine these political developments in their wider socio-economic and political context, and I relate what has happened in ethnic minority politics to wider ideological and tactical developments on the political left

in Class, ethnicity and religion in the Bengali East End
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lofty condescension of the Enlightenment as they had the doctrinal disapproval of Protestants. Their inextricable weave of idealism and materialism, inconvenient for materialist and idealist historians alike, produced a near-ubiquitous rush to judgement, one of the most persistent and prominent features in histories of the crusades. Even today, writers on the crusades are routinely interrogated by reviewers and readers as to whether they regard the crusades in a positive or negative light. While some still oblige, experts on few other medieval events are expected to

in The Debate on the Crusades

ideas in politics and society, a sort of filtered geistesgeschichte. This rejected equally the sentimental determinism of Whiggish materialism, the mechanistic materialism of the Marxists, and the institutional and prosopographical materialism of Lewis Namier of Manchester (originally of Oxford). This ‘revisionist’ Cambridge school became associated with figures such as J. H. Plumb and Quentin Skinner. Amongst medievalists, Walter Ullmann provided his own logical explanations of how ideas operated in the way the middle ages worked, likened by one colleague to his

in The Debate on the Crusades
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Post-war modernity and religious vocations

traditional female roles of nanny, nurse and secretary and more extraordinary options, such as kennel-maid, plastics designer and architect. 9 The magazine My Home also included a series on ‘careers with a future’ reflecting the rising proportion of women in long-term employment. 10 Financial means gave young women a degree of autonomy and consumer power. Historian Claire Langhamer suggests that many young women from the 1920s to the 1950s experienced their pre-marriage youth as a ‘golden age’ of leisure and independence. 11 The materialism of the world often

in Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age

John Faber Jr, after Richard Phillips Ducket offered a peculiar defence against the charges of atheism. Though he recanted the atheistic materialism of his 1734 letter, he pled his right to have thought errantly. He insisted ‘on the Right & Obligations of private Judgement, the indispensable duty of making Reason our Guide with or without Revelation’ and of following that guide ‘wheresoever she leads’. Furthermore, he asserted that ‘if Reason leads to Atheism, there is as much Virtue in that as in the contrary persuasion, provided there has been the same

in Reformation without end
A new church for the unhoused

mean anything, implies a set of choices between alternatives. Free will, as understood by mainstream Christianity, becomes null and void as one is no longer free to will anything other than the Market. In a paradoxical way, the Market totalitarianism which is the outcome of neo-​liberal political rationality presents the ultimate triumph of the vulgar materialism that underpinned totalitarian regimes in the Communist bloc. All of human life and practices (superstructure) were reducible to the operations of the economic (base structure). The suppression of religious

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism