Chapter 3 Reading Guide

CAROLINE LADSON

Dualism

“At the very least, Bush had ensured that henceforth “this war on terrorism”, which at that point had yet to be defined by anyone, would become synonymous with “this crusade”. In doing so, he not only gave Americans an apocalyptic lens through which to view the coming conflict with the Muslim world (though, in truth, many Americans needed no encouragement), he responded with precisely the cosmic dualism that those who carried out the attacks had intended to provoke.”-page 62

The belief that there are two divine powers, one of which is good and the other evil… Judaism opposed dualism absolutely, as the prophet Isaiah (45:1, 7) exclaims: “Thus says the Lord… I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create darkness: I the Lord do all these things.”

DUALISM.” The New Encyclopedia of Judaism. New York: New York University Press, 2002. Credo Reference. Web. 04 September 2011.

Commentary: After Bush flubbed the connotations associated with the term “Crusade”, the idea America being engaged in a battle of cosmic duality became even more prevalent in the American psyche. The idea was that the “us”, the good, must use our power of good to fight the “them”, the evil.

 

“The World of the Woman Taken in Adultery.” BIBLE WOMEN, Old and New Testament: Stories, Ideas, Bible Study Activities, Historical Background. Web. 07 Sept. 2011.

Salvation

“Urban was not the first pope to offer salvation to those who fought on behalf of the Church; similar promises mad been made by Pope Leo IV and John VIII two hundred years earlier.” –page 65

1. Deliverance from danger, difficulty, or destruction.

2. (Often one’s salvation) somebody or something that brings about salvation.

3. In Christian theology, deliverance from the power and effects of sin brought about by faith in Christ

Salvation.” The Penguin English Dictionary. London: Penguin, 2007. Credo Reference. Web. 04 September 2011.

Salvation, in the Christian church, is the promise that one will be saved from sin if they only turn to Jesus Christ and accept his word (or how he was paraphrased by others) and act accordingly.

Comments:

This instance of salvation in the book serves well to illustrate how religion or the promise of it has been able to spur people into action for thousands of years. Pope Urban II originally used the promise of Heaven to convince men to join his army, and now the lure of everlasting happiness can be seen as a draw for the Islamic extremists.

 

Temple Mount

“The Crusaders rode in blood up to their bridle reins, slashing their way through the bodies of the dead- men, women, and children- until they arrived at the Temple Mouth, which they soaked in blood.” –page 66

Holy site on top of Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, on which the Temple of Jerusalem stood. The Muslim shrine, the Dome of the Rock, and the al-Aqsa mosque are now situated here, though the Wailing Wall remains part of the wall enclosing the compound.

Temple Mount.” The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather guide. Abington: Helicon, 2010. Credo Reference. Web. 06 September 2011.

Commentary: I chose this quote and this definition purposely, as an illustration of how many sites, especially in the Middle East, are relevant to more than one religion. Because of this conflicts do arise, many of which have led to battles. The Islamic extremists, however, are notably not fighting for the Temple Mount or any other religious structure. Because they believe themselves to be engaged in a cosmic war, their thoughts are residing on a whole different plane (ha-ha).

 

“Temple Mount – Jerusalem.” Sacred Sites at Sacred Destinations – Explore Sacred Sites, Religious Sites, Sacred Places. Web. 07 Sept. 2011.

Chronicles of Raymond of Agiles

“The chronicles of Raymond of Agiles, who rode with the knights of God during the First Crusade, bear witness to the almost unimaginable violence unleashed upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem: the Crusaders cut off the heads of Muslims and Jews, shot them with arrows, tortured them by casting them into fires.”- page 66
Agiles (or AGUILERS), RAYMOND D’, a chronicler and canon of Puy-en-Velay, France, toward the close of the eleventh century. He accompanied the Count of Toulouse on the First Crusade (1096-99), as chaplain to Adhemar, Bishop of Puy, legate of Pope Urban II. With Pons de Balazuc he undertook to write a history of the expedition, but, Pons having been killed, he was obliged to carry on the undertaking alone. At a sortie of the crusaders during the siege of Antioch (June 28, 1098) Agiles went before the column, bearing in his hands the Sacred Lance. He took part in the entry into Jerusalem, accompanied the Count of Toulouse on his pilgrimage to the Jordan, and was at the battle of Ascalon. After this he is lost sight of his “Historia Francorum qui ceperunt Hierusalem” (P.L., CLV, 591-668) is the account of an eyewitness of most of the events of the First Crusade.

“Raymond D’Agiles – Original Catholic Encyclopedia.” Original Catholic Encyclopedia – Home of the Largest Catholic Encyclopedia Resource on the Web. Web. 06 Sept. 2011.

Commentary:

From what I am able to tell, the value of this information lies largely in the fact that it is a firsthand account of the Crusades. We, as readers, would not be out of place if we took what was said at face value. We believe what he said because he had the first hand knowledge. However, he was probably biased some way or another. We can’t be sure how those biases have translated in his work.

It is with that attitude that we must approach all religious doctrines- taking something at face value just because it was supposedly written by an apostle of Allah or Jesus or whomever can be dangerous, and it can lead to misperceptions and miscommunications. Interpreting religious word is expected, but using your interpretation as a tool against others is foolish. However, using the Word as a weapon can be seen extensively by both Christian and Muslim groups throughout the book.

The Holy Land

“By the time the first Crusaders breached the walls of Jerusalem in 1099, four years after Urban had dispatched them to liberate the Holy Land, Christianity was no longer the secret Jewish sect whose members, along with the rest of the Jews, had been forced out of the Holy Land by Rome a thousand years before.” –page 65

Christian term for Israel, because of its association with Jesus and the Old Testament.

The concept of the ‘Holy Land’ arose with the crusades. For two hundred years from the late 11th century onwards, these armed expeditions from Western Europe attempted to wrest control over Palestine from Islamic rulers. The crusaders regarded Jerusalem as their prime objective; as the seat of the Christian religion, it was thought that it must by rights belong under Christian rule (an argument that ignored the presence in the city of Muslim and Jewish sacred sites).

Holy Land.” The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather guide. Abington: Helicon, 2010. Credo Reference. Web. 05 September 2011.

Commentary: The battle for the Holy Land seems to be an earthly likeness of the cosmic battle that is supposedly being fought in the heavens. If the actual land that the Holy Land is on could be superimposed over Heaven or whatever the ultimate good force is, then whoever is invading could easily be superimposed over the ultimate bad force in the world. The Christians though that they were a totally accurate representation of what is good and that regaining the Holy Land would give them Salvation, so they fought against Islamic rulers because they represented the enemy, the “other”, the evil.

 

“His Prayer House: Holy Land Diary.” His Prayer House: Your South Asian Christian Contents and Connection Site. Web. 07 Sept. 2011.

Book of Joshua

“Hence the tale of the hapless Achan, narrated in the book of Joshua. After the fall of Jericho, when Israel had “devoted to destruction all in the city, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys” (Josh. 6:21), Achan secretly ferreted away some of the city’s loot for himself, burying it beneath his house.”- page 67-68

Joshua is considered Moses’ spiritual successor: “Moses received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua” (Avot 1:1). According to one tradition (Yalkut Shimoni) Joshua was Israel’s leader for 35 years, while according to another (Seder Olam Rabbah) for 28 years.

JOSHUA.” The New Encyclopedia of Judaism. New York: New York University Press, 2002. Credo Reference. Web. 05 September 2011.

Commentary: The Aslan text goes on to say that, while Biblical stories should not be recognized as historical fact but rather as reflections of past events, “the biblical ideal of cosmic war is exceedingly clear. It is ‘ethnic cleansing as a means of ensuring cultic purity…”. The idea of cultic purity is seen again and again in the extremist Islamic rhetoric that speaks of killing any nonbeliever, any infidel. The book of Joshua earned a footnote because it so strongly highlighted that idea.

The Crusades

“As Bin Laden gleefully declared to a reporter a few days after the president’s comment, “Our goal is for our Muslim community to unite in the face of the Christian Crusade… Bush said it himself: Crusade… People make apologies for him; they say he didn’t mean to say that this was a Crusader war, even though he said himself said it was!” –page 62/63

The Crusades were holy wars fought to defend the Catholic Church and the Christian people against those who were regarded as external and internal enemies of Christendom. Although the main crusading effort was directed against the Muslims in the Holy Land, Crusades were also conducted against the pagan Slavs of the Baltic, Muslim Spain, the Ottoman Turks in the Balkans and heretics, such as the Cathars, within western Christendom itself. Though considered peripheral at the time, it was these campaigns, particularly those in Spain and the Baltic, which were ultimately the most successful. The movement did not die out completely until the 18th century; however, the main period of crusading activity lasted from 1096 to 1291, which saw eight major campaigns and dozens of smaller expeditions.

The Crusades – 1096-1291.” Concise Atlas of World History, Andromeda. London: Andromeda, 1997. Credo Reference. Web. 05 September 2011.

Commentary: Obviously, the Crusades cannot go without mention. Nearly 1000 years later they are still widely studied and taught, which illustrates the impact they had on history. For President Bush to liken an American response to terrorism threats to the cruel and inhumane slaughter of thousands would not go unnoticed- one can’t be surprised that Bin Laden was so excited about it.

 

“Israel-Middle East.” DTTO – Discerning The Times Online. Web. 07 Sept. 2011.

Lion of Judah

The knights who raped and pillaged their way to the Holy Land, who, in the words of the Christian chronicler Rudulph of Caen, “boiled pagan adults who in cooking pots, impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled,” were cosmic warriors in the path of the Lion of Judah, not the Lamb of God. –page 65/66

Judah was possessed of remarkable strength, so that he could bend iron with his teeth, and his symbol was the lion, the strongest of animals. When Jacob came to settle in Egypt, he sent Judah ahead to the land of Goshen to establish academies for the study of torah. When the Hebrew tribes split into two groups after the death of King Solomon, the southern tribal area with its capital in Jerusalem was known as the Kingdom of Judah. This was because the descendants of Judah formed a majority there. Jewish history paid Judah the singular honor that all Jews are called by his name, since the Hebrew for Jew, ‘yehudi’ is derived from Judah, ‘yehudah’.

Judah.” Dictionary of Jewish Lore and Legend, Thames & Hudson. London: Thames & Hudson, 1991. Credo Reference. Web. 05 September 2011. 4

Commentary: The Lion of Judah vs. the Lamb of God seemed to serve as an analogy for protestors of globalizations (ex. the BNP) vs. interdependency. The Lamb of God works to bring salvation, take away the sins of the world, and bring God’s children together, much the same way that interdependency works to bring groups closer together. The Lion of Judah, however, represents the ultimate strength from which one could infer a distain for unneeded assistance, much the same way that the BNP does not want to “weaken” Britain any further by allowing more globalization to occur.

Lamb of God

The knights who raped and pillaged their way to the Holy Land, who, in the words of the Christian chronicler Rudulph of Caen, “boiled pagan adults who in cooking pots, impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled,” were cosmic warriors in the path of the Lion of Judah, not the Lamb of God. –page 65/66

In Christian art the lamb carries the double significance of Christ who redeemed humanity through his sacrifice, and the faithful themselves for whom Christ is the Good Shepherd. Christ as the Lamb derives from the words of John the Baptist, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world’ (John 1: 29).

Lamb.” The Bloomsbury Guide to Art. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd, 1996. Credo Reference. Web. 05 September 2011.

Commentary: see Lamb of God Commentary above

Council of Clermont

“This was war as an act of piety; its purpose, as spelled out be Pope Urban II in 1095 during the Council of Clermont, the ecclesiastical gathering that initiated the First Crusade, was to gain forgiveness of sins to those who would fight against the Church’s enemies. –page 65

Council of Clermont, an assembly for church reform called by Pope Urban II in 1095…became the occasion for initiating the First Crusade. Urban II exhorted the French knights at Clermont to rescue the Holy Land from the Turks, closing his speech with the words “God wills it,” which became a battle cry of the crusaders; the event inaugurated the medieval religious wars against the Muslims.

“Council of Clermont (European History) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia.” Encyclopedia – Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 07 Sept. 2011.

Commentary: The idea of spurring men to action with the call “God wills it” can be seen on both sides of this comic battlefield. Calling a large number of men together to amp them up was also clever- the sense of “us” vs. “them” would have been alarmingly high during the meeting and subsequent call to arms, which almost defiantly caused a few impulsive declarations that couldn’t be rescinded.

Joerger:

Promised Land

“When God called Abraham, one of the things promised was land. Though the passage perhaps dates from the tenth century BCE, the promised territory specified in Genesis 15.18 is the land of Canaan from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates River; other boundaries given for the land are more modest. Genesis also records that the promise was subsequently reaffirmed to Abraham’s descendants: Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Jacob’s other sons.”

Aslan uses this phrase in an example of the common theme of violence in religious texts. The Promised Land is what Joshua’s army fought for, “As he systematically rid the Promised Land of foreigners.” This land is meant to be shared only by believers of God, and non-believers  are not welcome.

William B. Nelson, Jr. “Promised Land”  The Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible. Ed. Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan. Oxford University Press, 2001. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  5 September 2011  <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t97.e256> 

Holy Land

“A region on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, in what is now Israel and Palestine, revered by Christians as the place in which Christ lived and taught, by Jews as the land given to the people of Israel,” and by Muslims as Mohammed’s homeland. “Holy Land” is used very similarly to “Promised Land” in chapter three. It is a place that must be cleansed “of all foreign elements.” Which is another way, according to Aslan, that God calls upon his people to act violently against outsiders.

“Holy Land”  Oxford Dictionary of English. Edited by Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2010. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  5 September 2011  <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t140.e0383120>

Chosen People

“The idea that the people of Israel, later called the Jews, have been given a special role to play in the divine scheme is pervasive in the Bible and in all subsequent Jewish thought. Historically speaking, the doctrine that God has chosen Israel emerged out of the growing realization among generations of the Hebrew people, the Israelites and later the Jews, that among all the peoples around them they were the only monotheists.” Aslan uses the example of the plague that God reigned on his Chosen People to show God’s anger at his people “engaging in sexual acts with neighboring Moabite women,” who did not worship God. It is another example of God’s punishment to people who re not loyal and obedient to Him.

“Chosen People”  A Concise Companion to the Jewish Religion. Louis Jacobs. Oxford University Press, 1999. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  5 September 2011  <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t96.e108>

 

 

Gibeon  “As when the Lord hurls “huge stones from heaven upon the fleeing men of Gibeon.”

“A town NW of Jerusalem whose inhabitants tricked the invading Israelites into a treaty (Josh. 9: 4), though later Saul attacked them savagely (2 Sam. 21: 2)” This battle is what Aslan mentions in his example of how God is said to be giving his people direction during war.

“Gibeon”  A Dictionary of the Bible. by W. R. F. Browning. Oxford University Press Inc. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  5 September 2011  <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t94.e749>

 

 

Philistines “Shall I go up against the Philistines?”

“Members of a non-Semitic people who lived on the south coast of modern Israel, known as Philistia, from c.1200 BC. They clashed frequently with the Hebrews, until decisively defeated by King David. Today, the term philistine may be applied to a person indifferent to culture.” Aslan uses the example of David to show how God gives advice during battle.

“Philistine”  World Encyclopedia. Philip’s, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  5 September 2011  <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t142.e8983> 

 

Amalekites “Now go and attack the Amalekites”

“A nomadic people, whose ancestor was regarded by the Hebrews as Esau (Gen. 36: 15–16), and who occupied part of the Promised Land before the arrival of the Israelites to dispossess them (Exod. 17: 8–16). They disappear from historical records after the time of David (1 Sam. 15 and 30: 13–25).” This is another example Aslan uses to show how God tells his chosen people to commit acts of violence in the Lord.

 

“Amalekites”  A Dictionary of the Bible. by W. R. F. Browning. Oxford University Press Inc. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  5 September 2011  <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t94.e80>

 

 

Moabite “The Jews had been engaging in sexual acts with neighboring Moabite women.”

“A member of a Semitic people living in Moab in biblical times, traditionally descended from Lot.” Aslan uses the example of what Phineas does to the Moabite woman and Jew he sees about to engage in sex, to show how God has the power to influence people into committing violent acts even towards people of the same faith.

 

Moabite noun”  Oxford Dictionary of English. Edited by Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2010. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  5 September 2011  <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t140.e0526960>

 

 

Apostate “He was an apostate; he would be slated for death.”

“A person who renounces a religious or political belief or principle.” In Aslan’s example, because someone supports Rome, they cannot support God. Not worshipping God was considered a life not worth living to those who worshipped and to God.

“apostate noun”  Oxford Dictionary of English. Edited by Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2010. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  5 September 2011  <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t140.e0034580>

 

 

Babylonia “When the Babylonians conquered Mesopotamia, they did so not in the name of their king but in the name of their god.”

“An ancient region of Mesopotamia, formed when the kingdoms of Akkad in the north and Sumer in the south combined in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. In the 14th century BC Babylonia was dominated by Assyria, formerly its dependency. With the decline of Assyrian power in the 7th century BC, the Chaldeans were able to take the Babylonian throne, which they held from 625 to 539 BC . Babylonia was finally conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia in 539 BC.” Babylonians were another tribe that used god to guide them and motivate them in battle. They went to war in the name of Marduk, their god, who they believed determined and facilitated each battle they underwent.

 

“Babylonia”   The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary. Tony Deverson. Oxford University Press 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  5 September 2011  <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t186.e3818>

 

Cultic Purity  “Ethnic cleansing as a mean of ensuring cultic purity.”

A cult is, “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object.”  Purity is, “freedom from adulteration or contamination.” The phrase “cultic purity” which was used by John Collins, refers to keeping one’s religious group homogenous in belief and ethnicity. Aslan uses this as ammunition for his point in the history of violence in religion.

 

cult noun”  Oxford Dictionary of English. Edited by Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2010. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  7 September 2011  <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t140.e0196740>
“purity noun”  Oxford Dictionary of English. Edited by Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2010. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  7 September 2011  <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t140.e0674720> 

 

 

 

 

 

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