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The Crusades in Popular Culture

Video and Discussion Guide

Even after nearly 1,000 years, the Crusades continue to exert a powerful cultural hold. Crusader imagery persists through literature, films, cartoons, video games and memes, perpetuating a mentality of defending ideas or territory deemed sacred, sometimes violently. This new ICJS video, based on the course, The Crusades: Are we prisoners of our interreligious history?, examines the history and cultural influence of the Crusades and raises questions about we can interreligiously address the Crusader mentality.

Questions for Discussion

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  1. In the video, the ICJS scholars mentioned several examples of Crusader imagery in modern culture. Can you think of others? What 2 or 3 images or phrases come to mind when you hear “The Crusades”?
  2. Do you think the use of such Crusader imagery and/or language is offensive? Why or why not?
  3. Why do we call a certain part of the Eastern Mediterranean “the Holy Land”? In what sense is this land “holy”? What makes it holy? Does it become less holy if the wrong people control it? When is land more valuable than people and vice versa?
  4. Discuss the notion of sacred violence? What is so sacred to you that you would defend it with violence? Do you think violence is necessary to support or justify a greater good? What happens when we value ideas or culture more than people?
  5. Why would it be problematic to describe the War on Terrorism as a crusade?
  6. How would you define a “Crusader mentality?” What are some possible negative results of such an attitude?
  7. What can our faith communities do to counter the Crusader mentality?



ICJS Course on Demand, The Crusades: Are we prisoners of our interreligious history?