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In God's Battalions, distinguished scholar Rodney Stark reviews the history of the seven major Crusades from 1095 to 1291 and puts forth a controversial argument that the Crusades were a justified war waged against Muslim terror and aggression.
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Rodney Stark is Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University, where he is codirector of the Institute for Studies of Religion. He is founding editor of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, and an honorary professor of sociology at Beijing University. He has authored over thirty books on the history and sociology of religion, including The Rise of Christianity; Cities of God; For the Glory of God, which won the 2004 Award of Merit for History/Biography from Christianity Today; Discovering God, which won the 2008 Award of Merit for Theology/Ethics from Christianity Today; and The Victory of Reason.From Publishers Weekly:
It always seems counterintuitive to moderns that warfare and religion can be consistent. Ideally, followers of the prince of peace are to avoid the sword and shield. Clearly, this has not always been the case. Frequently in the crosshairs of critics are the Christian wars against Muslims known as the Crusades, commonly viewed as the birth of European imperialism and the forced spread of Christianity. But what if we've had it all wrong? What if the Crusades were a justifiable response to a strong and determined foe? Stark, a prominent sociologist and author of 27 books on history and religion, has penned a compelling argument that these bloody encounters had less to do with spreading Christianity than with responding to an ever more dangerous enemy—the emerging Islamic empire. There is much to be learned here. Filled with fascinating historical glimpses of monks and Templars, priests and pilgrims, kings and contemplatives, Stark pulls it all together and challenges us to reconsider our view of the Crusades. (Oct.)
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