In this unit students will explore the crusading movement and the world of the crusaders from the first crusade in 1095 to the fall of Acre in 1291. Students will consider the various types of crusade – those against ‘infidels’, and those against ‘heretics’ – as well as the justifications that were provided for legitimizing ‘holy wars’. Attention will also be given to the emergence of the military orders, such as the Knights Templar, the Knights Hospitaller, and the Teutonic Knights.

Unit code: CH3609T

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Trinity College Theological School

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Learning outcomes


Describe the cultural, social, political and religious contexts in which the crusades occurred


Articulate the effect of the crusades on the Church-State relationship during the early medieval period.


Outline ways in which the crusades shaped the later medieval Church


Assess the theological presuppositions by which the crusades were justified.


Critically engage with selected primary sources, and the key historiographical debates, concerning the crusades.

Unit sequence

Prerequisites: at least one foundational unit of CH


This unit presumes a small degree of familiarity with Church history and with methods of historical interpretation. It builds on this foundational knowledge by providing exposure to textual and visual artifacts from the time, and to competing historiographical evaluations.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Marshall W. Baldwin and Kenneth Setton (eds), A History of the Crusades, Volume 1: The First Hundred Years, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1958, repr.2016).
  • Malcolm Billings: The Crusades, (Stroud: Tempus, 2000).
  • Marcus Bull and Damien Kempf (eds), Writing the Crusades: Text, Transmission and Memory, (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2014).
  • Norman Housley, ‘Politics and Heresy in Italy: Anti-Heretical Crusades, Orders and Confraternities, 1200-1500’, in Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 33.2 (1982), 193-208.
  • Beverley Mayne Kienzle, ‘Preaching the Cross: Liturgy and Crusade Propaganda’, in Medieval Sermon Studies, 53 (2009), 11-32.
  • Christoph Maier, ‘Crisis, Liturgy and the Crusade in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries’, in Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 48.4 (1997), 628-657.
  • Hans Eberhard Mayer, The Crusades, (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).
  • Emren Qurashi and Michael Sells (eds), The New Crusades: Constructing the Muslim Enemy, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003).
  • Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Oxford History of the Crusades, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).
  • Robert Wolff, Harry W. Hazard and Kenneth Setton (eds), A History of the Crusades, Volume 2: The Later Crusades, 1189-1311, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1962, repr.2016).


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Seminar or Tutorial 700 15.0
Essay - Research Essay 2500 45.0
Document Study 1000 30.0
Forum 300 10.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 17 Sep, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:49 +1000