"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Invisible Weapons: Liturgy and the Making of Crusade Ideology

I have often commented on here and elsewhere over the last five years or so how fascinating and relentless is the retelling of Crusades history in our time. I am hard-pressed to think of other areas where the historiography is so controverted so regularly if not continuously. Adding to what we know of this period is a hardcover version of a book that came out in 2017 but the paperback will appear in 2021: M. Cecilia Gaposchkin, Invisible Weapons: Liturgy and the Making of Crusade Ideology (Cornell University Press, April 2021), 376pp. 

About this book the publisher tells us this: 

Throughout the history of the Crusades, liturgical prayer, masses, and alms were all marshaled in the fight against the Muslim armies. Invisible Weapons is about the prayers and liturgical rituals that were part of the battle for the faith. M. Cecilia Gaposchkin tells the story of the greatest collective religious undertaking of the Middle Ages, putting front and center the ways in which Latin Christians communicated their ideas and aspirations for crusade to God through liturgy, how liturgy was deployed in crusading, and how liturgy absorbed ideals or priorities of crusading. By connecting medieval liturgical books with the larger narrative of crusading, Gaposchkin allows us to understand a crucial facet in the culture of holy war.

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