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  • Geistliche als Kreuzfahrer. Der Klerus im Konflikt zwischen Orient und Okzident, 1095–1221 by Thomas Haas
  • Alan V. Murray
Geistliche als Kreuzfahrer. Der Klerus im Konflikt zwischen Orient und Okzident, 1095–1221. By Thomas Haas. [Heidelberg Transcultural Studies, Vol. 3.] (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter. 2012. Pp. 341. €45,00. ISBN 978-3-8253-6038-2.)

Starting from the problematic issue of clerical involvement in warfare, Thomas Haas here attempts to establish a more comprehensive picture of clerical involvement in crusading than has been offered by the many existing studies of individual clerics or of activities such as crusade preaching or legatine duties. The methodology adopted is to examine a range of narratives dealing with crusades to the Holy Land to reveal diverse activities of named clerics as well as of anonymous persons described in narrative sources as episcopi, clerici, sacerdotes, monachi, and related terms (although not of any members of the military-religious orders). The number of sources consulted for each crusade is uneven, varying from fourteen devoted to the First Crusade, including the noncontemporaneous and largely derivative chronicle of William of Tyre and (rather bizarrely) the Arabic history of Ibn al-Athir, to a single account of the Fifth Crusade (Oliver of Paderborn). No crusades after 1221 are investigated, on the grounds that clerical involvement declined after this date, although no evidence is adduced for this assertion.

The source-by-source examination produces a survey of clerical activity in the long second section (pp. 29–224), which is heavy on data and documentary quotation, but rather fragmented and often superficial. To some extent this deficit is redressed in the third section (pp. 225–80), which provides a synthesis of information from the diverse sources to establish a range of functions that are classified as either “internal” or “external” activities. Thus clerics were involved, as we might expect, in a wide range of activities relating to the pastoral care of crusaders, such as holding Mass, giving penance and absolution, and motivating their fellow combatants; yet many of them also took part in more secular activities such as fighting, [End Page 118] diplomatic activities, and mediation between rival leaders. It would have been profitable to devote more space to such analysis rather than to the extensive summaries of individual crusades and descriptions of sources that take up so much of the second section. Haas explicitly rejects a prosopographical approach to his subject, but this decision means that the reader is given no real sense of the extent of clerical participation in each crusade, and the information established as to identity and motivation of the named individuals varies greatly. Haas recognizes that many clerics (such as most of those on the First Crusade) participated of their own volition, whereas others (such as the many bishops who accompanied Frederick Barbarossa and Richard the Lionheart in 1189–1190) were essentially acting as royal servants. Yet although such differences undoubtedly affected the roles that such clerics were allowed or were willing to undertake, the issues of their motivation and links to crusade leaders are not pursued to any great extent. The concluding section (pp. 281–93) gives short synthetic accounts of three key (but hardly typical) figures!—namely, Adhemar of Le Puy, legate on the First Crusade; the preacher Peter the Hermit; and Gottfried, bishop of Würzburg, but at around two pages each these sketches add little to existing studies by James Brundage, Jean Flori, and others. More illuminating are the pictures established of the historiographical treatment of Arnulf of Chocques (misspelled as “Choques” throughout), the later patriarch of Jerusalem, and Martin, abbot of Pairis (thanks to his starring role in the account of the Fourth Crusade written by a member of his monastic community). Overall, the study reveals far more about the attitudes of medieval chroniclers than about the underlying reality of clerical involvement in crusading.

Alan V. Murray
University of Leeds


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