Early crusading apocalyptic in the context of the western apocalyptic tradition.
This thesis sets out to describe the development in Judaism and Christianity of apocalyptic ideas - in particular that of the Millennium, the temporary kingdom supervised, on God's behalf, by his earthly representative, the Messiah. Early Christian apocalyptic differed from Jewish only in that it set up Christ as the Messiah and expected his imminent return to institute the Millennium. Despite official disapproval, this sense of chiliastic immediacy never disappeared and, at the end of the eleventh century, it was able to exercise an important influence on the First Crusade. Although Urban II did not preach the Crusade as an apocalyptic movement, it became one in the writings of the chroniclers and in the actions of the participants. In certain parts of Europe, social and economic conditions and a decade of disasters and signs identical to the traditional Messianic Woes had created a sense of anxiety and disorientation among the poor which could only be resolved by participation in an apocalyptic movement. In the north, it was Peter the Hermit who articulated this process, while, on the official Crusade, Peter Bartholomew, finder of the Holy Lance, focussed the sense of election of the poor upon Raymond of Toulouse, whom he tried unsuccessfully to force into a messianic role. The Crusade was seen in the light of the conviction that the world was about to end, as the fulfillment of apocalyptic prophecy, as led and helped by God, as having apocalyptic attributes of egalitarianism and as leading the participants to the boundaries of life and death, to a millenarian kingdom centering on the New Jerusalem. The role of Antichrist was projected on to the Moslems and the Crusaders saw themselves as God's elect, marked by the sign of the Cross, for whom the Crusade was divine litmus-test of their fitness for salvation.
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