Christendom College professor and historian Steve Weidenkopf’s new work, The Glory of the Crusades, is garnering new critical acclaim from news media outlets, as evidenced by a recent review by Stephanie Pacheco in Crisis Magazine.
In the gripping work, Weidenkopf, a lecturer in Church history for Christendom College’s Graduate School, challenges the widespread notion that the Crusades were barbaric wars of greed and religious intolerance. The Glory of the Crusades replaces such persistent modern biases with a more factual and nuanced—yet no less compelling—vision of Christendom’s 600-year struggle to reclaim the Holy Land.
Weidenkopf, according to Pacheco, “provides a blow-by-blow account of the Crusades that simultaneously counters many of the myths that have sprung up around them. Yet he does so without ignoring the crusaders’ missteps. In the process, he makes a major contribution to addressing the myth of ‘fundamentalist’ religious war.”
Such a myth has permeated historical works, and Hollywood films, for decades and has found new popularity after President Barack Obama’s echoing of these myths at the recent National Prayer Breakfast. Weidenkopf’s work counters these notions, telling an honest, readable account of the Crusades that describes the titular “glory,” but also refuses to shy away from the shortcomings of later crusades.
In doing so, Weidenkopf tells a story of “a people of faith, defending what mattered most to them, while mishandling some key situations along the way, as humans are wont to do,” writes Pacheco.
“Give this book a read, contemplate the question of justice and war, and reconsider what crusading meant to the Crusaders, because many of the modern myths only hold water by projecting newly invented standards back onto people with standards of their own, even if they didn’t always live up to them.”
Weidenkopf is the creator and author of the “Epic: A Journey through Church History” adult faith formation program, which includes a 20-part study on the 2,000 year history of the Church and a 10-part study on the Early Church. He served as the Director of the Office of Marriage & Family Life for the Archdiocese of Denver (2001-2004) and as an advisor to Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. He holds an MA in theological studies from Christendom College and a BA in International Relations from Syracuse University. He is currently a lecturer in Church history for Christendom College’s Graduate School.