David Little The Medieval period commenced with the decline of the Roman Empire as the result of the barbarian invasions. In the aftermath and over several centuries, the Christian church played a decisive role in constituting what became known as the respublica Christiana. It included, in ever shifting configurations, the Western and Eastern sectors of the former Roman Empire, namely, portions of Western Europe and Byzantium, which consisted of Asia Minor and most of the territories around the Mediterranean rim.
Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Historical and Contemporary Realities Summary and Keywords Throughout the nearly fifteen centuries of Muslim-Christian encounter, individual adherents of both traditions often have lived peaceably with each other.
At the same time, Muslim expansion into Christian territories and Christian imperialism in Muslims lands have fostered fear and ill-will on both sides.
Repercussions from the Crusades continue to resound in the contemporary rhetoric employed by defenders of both faiths. In recent years relations between Muslims and Christians across the globe have become increasingly polarized, fanned by anti-Islamic rhetoric and fearmongering.
Old sectarian rivalries play out with serious consequences for minority groups, both Christian and Muslim. Conflicts in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere for much of the 20th century were often labeled as ethnic, political, or ideological perpetuations of long-standing struggles over land, power, and influence.
These conflicts now tend to be labeled in accord with the specifically religious affiliation of their participants. It is difficult to imagine a time in history at which there is greater need for serious interfaith engagement than now. It is also important to understand the ways in which members of the two communities experience each other in specific areas of the world today, including the United States, taking note of efforts currently underway to advance interfaith understanding and cooperation.
The events of September 11,and the resulting American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, have led to ugly commentary reminiscent of medieval hyperbole. Right-wing evangelical rhetoric in the United States against Islam has been fueled by incidents of international terrorism involving Muslims, while the well-funded Islamophobia industry in the United States has been producing and distributing large amounts of anti-Muslim material.
American Muslims want to exercise their constitutional rights to free speech in expressing their objection to certain American foreign policies, at the same time that they fear the consequences of the Patriot Act and other acts they view as assaults on their civil liberties.
Meanwhile other Americans are struggling to understand that the Muslims with whom they interact in businesses, schools, and neighborhoods are different from the Muslim extremists who are calling for ever more dire measures against the United States.
This is the general context in which Christian-Muslim dialogue is now taking place and to which it must address itself if it is to be effective. Political resistance to the Prophet Muhammad created a series of conflicts resulting in the crystallization of Islam into its own separate religion and identity.
Theological differences were articulated early and have continued throughout history to present major challenges to interfaith relationships. The Persian Sassanian and the Greek Byzantine Empires were exhausted after many years of struggle, and Islam was able to occupy what amounted to a power vacuum in many of the areas to which it spread.
Military expeditions were political in nature and not undertaken for the purpose of forcing conversion to Islam. Dhimmis had the right to practice their religion in private and to govern their own communities. Special dress was required and new church buildings could not be constructed.
The Christian church as a whole was divided into five apostolic sects at the beginning of Islam, located in Rome, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Alexandria.
The resulting sectarian divisions had significant consequences for the spread of Islam. Many oriental Christians actually welcomed Muslim political authority as a relief from Byzantine oversight, and they cooperated with their new Muslim rulers.
From the beginning Christians were nervous about the growth of a new religion that they saw as a Christian heresy and which invaded and took over many of their lands. Certain periods in world history reflected harmonious interactions among the three Abrahamic faiths. Medieval Andalusia, for example, provided a venue for Muslims and Christians, along with Jews, to live in proximity and even mutual appreciation.
It was a time of great opulence and achievement, and social intercourse at the upper levels was easy.
It was also a period during which a number of Christians chose to convert to Islam. Medieval Andalusia has often been cited as an ideal place and time of interfaith harmony. To some extent that claim may be justified. If so, however, it was fairly short and was soon supplanted by the tensions, prejudices, and ill treatment of minorities by both Muslims and Christians that more often have characterized relationships between the communities.
Other encounters, such as those experienced through the centuries of the Crusades, have left both Christians and Muslims bitter and angry. The question of sovereignty over the city of Jerusalem remained an ongoing issue.Christianity and Religious Freedom in the Medieval Period ( – CE) Christianity and Religious Freedom in the Medieval Period ( – CE) The purpose of these Crusades was the conversion of non-Christians as well as the recovery of the lands where Christianity was born, lost over the years to Islamic conquerors.
Middle East Islam Asabiyya Islamic Middle Ages Middle East History: The Islamic Middle Ages, a Fractured Polity, and the Flourishing of a Cultural and Scientific Renaissance. By Anam Qudrat (). "The Islamic Middle Ages, a Fractured Polity, and the Flourishing of a Cultural and Scientific Renaissance." Inquiries Journal/Student Pulse, 4.
Islamic Spain in Middle Ages no paradise for Christians, Jews, women during the European Middle Ages, Islam, Christianity and Judaism co-existed peacefully and fruitfully under a tolerant and.
The history of Christianity during the Middle Ages is the history of Christianity between the Fall of Rome In the final analysis, only another ecumenical council could introduce such an alteration.
Indeed, the councils, which drew up the original Creed, had expressly forbidden any subtraction or addition to the text. Converts to Islam. In , Samuel Huntington wrote about the clash of civilizations which would dominate the future of global politics1; however, Europe’s medieval history has already witnessed such a clash between the VII and XV centuries, when Islam and Christianity fought to dominate the.
Christianity in the Middle Ages Christianity played a major role throughout the Middle Ages in society and politics. The Middle Ages, classified from AD to AD, was significantly effected by Christianity because of the impact it had on the daily lives of people of the time.