2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Medieval Just War Theory, Urban II, and the First Crusade
Brad T. LaPlante
Dr. Patricia Burton, Faculty Mentor

The Crusades are among the most controversial wars ever fought, and even the Roman Catholic Church's own standards must condemn them. Even according to the standards of the time, the Crusades were difficult at best and impossible at worst to defend as "just" wars. Christian just war philosophy, exemplified first by Augustine and later by Anselm and others, instituted several absolute rules necessary for the justice of any conflict. No private individual may launch a war. There must be a just cause, usually the avenging of wrongs or restoration of justice. Finally, the belligerent must have just intentions - despite previous wrongs and despite the authority of a sovereign any war launched for, say, the acquisition of territory or wealth is still unjust. This paper understands the Crusades in the context of early just war theory and argues that Urban II's great project fulfilled only some of these stringent requirements.

Keywords: Crusades, Just War, Urban II, Medieval Philosophy, Religion, Authority, Cause, Intention

Topic(s):Medieval Studies
Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 305-1
Location: MG 1090
Time: 1:00

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