Two books that I have recently read fed into each other.
The most interesting is by Jonah Goldberg (Tyranny of Cliches). Goldberg makes three points that are new and interesting.
The first is that the Left constantly uses the image of imperialism and provocative attack on Islam to describe the Crusades. That is simply not true.
Islam had been expanding for the 400 years prior to the first papal authorized crusade.
This is where the second book on the History of Jerusalem by Montefiore comes in.
The entire 3000 year history of Jerusalem is a history of blood and slaughter of an unbelievable magnitude. Islam did conquered Jerusalem and did close it to Christians and Jews at about the time the Turks were conquering the Byzantium Empire.
It was this expansion of Islam that provoked the Crusades. The Crusades only captured parts of the holy land and Jerusalem and went no further. They held Jerusalem for roughly a century.
It is good of Goldberg to make this point.
Goldberg's second point of interest is to suggest that popular cries for a modern Martin Luther in the world of Islam in order to bring tolerance and reform is a mistake. Luther's 95 theses, which you can find here, is a plea for greater church orthodoxy. The similar cries in Islam are coming from the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, the Salafists and the Wahabis. These are not reform movements. They, like Luther, are calls for orthodoxy.
On this point I partially agree with Goldberg. There is no Martin Luther model other than the pleas for greater orthodoxy. Martin Luther is not central in my history the source of Reformation even though he was excommunicated, he did marry and he openly introduced native language reading of the Bible.
To me the Reformation and tolerance was entirely the byproduct of northern Europe and especially Holland where the Jews from the Spanish Inquisition were allowed to settle. The Jews played a central role in the education of northern Europe in tolerance and religious reform.
The entire Islamic world is filled with a malignant cancerous Jew hate. There is no hope for reform in the coming centuries in this crowd of brain diseased people who hold their fragile countries together with their anti-Israel hate propaganda.
Goldberg also argues that research in the past 30 years has indicated that the Inquisition which lasted 700 years was mostly a case of the Catholic Church finding heretics and allowing them to confess and be redeemed. That the witch hunting and torturing were the actions of secular authorities and greedy uneducated peasants.
I find a few parallels in our own Salem witchcraft trials.
I will have to look further into this matter.