Jerusalem Lost: the Holy Land and Islam in Christian Memory


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars




For residence at the American Academy in Rome during academic year 2015-2016


This project explores how western Christians came to think about Jerusalem, the Holy Land and Islam differently in the fourteenth century. As crusader Jerusalem was re-conquered by Muslims in the thirteenth century, two contrasting visions of Jerusalem developed. The Christian survivors of the Muslim conquest sought to reclaim their lost lands, and remembered Jerusalem through the lens of loss. Franciscans developed their own sense of Jerusalem’s value, one that did not seek to return Jerusalem to Christian rule, but saw it as inalterably Muslim. At the same time, the Holy Places were re-created in various sites in Italy. In the end, the Franciscan vision of Jerusalem dominated, which has influenced how western Christians have viewed the Holy Land and the Islamic Middle East for centuries.