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Playing the FoolSubversive Laughter in Troubled Times$
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Ralph Lerner

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226473154

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226473178.001.0001

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The Jihād of St. Alban

The Jihād of St. Alban

(p.30) 2 The Jihād of St. Alban
Playing the Fool
University of Chicago Press

The term “holy war” evokes the distant Middle Ages, whether of the Christian West or of the Muslim East. Today's headlines tell stories of a crusade or of a jihād, inciting readers to supply the needed emotional and political charge. In Christianity, there was for long (and especially in the Eastern church) a deep resistance to conflating just and holy. On the other hand, matters were singularly and impressively different in Islam. Jihād is one of several words in classical Arabic that denotes war while conveying more generally the notion of moral or physical exertion and struggle. The exertions of philosophers, such as Farabi, Avicenna, and Averroes among the Muslims and Moses Maimonides among the Jews, might well be characterized as a jihād of their own. Sir Francis Bacon's Advertisement Touching a Holy War is a display of the very disorder that afflicts the affairs of Christendom of his day as well as a display of the state of mind that might counter it.

Keywords:   holy war, jihād, Francis Bacon, Islam, Christendom, Muslims, philosophers

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