This course examines the historical transformation of religious violence from early Christianity to the contemporary period from a variety of perspectives: theological, anthropological, and historical. Centrally, the aim of the class is to introduce you to the concepts of sacred violence in Christianity and Islam – Crusade and Jihad – and also examine the various manifestations of these ideas. The majority of class readings and discussions will center around primary source material in translation. Was violence integral to the creation of religious communities? To what degree did the practice of religious violence coincide with the ideal of Holy War? How do Crusade and Jihad diverge and change? And finally, how do these medieval concepts relate to their modern manifestations? A background in medieval Europe and the Islamic world is preferable but not necessary. Students will be evaluated on the basis on their participation in class discussion as well as two short papers and two longer papers. There are no quizzes or exams for this course.