The Conflicts Between Islam and Christianity – Essay Example

The paper "The Conflicts Between Islam and Christianity" is a wonderful example of a history essay.
The conflicts between Islam and Christianity, dating back to the Middle Ages and extending through the Renaissance, continue to inform the relationship between the West and the people of Mohammed to the present day. One of these connections has to do with the notion of jihad, or holy war. While many Muslims reject the notion of violence, there are many others who feel that a holy war against the West is necessary for Islam to reach its full potential – and to fulfill Allah's plan. This dates back to the time of the Crusades, when European knights came to Jerusalem and, in the First Crusade, took it back from the Muslims for Christianity. In that first crusade, the Muslim casualties were so great that they inspired a rage among Muslims that would lead to the doctrine of jihad being created – and to a rage that is still present (Landscheidt and Wollny, 2004). A second connection between the European and Islamic cultures had to do with the rediscovery of many of the classic texts from antiquity, which had been lost in the chaos following the disintegration of the Roman Empire, but which had been translated from Greek to Syriac by monks in Palestine, and then placed in libraries such as the “House of Wisdom” in Baghdad (Lebedel, 2006). By the twelfth century, many of these classic texts had been translated back into Latin. Insights from these classical texts still inform Western politics and thought in modern times. A third connection between the two cultures came from the translation of the works of the Muslim mathematician Al-Khwarizmi. If it were not for his work, there is no telling how long many of the basic concepts of algebra would have taken to occur to the world's mathematicians – let alone the host of mathematical sciences that sprang from the findings of algebra (Katz, 2007). A fourth connection had to do with the passing of Avicenna's discoveries of medicine into the Western canon. His The Canon of Medicine was the standard medical text throughout Europe until the dawn of the modern medical age, and his notion that sick people left “traces” in the air that could be contagious was one of the earliest notions of the airborne disease (Tschanz 2003). Without the confrontation of the two cultures, the West would have lost considerable enrichment – as well as a great deal of conflict.