Three Pilgrimages to The Holy Land
By Saewulf, John of Wurzburg and Theoderic
Edited and translated by Denys Pringle
Translations of three texts from the twelfth century which relate pilgrimages to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Saewulf was English, while John of Wurzburg and Theoderic were both Germans. They offer interesting insights into how Jerusalem and the Near East region changed in the aftermath of the First Crusade.
A distinguishing feature of the three twelfth-century texts presented in this book is that, in contrast to some other medieval descriptions of the Holy Land that were intended more as practical guides for people setting out for the East or as devotional handbooks for those unable to do so, they all represent accounts written by named pilgrims, describing what they had seen and experienced on their travels. Like many travel writers even today, however, these three pilgrims did not rely solely on their own observations but also made use of existing texts to a greater or lesser extent. Not all of what they describe therefore is necessarily exactly what they saw. In addition to the Bible and classical authorities, many of the written sources on which they drew were the result of a developing tradition of pilgrimage literature that had evolved over some eight centuries, from the time in the early fourth century when, following Constantine’s conversion and subsequent adoption of Christianity as the official state religion in both the western and eastern parts of the Roman empire, Jerusalem was transformed into a Christian city and the geography of the Holy Land came to be viewed and written about in purely Christian terms.
Who is this book for?
While all three of the texts have been translated before, new English versions are long overdue. This book will be of interest to those who study Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land as well as Jerusalem in the age of the crusades.
Denys Pringle is an Emeritus Professor at Cardiff University. He is a leading expert on the architecture of the crusader states, which allows him to offer a lot of insights into the texts here. You can learn more about Denys on his Wikipedia page.
You can learn more about this book from the publisher’s website