Jay Rubenstein

Apocalypse Then: The First Crusade is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Jay Rubenstein, Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Premodern World at the University of Southern California, and provides us with fascinating insights into medieval society. 

How did the First Crusade happen? What could have suddenly caused tens of thousands of knights, commoners and even nuns at the end of the 11th century to leave their normal lives behind and trek thousands of miles across hostile territory in an unprecedented vicious and bloody quest to wrest Jerusalem from its occupying powers?

Jay Rubenstein, historian of the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual worlds of Europe in the Middle Ages, carefully explores those questions based on his extensive research while discussing the Apocalypse: the crusaders’ sincere belief that the end of the world was approaching and their opportunity to participate in the last stage of the divine plan.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, The Glorious End, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

  1. Becoming a Medievalist – Suddenly fashionable
  2. Guibert of Nogent – From overlooked to oversimplified
  3. Armies of Heaven – Subheading
  4. Considering Impact – On history and historians
  5. Moving On – Or perhaps not



Available in electronic format on all major booksellers, including:





Apocalypse Then: The First Crusade is also part of the five-part Ideas Roadshow CollectionConversations About History, Volume 2, which is available in both paperback and electronic format.