Professor Kurt Villads Jensen

Contact Details

Department of History
Odense University
Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense M



When and where did you initially develop an interest in the history of the crusades and/or the Latin East?

During interrail and back-pack travel many years ago in Turkey and Egypt. From there to study of Christian theology compared to Islamic, and high medieval missionary theology, and then to crusading.

Who or what sparked your enthusiasm for the subject?

Fascination of the Orient.

The still unsolved personal problem – how can/could “we Christians” argue for the use of violence in mission or in defence of Christianity. I can understand the medieval – and the now sadly modern – arguments from an intellectual perspective, but it still presents some severe exegetical problems for me.


Please provide details of your Higher Education, including dates, institution(s) and the name(s) of your research supervisors.

  • 1998 - Teaching prize in Humanities, University of Southern Denmark
  • 1996 - Teachers' training course, University of Southern Denmark
  • 1993 - conferred a bachelor degree in Classical Latin
    immatriculated at the Faculty of Theology, Copenhagen University (till 1997)
  • 1992 - PhD on a dissertation on Medieval Christian writings on Islam
  • 1987 - 88 - studied Hebrew and New Testament
  • 1987 - Masters degree in History
  • 1985 - Bachelor degree in Medieval Latin
  • 1984 - 85 - reduced study activity because of child's illness
  • 1982 - 84 - studied Turkish philology
  • 1982 - Bachelor degree in History
  • 1980 - supplementary exam in Classical Greek
  • 1976 - 82 - studies at Copenhagen University, followed teaching in philosophy, theology, history, a little Arabic, Turkish, classical languages.

Career History

Please provide details of your academic career history, including confirmation of your current institutional affiliation and contact details.

  • 2001 - 2002 - research fellow at the Danish Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities; since 2002 affiliated with the Institute
  • 1998 - 2001 - leader of the research project Denmark and the Crusading movement, supported by the Danish Research Council
  • Since 1998 - associate professor in medieval history, University of Southern Denmark
  • 1995 - 1998 - assistant professor in medieval history, University of Southern Denmark
  • 1994 - 1995 - assistant professor on Jewish history, Denmark's International Study program
  • 1993 - 1995 - editor in history, The Danish National Encyclopedia
  • 1993 - Teacher at Himmelev Highschool in History, three months
  • 1993 - Teacher at Koege Highschool in Latin and Religious studies, two months
  • 1991 - 1993 - Research fellow, Copenhagen University, financed by the Carlsberg foundation
  • 1988 - 1991 - PhD student, Department for Oriental Philology, Copenhagen University
  • 1986 - 1988 - Librarian, Department for Oriental Philology, Copenhagen University
  • 1984 - 1986 - Secretary, Department of Linguistics, Copenhagen University

Influences and Methodologies

What ideas and/or methodologies have informed your approach to your research?

History of mentalities, history of theology.

Research Outlook

What do you consider to be the most important avenues for future research in the field of crusader studies?

Just now, criticism of crusading is a not much explored field. It would be important to look again at such criticism or simply at areas of medieval societies that were not influenced and not interested in crusading.

Vernacular literature and esp. poetry and eg crusader songs are still under-researched.
Huntington’s stupid idea of clash of civilisations has been much too readily accepted among too many crusade historians. Should be discussed and argued against much more concerned that it happens now.

Research Output

Please provide details of your research output, including publications and other media as appropriate.