Bernard Lewis

Biografie şi Bibliografie

Bernard Lewis, FBA (born May 31, 1916) is a British-American historian, scholar in Oriental studies, and political commentator. He is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He specializes in the history of Islam and the interaction between Islam and the West, and is especially famous in academic circles for his works on the history of the Ottoman Empire.

Lewis served in the British Army in the Royal Armoured Corps and Intelligence Corps during the Second World War before being seconded to the Foreign Office. After the war, he returned to the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and was appointed to the new chair in Near and Middle Eastern History.

Lewis is a widely read expert on the Middle East, and is regarded as one of the West’s leading scholars of that region. His advice has been frequently sought by policymakers, including the George W. Bush administration. In the Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing Martin Kramer, whose Ph.D. thesis was directed by Lewis, considered that, over a 60-year career, he has emerged as "the most influential postwar historian of Islam and the Middle East." Lewis is known for his Armenian Genocide denial. He is also famous for his public debates with the late Edward Said concerning the latter's book Orientalism (1978), which harshly criticized Lewis.


Bernard Lewis was born to middle-class Jewish parents in Stoke Newington, London. He became interested in languages and history while preparing for his bar mitzvah.

Lewis graduated in 1936 from the School of Oriental Studies (now SOAS, School of Oriental and African Studies) at the University of London with a B.A. in History with special reference to the Near and Middle East, and obtaining his Ph.D. three years later, also from SOAS, specializing in the History of Islam. Lewis also studied law, going part of the way toward becoming a solicitor, but returned to study Middle Eastern history. He undertook post-graduate studies at the University of Paris, where he studied with the orientalist Louis Massignon and earned the "Diplôme des Études Sémitiques" in 1937. He returned to SOAS in 1938 as an assistant lecturer in Islamic History.

During the Second World War, Lewis served in the British Army in the Royal Armoured Corps and Intelligence Corps in 1940–41, before being seconded to the Foreign Office. After the war, he returned to SOAS, and in 1949, at the age of 33, he was appointed to the new chair in Near and Middle Eastern History.

In 1974, aged 57, Lewis accepted a joint position at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study, also located in Princeton, New Jersey. The terms of his appointment were such that Lewis taught only one semester per year, and being free from administrative responsibilities, he could devote more time to research than previously. Consequently, Lewis's arrival at Princeton marked the beginning of the most prolific period in his research career during which he published numerous books and articles based on the previously accumulated materials. In addition, it was in the U.S. that Lewis became a public intellectual. Upon his retirement from Princeton in 1986, Lewis served at Cornell University until 1990.

Lewis has been a naturalized citizen of the United States since 1982. He married Ruth Hélène Oppenhejm in 1947 with whom he had a daughter and a son before the marriage was dissolved in 1974.

In 1966, Lewis was a founding member of the learned society, Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA), but in 2007, he broke away and founded Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) to challenge MESA, which the New York Sun noted as "dominated by academics who have been critical of Israel and of America's role in the Middle East." The organization was formed as an academic society dedicated to promoting the highest standards of research and teaching in Middle Eastern and African studies, and related fields, with Lewis as Chairman of its academic council.

In 1990 the National Endowment for the Humanities selected Lewis for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. His lecture, entitled "Western Civilization: A View from the East," was revised and reprinted in The Atlantic Monthly under the title "The Roots of Muslim Rage." His 2007 Irving Kristol Lecture, given to the American Enterprise Institute, was published as Europe and Islam.


    * The Origins of Ismailism (1940)
    * A Handbook of Diplomatic and Political Arabic (1947)
    * The Arabs in History (1950)
    * The Emergence of Modern Turkey (1961)
    * Istanbul and the Civilizations of the Ottoman Empire (1963)
    * The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam (1967)
    * The Cambridge History of Islam (2 vols. 1970, revised 4 vols. 1978, editor with Peter Malcolm Holt and Ann K.S. Lambton)
    * Islam: From the Prophet Muhammad to the capture of Constantinople (1974, editor)
    * History — Remembered, Recovered, Invented (1975)
    * Race and Color in Islam (1979)
    * Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The Functioning of a Plural Society (1982, editor with Benjamin Braude)
    * The Muslim Discovery of Europe (1982)
    * The Jews of Islam (1984)
    * Semites and Anti-Semites (1986)
    * Islam from the Prophet Muhammad to the Capture of Constantinople (1987)
    * The Political Language of Islam (1988)
    * Race and Slavery in the Middle East: an Historical Enquiry (1990)
    * Islam and the West (1993)
    * Islam in History (1993)
    * The Shaping of the Modern Middle East (1994)
    * Cultures in Conflict (1994)
    * The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years (published in U.K. as The Middle East: 2,000 Years of History from the Rise of Christianity to the Present Day) (1995)
    * The Future of the Middle East (1997)
    * The Multiple Identities of the Middle East (1998)
    * A Middle East Mosaic: Fragments of Life, Letters and History (2000)
    * Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew Poems (2001)
    * The Muslim Discovery of Europe (2001)
    * What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East (2002)
    * The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror (2003)
    * From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East (2004)
    * Islam: The Religion and the People (2008, with Buntzie Ellis Churchill)

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