Edward said vs bernard lewis

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edward said vs bernard lewis

Islam and the West by Bernard Lewis

Hailed in The New York Times Book Review as the doyen of Middle Eastern studies, Bernard Lewis has been for half a century one of the Wests foremost scholars of Islamic history and culture, the author of over two dozen books, most notably The Arabs in History, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, The Political Language of Islam, and The Muslim Discovery of Europe. Eminent French historian Robert Mantran has written of Lewiss work: How could one resist being attracted to the books of an author who opens for you the doors of an unknown or misunderstood universe, who leads you within to its innermost domains: religion, ways of thinking, conceptions of power, culture--an author who upsets notions too often fixed, fallacious, or partisan.
In Islam and the West, Bernard Lewis brings together in one volume eleven essays that indeed open doors to the innermost domains of Islam. Lewis ranges far and wide in these essays. He includes long pieces, such as his capsule history of the interaction--in war and peace, in commerce and culture--between Europe and its Islamic neighbors, and shorter ones, such as his deft study of the Arabic word watan and what its linguistic history reveals about the introduction of the idea of patriotism from the West. Lewis offers a revealing look at Edward Gibbons portrait of Muhammad in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (unlike previous writers, Gibbon saw the rise of Islam not as something separate and isolated, nor as a regrettable aberration from the onward march of the church, but simply as a part of human history); he offers a devastating critique of Edward Saids controversial book, Orientalism; and he gives an account of the impediments to translating from classic Arabic to other languages (the old dictionaries, for one, are packed with scribal errors, misreadings, false analogies, and etymological deductions that pay little attention to the evolution of the language). And he concludes with an astute commentary on the Islamic world today, examining revivalism, fundamentalism, the role of the Shia, and the larger question of religious co-existence between Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
A matchless guide to the background of Middle East conflicts today, Islam and the West presents the seasoned reflections of an eminent authority on one of the most intriguing and little understood regions in the world.
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Bernard Lewis - What Went Wrong? (Part 1)

In the course of a distinguished academic career at the University of London and at Princeton, Bernard Lewis has never been afraid to dip his scholarly hands in the muck of current affairs.
Bernard Lewis

Alas, poor Bernard Lewis, a fellow of infinite jest

The root th-w-r in Classical Arabic meant to rise up e. It is often used in the context of establishing a petty, independent sovereignty; thus, for example, the so-called party kings who ruled in eleventh century Spain after the break-up of the Caliphate of Cordova are called thuwwar sing. The verb is used by al-Iji, in the form of thawaran or itharat fitna , stirring up sedition, as one of the dangers which should discourage a man from practising the duty of resistance to bad government. Thawra is the term used by Arabic writers in the nineteenth century for the French Revolution, and by their successors for the approved revolutions, domestic and foreign, of our own time. Why introduce the idea of a camel rising as an etymological root for modern Arab revolution except as a clever way of discrediting the modern? All the canonical Orientalist literature will for the same ideological reason be unable to explain or prepare one for the confirming revolutionary upheaval in the Arab world in the twentieth century. Each of the words or phrases he uses to describe revolution is tinged with sexuality: stirred, excited, rising up.

Lewis was the Cleveland E. Lewis' expertise was in the history of Islam and the interaction between Islam and the West. He was also noted in academic circles for his works on the history of the Ottoman Empire. In and , respectively, Lewis was called "the West's leading interpreter of the Middle East" [4] and "the most influential postwar historian of Islam and the Middle East". Lewis was also notable for his public debates with Edward Said , who accused Lewis and other orientalists of misrepresenting Islam and serving the purposes of imperialist domination, [12] to which Lewis responded by defending Orientalism as a facet of humanism and accusing Said of politicizing the subject. He became interested in languages and history while preparing for his bar mitzvah.


Welcome sign in sign up. You can enter multiple addresses separated by commas to send the article to a group; to send to recipients individually, enter just one address at a time. The Question of Orientalism from the June 24, issue. Insouciant, outrageous, arbitrary, false, absurd, astonishing, reckless—these are some of the words Bernard Lewis [ NYR , June 24] uses to characterize what he interprets me as saying in Orientalism Yet despite these protestations, the sheer length of his diatribe and the four years of gestation he needed to produce it suggest that he takes what I say quite seriously, non-Orientalist though I may be.

The scholar of Islam and the Middle East died on May 19th, aged He saw himself as a latter-day dragoman, referring to the Ottoman-era interpreters who mediated talks between Turkish, Arabic and Persian rulers and European governments. Mr Lewis, who died on May 19th, grew up in a north London suburb, the son of Jewish middle-class parents who would have preferred him to be a lawyer. Two of his books became American best-sellers and he the first Western scholar to be given access to the archives of the Sublime Porte in Istanbul. But he shunned the ivory tower. He dedicated a book to one of his lovers, Perizad, an Ottoman princess and great-granddaughter of Sultan Mehmet V.


  1. Yunka L. says:

    About pseudoerasmus

  2. Serge B. says:

    Aug 12, Edward W. Said and Oleg Grabar, reply by Bernard Lewis On the one hand Lewis wishes to reduce Islamic Orientalism to the V.S. Naipaul are also presuppositions underlying the adjoining field of academic Orientalism.

  3. Hayden N. says:

    Khaled Diab.

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