Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bernard Lewis (May 31, 1916)

I was shocked when I learned that Bernard Lewis had been successfully discredited by Arab propaganda, so currently scholars are shamed if they refer to his works. I've read and learned much from many of his books, heard him speak on TV shows, and always understood that  he was a pioneer in studying the Arab world.

In response to Edward Said’s claim that Lewis couldn’t properly do scholarship on the Arab world, Lewis said “If westerners cannot legitimately study the history of Africa or the Middle East, then only fish can study marine biology.” Edward Said, of course, was a skillful anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propagandist, who no doubt led the efforts against Lewis. Sad!

Fouad Ajami, another scholar of the Arab world, says: “Bernard Lewis is the great Orientalist of our time, and we shan’t see the likes of him again.”

 Ajami, "a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institute ... born and raised in Lebanon, describes himself as a 'self-appointed disciple' of Lewis. The two have been close since Ajami’s days at Princeton some 35 years ago and Ajami gushes freely about his mentor. 'His ability to track Islam’s journey over the 70 years of his career and really see the deeper currents of Islam—that is his genius. He is able to bridge the gap between scholarship and modern affairs and make a seamless connection between the past and the present.'" -- quotes from Moment Magazine, "The Revered and Reviled Bernard Lewis"

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