Bernard Lewis


Bernard Lewis : biography

May 31, 1916 –


  • 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)
  • Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East (2010) Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-514421-5
  • The End of Modern History in the Middle East (2011) Hoover Institution Press.
  • Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian (2012) ISBN 978-0-670-02353-0

Debates with Edward Said

Lewis is known for his literary sparrings with Edward W. Said, the Palestinian-American literary theorist whose aim was to deconstruct what he called Orientalist scholarship. Said, a professor at Columbia University, characterised Lewis’s work as a prime example of Orientalism in his 1978 book Orientalism. Said asserted that the field of Orientalism was political intellectualism bent on self-affirmation rather than objective study,Said, Edward, Orientalism (Vintage Books: New York, 1979) ISBN 978-0-394-74067-6 Pg 12 a form of racism, and a tool of imperialist domination.Keith Windschuttle, The New Criterion January 17, 1999. Retrieved January 19, 1999. He further questioned the scientific neutrality of some leading Middle East scholars such as Bernard Lewis on the Arab World. In an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly, Said suggested that Lewis’ knowledge of the Middle East was so biased it could not be taken seriously, and claimed "Bernard Lewis hasn’t set foot in the Middle East, in the Arab world, for at least 40 years. He knows something about Turkey, I’m told, but he knows nothing about the Arab world." Said, Edward. Al-Ahram Weekly April 2, 2003. Retrieved April 26, 2007.

Edward Said considered that Lewis treats Islam as a monolithic entity without the nuance of its plurality, internal dynamics, and historical complexities, and accused him of "demagogy and downright ignorance."Said, Edward. The Nation October 22, 2001. Retrieved April 26, 2007.