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Bernard Lewis

Data de nascimento: 31. Maio 1916


Bernard Lewis foi um académico britânico especialista em história do Islão e na interação entre o Islão e o Ocidente. De origem judaica, Lewis é professor emérito da cátedra Cleveland E. Dodge de Estudos do Próximo Oriente da Universidade de Princeton.

Lewis licenciou-se pela Faculdade de Estudos Orientais e Africanos da Universidade de Londres , fez pós-graduação na Universidade de Paris, regressou em 1938 para a Universidade de Londres como professor assistente de História Islâmica, novamente na Faculdade de Estudos Orientais e Africanos. Lewis ensinou ali até 1974, quando aceitou uma posição na Universidade de Princeton. Em 1986 aposentou-se formalmente, apesar de ainda manter ali uma posição como professor emérito, como mencionado acima.

No seguimento dos ataques terroristas de 11 de Setembro de 2001, o interesse pela obra de Lewis explodiu, em especial o seu ensaio de 1990 "As raízes da raiva muçulmana". Lewis é também conhecido pela sua discordância com muitas das teses de Edward Said, da Universidade de Columbia.

Bernard Lewis escreveu mais de vinte livros e numerosos artigos. Entre os seus mais recentes livros encontram-se dois escritos no seguimento dos ataques terroristas do 11 de Setembro:

A crise do Islão

O que correu mal?

Bernard Lewis morreu em 19 de maio de 2018, aos 101 anos.

Citações Bernard Lewis


„There are other difficulties in the way of accepting imperialism as an explanation of Muslim hostility, even if we define imperialism narrowly and specifically, as the invasion and domination of Muslim countries by non-Muslims. If the hostility is directed against imperialism in that sense, why has it been so much stronger against Western Europe, which has relinquished all its Muslim possessions and dependencies, than against Russia, which still rules, with no light hand, over many millions of reluctant Muslim subjects and over ancient Muslim cities and countries? And why should it include the United States, which, apart from a brief interlude in the Muslim-minority area of the Philippines, has never ruled any Muslim population? The last surviving European empire with Muslim subjects, that of the Soviet Union, far from being the target of criticism and attack, has been almost exempt. Even the most recent repressions of Muslim revolts in the southern and central Asian republics of the USSR incurred no more than relatively mild words of expostulation, coupled with a disclaimer of any desire to interfere in what are quaintly called the "internal affairs" of the USSR and a request for the preservation of order and tranquillity on the frontier.One reason for this somewhat surprising restraint is to be found in the nature of events in Soviet Azerbaijan. Islam is obviously an important and potentially a growing element in the Azerbaijani sense of identity, but it is not at present a dominant element, and the Azerbaijani movement has more in common with the liberal patriotism of Europe than with Islamic fundamentalism. Such a movement would not arouse the sympathy of the rulers of the Islamic Republic. It might even alarm them, since a genuinely democratic national state run by the people of Soviet Azerbaijan would exercise a powerful attraction on their kinsmen immediately to the south, in Iranian Azerbaijan.Another reason for this relative lack of concern for the 50 million or more Muslims under Soviet rule may be a calculation of risk and advantage. The Soviet Union is near, along the northern frontiers of Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan; America and even Western Europe are far away. More to the point, it has not hitherto been the practice of the Soviets to quell disturbances with water cannon and rubber bullets, with TV cameras in attendance, or to release arrested persons on bail and allow them access to domestic and foreign media. The Soviets do not interview their harshest critics on prime time, or tempt them with teaching, lecturing, and writing engagements. On the contrary, their ways of indicating displeasure with criticism can often be quite disagreeable.“

—  Bernard Lewis

„The origins of secularism in the west may be found in two circumstances—in early Christian teachings and, still more, experience, which created two institutions, Church and State; and in later Christian conflicts, which drove the two apart. Muslims, too, had their religious disagreements, but there was nothing remotely approaching the ferocity of the Christian struggles between Protestants and Catholics, which devastated Christian Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and finally drove Christians in desperation to evolve a doctrine of the separation of religion from the state. Only by depriving religious institutions of coercive power, it seemed, could Christendom restrain the murderous intolerance and persecution that Christians had visited on followers of other religions and, most of all, on those who professed other forms of their own.Muslims experienced no such need and evolved no such doctrine. There was no need for secularism in Islam, and even its pluralism was very different from that of the pagan Roman Empire, so vividly described by Edward Gibbon when he remarked that "the various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful." Islam was never prepared, either in theory or in practice, to accord full equality to those who held other beliefs and practiced other forms of worship. It did, however, accord to the holders of partial truth a degree of practical as well as theoretical tolerance rarely paralleled in the Christian world until the West adopted a measure of secularism in the late-seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.“

—  Bernard Lewis


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