World-renowned Professor Bernard Lewis is slated to deliver a lecture on "Approaches to Middle Eastern History" at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Jerusalem on Wednesday. The event will be followed on Thursday by an international workshop on slavery in the early Islamic empire.
Prof. Lewis, 92 years old, is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus at Princeton University and one of the world's foremost authorities on the Middle East. He is the author of more than two dozen books, including The Arabs in History, The Assassins, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, The Political Language of Islam, The Muslim Discovery of Europe, Cultures in Conflict, The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2000 Years, and Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew Poems. He detailed his views on Israel's role in the world and the Arab campaign to delegitimize the Jewish State in Semites and Anti-Semites (1986).
In 1998, Lewis wrote an essay warning that then-little-known al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden would evolve into a serious danger to the West. He has also recently been cited as the foremost scholar of the Middle East who advocated the US-led war to depose Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and replace the Ba'athist regime there.
For his personal journey into Middle Eastern studies, Prof. Lewis has credited preparations he made for his own bar mitzvah ceremony, when he developed an interest in Hebrew, and a book he received at that time on Jewish history. In addition to Hebrew, Lewis later became proficient in Aramaic, Arabic, Latin, Greek, Persian and Turkish. %ad%
Prof. Lewis's Jerusalem lecture was coordinated jointly by the Institute of Asian and African Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. It is dedicated to the memory of Prof. David Ayalon, a leading figure in the field of Arabic studies and Middle Eastern history. Ayalon was awarded the Israel Prize, the highest civilian recognition by the State of Israel, and became an honorary foreign member of the American Historical Association in 1997. He passed away in 1998.
The workshop following Prof. Lewis's lecture is entitled "The Origins and Early Nature of Military Slavery in the Islamic World". It will be held at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Mount Scopus campus.