Bernard Lewis, eminent historian of the Middle East, dies at 101Historians in the News
tags: Middle East, Israel, Arabs
Related Link Reflections by Martin Kramer
Bernard Lewis, a preeminent scholar of Middle Eastern history whose work profoundly shaped Western views of the region — including fears of a “clash of civilizations” — but also brought scorn from critics who considered his views elitist and favoring Western intervention, died May 19 at an assisted-living facility in Voorhees, N.J. He was 101.
The death was confirmed by his romantic partner and co-author, Buntzie Churchill, who did not cite a specific cause.
Dr. Lewis’s prolific scholarship — including more than 30 books, hundreds of articles and competence in at least a dozen languages — traced fault lines that define the modern Middle East, such as sectarian divisions, the rise of radical Islamists and entrenched dictatorships, some backed by the West.
Along the way, Dr. Lewis often gained a privileged vantage point for events in the region during a life that spanned the era of T.E. Lawrence, oil discoveries in Arabia and showdowns against the Islamic State.
He roamed souks and back streets for British intelligence during World War II; had tea in Golda Meir’s kitchen in honor of his ardent support of Israel; dined with Pope John Paul II; and was hosted in the Peacock Throne court of Iran’s former shah.
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