Skip to main content

With the Death of Bernard Lewis, the Age of Academic Giants Has Come to an End

Michael Doran

As a graduate student at Princeton University in the mid-1990s, I grew to know and love Bernard Lewis, the preeminent historian of the Middle East who passed away on May 19, less than two weeks before his 102nd birthday. At the time, I was in my early thirties and he was a year or two short of eighty, though you would not have known it from the pace of his work—a pace with which I soon became familiar as his research assistant.

By then I had met any number of extremely accomplished people, but never anyone quite like him. Lewis was a genius, by which I mean not just that he was extremely intelligent but that he possessed dazzling and unique intellectual gifts. He knew somewhere between ten and fifteen languages. The ones that mattered most to him professionally—Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, modern Turkish, Ottoman Turkish, French, and German—he knew extremely well. He also had a photographic memory.

To read the full piece on Mosaic Magazine’s website, click here.

Related Articles

Trump Has Avoided a Bad Deal With Taliban That Was Unlikely to Bring Peace to Afghanistan

Husain Haqqani

Instead of seeing Taliban for what they are, Khalilzad and his team approached them as ‘noble savages’ battling for their traditional religious values...

Continue Reading

Peace Deal Dead Between U.S. and Taliban

Rebeccah L. Heinrichs

In an interview with Fox News, Rebeccah Heinrichs discusses the best path forward in America's longest running war after a peace deal with the Taliban...

Watch Now

Can President Trump Really Tweet A Highly Classified Satellite Photo? Yep, He Can

Rebeccah L. Heinrichs

In an interview with Geoff Brumfiel on NPR, Rebeccah Heinrichs discusses the president’s decision to tweet a previously classified satellite photo of ...

Listen Now