This pamphlet is the text of the 2007 Irving Kristol Lecture, delivered at the annual dinner of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., on March 7, 2007. The Irving Kristol Award, named for the eminent author and intellectual and longtime AEI senior fellow, is the Institute's highest honor, bestowed annually by its Council of Academic Advisers. The Irving Kristol lectures (and their predecessors before 2003, the Francis Boyer lectures) are posted on the AEI website at www.aei.org/kristolaward/.
The 2007 Kristol Award was presented to Bernard Lewis, the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus at Princeton University, and long the free world's preeminent student and interpreter of Islam, the Ottoman Empire, and the modern Middle East. Professor Lewis earned his PhD from the School of Oriental Studies at the University of London in 1939 and taught there for thirty-five years, interrupting his academic pursuits only to serve during World War II in the British Army (Royal Armoured Corps and Intelligence Corps) and for a while with a department of the Foreign Office. In 1974 he moved to the United States to accept his initial appointment at Princeton and the Institute for Advanced Study. Among historians and other scholars, Professor Lewis's stature was secured through such deep and luminous studies as The Arabs in History (1950), The Emergence of Modern Turkey (1961), The Muslim Discovery of Europe (1982), The Political Language of Islam (1988), and The Shaping of the Modern Middle East (1994).
Following the terrorist attacks of September 2001, Professor Lewis's works attracted intense interest from a wider public seeking to understand the turmoil in the Muslim world that had exploded with such ferocity into the West. His prescient essay, "The Roots of Muslim Rage," published in the September 1990 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, was widely reprinted and discussed. He lectured widely, counseled with top government officials, appeared on television, and wrote two new books. In What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Modern Middle East (2002), he analyzed the fall of Islamic civilization from superiority in almost every area of human knowledge to a "poor, weak, and ignorant" backwater dominated by "shabby tyrannies . . . modern only in their apparatus of repression and terror." In The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror (2003), he assessed the prospects for liberal political institutions in the Middle East. "If freedom fails and terror triumphs, the peoples of Islam will be the first and greatest victims," he wrote. "They will not be alone and many others will suffer with them."
The topic of Professor Lewis's Kristol Lecture, delivered in his ninetieth year to a hushed audience of 1,500 guests, was "Europe and Islam." His Kristol Award was inscribed:
To Bernard Lewis
Who has stood at the Bosporus for seventy years
Historian and interpreter across the great divide
Sage of our pasts, presage of our future.
President, American Enterprise Institute
For Public Policy Research
Bernard Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Emeritus, at Princeton University. He is widely recognized as the West's preeminent student and interpreter of Islam, the Ottoman Empire, and the modern Middle East.