Cultures in Conflict: Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Age of Discovery

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9780195102833: Cultures in Conflict: Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Age of Discovery
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Hailed as "the doyen of Middle Eastern studies" in The New York Times Book Review, Bernard Lewis stands at the height of his field. "To read Mr. Lewis," wrote Fouad Ajami in The Wall Street Journal, "is to be taken through a treacherous terrain by the coolest and most reassuring of guides. You are in the hands of the Islamic world's foremost living historian." Now this sure-handed guide takes us through treacherous terrain indeed--the events of 1492, a year laden with epic events and riven by political debate.

With elegance and erudition, Lewis explores that climactic year as a clash of civilizations--a clash not only of the New World and the Old, but also of Christendom and Islam, of Europe and the rest. In the same year that Columbus set sail across the Atlantic, he reminds us, the Spanish monarchy captured Granada, the last Muslim stronghold on the peninsula, and also expelled the Jews. Lewis uses these three epochal events to explore the nature of the European-Islamic conflict, placing the voyages of discovery in a striking new context. He traces Christian Europe's path from being a primitive backwater on the edges of the vast, cosmopolitan Caliphate, through the heightening rivalry of the two religions, to the triumph of the West over Islam, examining the factors behind their changing fortunes and cultural qualities.

Balanced and insightful, this far-reaching discussion of the encounters between Islam, the West, and the globe provides a new understanding of the distant events that gave shape to the modern world.

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About the Author:


Bernard Lewis is Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Emeritus, at Princeton University. His many books include The Shaping of the Modern Middle East, Islam and the West, Race and Slavery in the Middle East, and The Muslim Discovery of Europe.

From Kirkus Reviews:

In three essays based on lectures, Lewis provides an engaging overview of the cultural and political clash between Christian Europe and the Islamic world from the late 15th to the early 19th centuries. Lewis (Near Eastern Studies/Princeton Univ.; Islam and the West, 1993, etc.) takes as his starting point 1492, the year not only of Columbus's discovery of the ``New World'' but also of Catholic Spain's victory over Islam, after four centuries of struggle, on the Iberian Peninsula. Six months later, Ferdinand and Isabella expelled Spain's Jews, with profound repercussions for all three monotheistic civilizations. Though banished from Western Europe, it wasn't until 1683 that Muslim armies, under the flag of the Ottoman Empire, were repulsed from Vienna for the last time. In briefly tracing the millennium-long clash, Lewis demonstrates how the Christian and Islamic cultures sometimes mirrored each other, noting, for example, that the Crusade resembles a jihad and that the European Renaissance was preceded about 500 years earlier by a great Muslim cultural flowering. He writes far more briefly of Judaism, but here, too, he illuminates, as in his clear discussion of the economic and political forces that drove the Ottoman Empire to welcome the Jews expelled from Spain. Lewis's multilayered analysis of why the West ultimately gained the upper hand over the Islamic world ranges broadly from the technological (the West used gunpowder, which the Muslim world largely scorned) to the linguistic (Western Europe developed written vernaculars from Latin, which accelerated receptivity to cultural change, while the Islamic world retained the beautiful, but somewhat stilted, style of classical Arabic well into the modern era). The book is marred only by a closing, overstated paean to Western civilization, in which Lewis claims that Western thinkers alone in human history have manifested intense curiosity about cultures other than their own. Still, despite its tantalizing brevity, an elegant book. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description Oxford University Press. Paperback. Condition: New. 126 pages. Dimensions: 7.9in. x 5.3in. x 0.3in.Hailed as the doyen of Middle Eastern studies in The New York Times Book Review, Bernard Lewis stands at the height of his field. To read Mr. Lewis, wrote Fouad Ajami in The Wall Street Journal, is to be taken through a treacherous terrain by the coolest and most reassuring of guides. You are in the hands of the Islamic worlds foremost living historian. Now this sure-handed guide takes us through treacherous terrain indeed--the events of 1492, a year laden with epic events and riven by political debate. With elegance and erudition, Lewis explores that climactic year as a clash of civilizations--a clash not only of the New World and the Old, but also of Christendom and Islam, of Europe and the rest. In the same year that Columbus set sail across the Atlantic, he reminds us, the Spanish monarchy captured Granada, the last Muslim stronghold on the peninsula, and also expelled the Jews. Lewis uses these three epochal events to explore the nature of the European-Islamic conflict, placing the voyages of discovery in a striking new context. He traces Christian Europes path from being a primitive backwater on the edges of the vast, cosmopolitan Caliphate, through the heightening rivalry of the two religions, to the triumph of the West over Islam, examining the factors behind their changing fortunes and cultural qualities. Balanced and insightful, this far-reaching discussion of the encounters between Islam, the West, and the globe provides a new understanding of the distant events that gave shape to the modern world. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780195102833

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