TBR: Bernard Lewis's Book on Islam Gets Clobbered and Fred Donner's Gets Praised

Max Rodenbeck writing in The Times Book Review has clobbered Bernard Lewis' new book on Islam (Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East) and has lavished praise on Fred Donner's (Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam).

About Lewis: "If it were only the present that Lewis perceived through a gently distorted mirror, this might not detract from his distinction as a historian. But he gets the past subtly wrong, too, often by omitting vital context."

About Donner: "This more sophisticated reading of history explains Islam not as a static doctrine, but as one that evolved from an ecumenical, syncretic, pietist and millenarian cult into a more dogmatic and exclusivist faith."

Bernard Lewis has never impressed us. We disliked his opacity, politics and his overall bombast and pomposity.

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