Franklin Lewis is associate professor of Persian in the department of near eastern languages and civilizations at the University of Chicago. He is also the incoming Deputy Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. His current interests include works in Persian languages and literature, medieval Islamic mysticism, Arabic literature, Sufism, translation studies and Iranian religion. He has also published extensively in the field of Bahai Studies.
Professor Lewis did his graduate work in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. His dissertation work was on the life and works of the 12th century mystical poet Sana'i, and the establishment of the ghazal genre in Persian literature, winning the Foundation of Iranian Studies best dissertation prize for that year. After graduation from the University of Chicago in 1995, Prof. Lewis taught Persian at Emory University, where he attained the ranks of Associate Professor of Persian and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies. Dr. Lewis is also the founder of Adabiyat, an international discussion forum on the literatures of the Islamic World (including Arabic, Turkish, and Urdu, in addition to Persian literature).
His books include Rumi:
- Swallowing the Sun (Oneworld, 2007) and
- Rumi: Past and Present, East and West (Oneworld, 2000)
"Rumi is thus seen, not just as an icon of Islamic civilization (or of Afghan, Iranian, Tajik or Turkish national heritage), but of global culture. And, indeed, the popular following he enjoys in North America as a symbol of ecumenical spirituality is evident in bookstores, poetry slams, church sermons and on the internet"
-- Professor Franklin Lewis.
Part 1: World figure or new age fad?
Rumi's influence has long been felt throughout the Muslim world. Will his recent success in the west prove as long lasting?
Part 2: Under the surface
For Rumi, the reality accessible to our senses often obscures the true meaning that lies beneath.
Part 3: Knowledge and certainty
Can learning lead to God? For Rumi, knowledge is always partial. The Sufi way, however, can provide a taste of true reality.
Part 4: Rumi's Sufism
Sharia and the external observance of religious rules are only the beginning for the seeker after truth.
Part 5: On love
For Rumi, love is the astrolabe of God's mysteries and the animating force of creation.
Part 6: Unity of being
In Rumi's theology of love, the 'death' of the baser self is the only way to achieve union with the divine.
Part 7: God's grace
For Rumi, God's grace allows us to be judged on our intentions, and to recognize our common dependence on him.
Part 8: Echoes of celestial music
Rumi's teaching transcends the petty human squabbles that keep us divided. His words are a path to the divine.
These extraordinary articles by Prof. Franklin were first published by the Guardian in How to believe Series