Sadik J. Al-Azm (retired Professor of Modern European
Philosophy at the University of Damascus) was born in Damascus, in 1934, member of a well-known Sunnite family.

In 1963, after studies at Yale University he lectured philosophy at the American University of Beirut. Not considering himself a Marxist in particular, he rather sees himself as a materialistic thinker who in a practical way deals with the political and social circumstances in which he finds himself.

Al-Azm became well known with his book Self-criticism after the Defeat (1968), in which he gives an analysis of the Arab disillusionment after the Six Days War. Apart from publications in Arabic some of his books appeared in English translation. Besides, his books were published in German, Dutch, English, Norwegian and Italian (Unbehagen in der Moderne. Aufklärung im Islam,1993; Kritiek op godsdienst en wetenschap. Vijf essays over islamitische cultuur, 1996; L’Illuminismo islamico. Il disagio della civiltà, 2002).

During his career he taught, not only in Damascus and Beirut, but also at Harvard, Princeton and the University of Hamburg (visiting professor in 1998). In 1990/91 he was fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. He stayed as a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. during 1992-93. He lectured in Antwerp and in Amsterdam (2003). In May 2004 he received the Dr.-Leopold-Lucas-Preis of the Evangelical-Theological Faculty of the University of Tübingen.

November 2004