The lecture was delivered on April 23 during the 1993 ACLS Annual Meeting in Williamsburg, VA.
From the lecture program:
Annemarie Schimmel was born in 1922 in Germany where she received doctoral degrees in Arabic and Islamic Studies (Berlin 1941) and the History of Religions (Marburg 1951). After serving as an Associate Professor in the University of Marburg she began an international career. From 1954 to 1959 she was Professor of the History of Religion in the Faculty of Islamic Theology at the University of Ankara, Turkey. Subsequently she was Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Bonn and joined the faculty of Harvard University in 1966, serving as Professor of Indo-Muslim Culture from 1970 until 1992. Following her retirement from Harvard she was elected Honorary Professor at the University of Bonn.
Professor Schimmel has received honorary degrees from three Pakistani Universities, Sind, Quaid-i Azam, and Peshawar; from the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Uppsala in Sweden; and from the Selcuk University in Turkey. She has been given a variety of medals and awards in recognition of her contributions to scholarship. These include the Grand Order of Merit from the Government of Germany, and the Hilal-i Imtiaz from the Government of Pakistan. Among the German and Austrian awards are the Friedrich-Ruckert Prize from the City of Schweinfurt, the Hammer-Purgstall Gold Medal, the Johann-Heinrich Voss Prize of the Akademie fur Sprache and Dichtung, and the Dr. Leopold-Lucas Prize from the Evangelical Theological Faculty of Tubingen. In the United States she was awarded the Levi Della Vida Medal by the University of California, Los Angeles, and she has received numerous medals as well from institutions of the Middle East such as IRCICA in Turkey. In Lahore, Pakistan, an alley is named after her.
Professor Schimmel has made significant contributions in the fields of the study of history of religion, literature, and mysticism, and she is an important translator, especially into German poetry, from many languages including Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, and Sindhi. Her studies cover Islamic subjects from early medieval periods to the contemporary era and from North Africa to Southeast Asia. Her works on Islamic mysticism and spiritual literature have made a major impact on Western understanding of Islamic experiences. Among her important works are Gabriel's Wing: A Study into the Religious Ideas of Sir Muhammad Iqbal; Mystical Dimensions of Islam; And Muhammad is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety; A Two-Colored Brocade: The Imagery of Persian Poetry; Calligraphy and Islamic Culture; and at least fifty additional volumes of studies and translations in German, English, and Turkish.
Professor Schimmel has served as president of the International Association for the History of Religions (1980-1990). She was an Editor of The Encyclopedia of Religion (Mircea Eliade, Editor-in-Chief), and she was the Editor of the Arabic cultural magazine Filzrun wa Fann (1963-1973) in Germany. She has given the ACLS Committee on the History of Religions Lectures (1980, As Through A Veil); the Kevorkian Lectures at New York University (1982); the Bampton Lectures at Columbia University (1992); and the Gifford Lectures in Edinburgh (1992). She was elected to honorary membership in the Middle East Studies Association of North America, the Deutsche Morgenlandische Gesellschaft, and the Association des Iranistes Europeens.