Victor Danner Memorial Lecture Series
Professor Victor Danner was born on October 22, 1926, in Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico, to Arthur James and Maria Lopez Danner. As a young man, he served his country during WWII. After the war he attended Georgetown University where he received his BA magna cum laude in 1957. Later that year he traveled to Morocco to become an instructor and eventually Director of the American Language Center, sponsored by the US Information Service. While there he took advantage of the opportunity not only to get acquainted with the country but also to perfect his knowledge of classical Arabic texts.
In 1964, Professor Danner returned to the US for his doctoral studies and graduated from Harvard in 1970. He came to Indiana University in 1967 as a professor of Arabic and Religious Studies, a position he held until his death in 1990. He served as Chairman of the Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Department for five years, and was an enthusiastic supporter of the Middle Eastern Studies Program.
Professor Danner was an internationally renowned scholar in the fields of Islamic mysticism, comparative religion, and classical Arabic literature. In 1976, he was invited to speak at the international World Festival of Islam in London. Professor Danner was also active in a number of professional organizations, including the Foundation for Traditional Studies, for which he served as Secretary-Treasurer. He wrote Ibn 'Ata 'Allah's Sufi Aphorisms (1973); Ibn 'Ata 'Allah: The Book of Wisdom, (1978); and The Islamic Tradition: An Introduction (1988), in addition to over twenty-five articles and reviews.
One of his students, Lauri King Irani, captured his essence: "As a teacher, Victor Danner had few equals. He taught Arabic, classical Arabic literature, Islam, Sufism, the Qur'an, comparative religion, comparative mysticism, and Eastern religions. His dignified bearing, elegant gestures, and verbal eloquence transformed his lectures into performances which had the power to captivate and inspire his students, whether he was discussing Arabic grammar or Islamic theology. His concern for and encouragement of his students, coupled with his understated sense of humor, earned him a well-deserved reputation as a caring and committed educator who taught not only when behind the classroom lectern, but also by example."
Previous Victor Danner Memorial LecturesTenth Annual Victor Danner Memorial Lecture
Wael Hallaq, "The Islamic State and Moral Philosophy: Engaging Post-Modernity," April 4, 2012
James W. Morris, "'Servants of the All-Compassionate': Building Communities of Realization in a Global Civilization," April 18, 2011
Michael Sells, "Qurrat al-ʿAyn: Reflections on Poetry, Mysticism, and Civilization in the Seventh Century Hijra," April 19, 2010
Ahmad Dallal, Circumscribing the Sacred: The Limits of the Law in Eighteenth-Century Islamic Traditions of Reform," March 25, 2009
Vincent Cornell, "Dialogues in the Vernacular: A Pragmatic Approach to Muslim—Non-Muslim Relations," April 7, 2008
William Chittick, "Uncovering the Secrets of Consciousness: The Sufi Approach," April 13, 2007
Carl W. Ernst, "Sufism, Islam, and Globalization in the Contemporary World: Methodological Reflections on a Changing Field of Study," April 15, 2006
Sachiko Murata, "Sufi Teachings in Neo-Confucian Islams," April 25, 2005
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, "Religious and Islamic Studies in America," April 15, 2004
Huston Smith, "The Master-Disciple Relationship," February 26, 2003