Dialectics Not Dualities: Contemporary Turkish Muslim Thought in Dialogue
Wilkinson, Taraneh Rosanna
Madigan, Daniel A
“Dialectics not Dualities: Contemporary Turkish Muslim Thought in Dialogue” examines Turkish theology faculties and the creative and critical responses of Turkish theologians to challenges of modernity. Turkish theology faculties are funded by the Turkish government and function as higher institutions of learning where Islam is both studied and practiced alongside the social study of religion more generally. This study undertakes a theological evaluation of the scholarly output of a range of contemporary Turkish theologians and resists attempts to reduce the theological value of Turkish theologians to common binary frameworks, such as religion vs. secularism, modernity vs. tradition, or Islam vs. the West. In order to move away from binary explanatory frameworks, I propose a dialectical threefold schema of engagement as a heuristic for appreciating the complexity and creative opportunity of Turkish theological efforts. I propose that, when Turkish theologians do theology, they navigate a multiplicity of authoritative traditions: Turkish/Ottoman, Arab-Islamic, and Western intellectual traditions. In this way, Turkish theology is marked by dialectical engagement of a range of sources, some even Western and Christian. To illustrate how this threefold dialectical schema plays out in individual theological projects, I take up questions of gender, authority, skepticism, and religious pluralism to show how individual Turkish theological contributions exemplify this dialectical threefold engagement. This dialectical threefold engagement not only results in generative and explorative theological results for Turkish theology, it also represents a unique response to the challenges of modernity.
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