The Faculty of Theology : History and Mission
The core of the Faculty of Theology at Marmara University is the Istanbul Higher Islamic Institute, which was established by the Ministry of National Education in 1959. By the law of the Higher Educational Council in 1982, the Institute was taken over by the administration of Marmara University and thus became known as Marmara University, Faculty of Theology. Since its establishment, the Faculty has had a distinguished place in the history of Islamic and religious thought in Turkey. The intellectual sources of the Faculty are rooted in the rich legacy of the classical Islamic sciences advanced throughout a long-lasting and multi-cultured Islamic and Turkish history. The Faculty has played an important role in the academic teaching of Islamic and religious scholarly disciplines by integrating the traditional spirit of Islamic disciplines with modern developments in Religious Studies. A focus on traditional Islamic values paired with the advantages of critical thinking in religious matters has been and remains a definitive characteristic of education at the Faculty of Theology.
The Faculty is an international centre of educational excellence, which integrates traditional and modern intellectual studies on Islam and other religions of the world. It provides this education by contextualizing Islamic studies within the broader field of social sciences and the humanities, and thus harmoniously blends modern academic disciplines with traditional scholarly fields. The Faculty provides a virtually unparalleled opportunity to study Islam within a living Muslim society with professionals who are well-versed in both traditional and modern academic methods. The Faculty aims at bringing together the rich intellectual resources of Marmara University’s faculty members and students with an international network of scholars to explore issues of religion in today’s complex, globalizing, and changing world.
The Faculty enhances intercultural and interreligious understanding and fosters civilizational cooperation across religious communities and nations. It develops an environment, which instils commitment to life-long learning and a deep sense of social responsibility. It works towards building a deeper and broader understanding of the histories and contemporary patterns of the world’s religious communities by exploring the possibilities for incorporating their insights in the context of modern religious studies. In light of the increasing prominence of religion in conflicts globally, the Faculty’s mission of promoting a broad, sympathetic understanding of the world’s religions in cooperation with individuals and institutions in Turkey and internationally has assumed a special and compelling urgency.
The Faculty is a pioneering national and international institute in the field. Many other theology faculties in Turkey are full of professors who completed their undergraduate and graduate education in the Faculty. Currently, the Faculty provides post-graduate education to many young academics who will be teaching at various Turkish higher education institutes in the future. Likewise, the Faculty supports the academic establishment of some international theology faculties through sending its members of teaching to set the academic structures and to foster intellectual cooperation therein. In this context, the Faculty members teach periodically in the Faculty of Theology in Osh University (Kyrgyzstan) and in the Faculty of Theology in Near East University (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus).
The Faculty encourages students to develop free expressions, to respect ideas, to rejoice in discovery and in critical thought, to pursue excellence in a spirit of productive cooperation, and to assume responsibility for the consequences of personal actions. The Faculty of Theology is a scholarly institution that exemplifies an international community of dedicated intellectuals, scholars, and professionals.