The Ilahiyat Faculty: The Quest for Pedagogy


The International Congress on Higher Religious Education, İstanbul, Turkey, 17 - 19 November 2017, pp.159-173

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.159-173


This paper will begin by briefly examining the historical development and the structure of the Ilahiyat Faculty in the Turkish Republic. The aim of the paper is to offer an analysis of the current situation of the pedagogy (i.e. the structure, method and practice of offering educational theoretical concepts) of the Ilahiyat faculties at the undergraduate level in Turkish Higher Education Institutions. Therefore, the paper will attempt to explore the Ilahiyat disciplines offered and the relations of these disciplines to an overall pedagogy. This will lead to an attempt to find some underpinning relations between the subjects of Islamic Studies (Basic or Fundamental Islamic Sciences), Religious Studies, and the Social Sciences. Even though the study of Religion in Higher Education Institutions in Turkey today is carried out in Theology Faculties, they largely lay emphasis on the study of Islam. Since 1992 the main departments of Ilahiyat faculties across the country have been standardised into three main departments: Basic Islamic Sciences, Philosophy and Religious Studies, and Islamic History and Arts. The Bachelor of Art degree for the undergraduate students is standardised throughout the whole country as a four-year course, and all students are obliged to take modules from each department. This paper will critically evaluate the role of the Faculty of Ilahiyat in developing the academic and the practical studies of Islam and the social sciences of religion at the undergraduate level. At times the paper will compare this structure with the pedagogy of Islamic studies and Religious studies within the Western academic arena. For example, it could be argued that the department of Philosophy and Religious Studies in Turkey are very similar to a Religious Studies departments in the United Kingdom, where modules such as philosophy of religion, psychology of religion, sociology of religion, epistemology of religion, and history of philosophy are taught. Furthermore, the department of Basic Islamic Sciences is very similar to the Islamic Studies department in the United Kingdom. However, there are also distinct differences with regards to the subjects taught and the overall aim of the curriculum. Thus, this paper represents a contemporary attempt of mapping the study of Islam and the related study of religion subjects at the Ilahiyat Faculties in Turkey.