Disiplinlerarası Çalışmalar Dergisi Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies



Buddha's Attitude toward Other Religions

Buddha is the founder of a religion that was named, after him, as Buddhism and, today, has many billion adherents. We live in an age which makes it impossible to remain isolated and alone, i.e. without taking into account other human beings belonging to different religions and cultures. This very fact renders knowing the Buddhist attitude toward ‘the other' important. One of the effective ways of discovering the attitude of a given religion toward the other is to explore the mind-set and the attitude of the so-called founder of that religion to other religions. This paper explores Buddha's stance towards other religious traditions.

Jews of India

Jews are one of those rare communities spreading almost every corner of the world owing to various social and political reasons. The oldest source we have about their relations with India is the Old Testament. The intensity of their existence in India has varied depending on the social and political circumstances, as well as a number of exiles they encountered throughout history. The situation acquired new dimensions with the coming of the colonialist countries –the Portuguese in 1500-1663; the Dutch in 1663-1795; and the British in 1795-1948. Although the history of Jews in India goes as far back as the ancient times, the earliest explicit references about their existence in India are found in Muslim sources. Especially works on geography and itineraries belonging to the period between the 9th and the 14th centuries are the main sources conveying information about religious structures in India and about Jews living there. On the other hand, after the so-called geographical discoveries, similar references are made by the Western sources from the 15th century on. From then onwards, increasing relations between the European and the Indian Jews constitutes a turning point for the Jews living in the subcontinent. With the establishment of Israel, these relations reached a peak. Yet, although Muslim historians and travelers since the 10th century identified them as Jew, recognition of these communities by the Israeli authorities has not been an easy matter. Some of the biggest and the most authentic Jewish communities among the Indian Jews, like Bene Yisrael, received recognition from the Israeli religious authorities only in 1980s.

A General Look at the Indian Philosophy

The term ?Indian philosophy? is used not only to denote the Hindu religious thought but also to refer to all intellectual schools that appeared in the Indian subcontinent from the 10th century BCE to the present. It, thus, includes purely philosophical schools of thought like Carvaka and Nyaya as well as religious ones like Buddhism and Jainism. Thus understood, Indian thought encompasses some 3000-years period and shows a rich diversity of thought from materialism to monism, from polytheism to theism. This translation from S. Radhakrishnan, who is considered the most important representative of Indian philosophy in the 20th century, and C.A. Moore, who is a renown indologist, aims to contribute to a proper understanding of Indian philosophy.

S. RADHAKRISHNAN, Charles A. Moore
Indian Way of Thinking

Intellectual works produced in a civilization, and academic, political, economic and social institutions evolved bound with these works bear characteristics of the way of thinking particular to that civilization. In a civilization, even though various contradicting paradigms are adopted and intense disputes take place among various schools of thought, a similar way of thinking lies at the bottom. Ideas change with time; different trends of thought arise, but the way of thinking constitutes their common base and element of continuity. For instance, even though Newtonian and Einsteinian physics represent different paradigms, they are products of a similar way of thinking, considering that they adopt nature-mind dichotomy and explain the nature based on mathematical natural laws. Besides, even if thoughts on being may differ, the way of thinking may be similar. According to Vedanta, only one being has real existence, but for Sankhya many beings have real existence. However, they explain the phenomenal world through inactive absolute being. Although Hegel and Marx adopt opposing ontologies, they have self-centered epistemology, progressive and linear perception of time. In this study, Indian way of thinking was considered with its ontological, epistemological and axiological aspects within the framework of the perception of relation between the absolute and the world, the absolute and the man, the man and the world, and compared to other civilizations, Islamic, Western, and Zoroastrian.

Fazıl Önder SÖNMEZ
Western Thought and Indian Thought: Some Comparative Steps

This article takes up the general question of the differential relation between “Western Thought and Indian Thought.” Shunning the temptation of “essentialist” simplifications, the article takes exception to popular construals of the difference in terms of the oppositions of reason versus intuition, materialism versus spiritualism, argumentation versus scriptural authority. Following a suggestive proposal advanced by the Indian poet and linguist A.K. Ramanujan, discussion in the article focuses on a distinction between different types of worldviews and modes of communication: namely, the distinction between “context-bound” or holistic and “context-free” or linear-horizontal forms of thinking and discourse. In Ramanujan's formulation, Indian culture, art, and literature are basically contextual or embedded in concrete life worlds, whereas Western thought and discourse lean toward decontextualization and thus a spectatorial “view from nowhere.” While on the whole endorsing Ramanujan's suggestion, the article also voices some critical reservations (especially concerning points where Ramanujan seems to succumb unwittingly to Western metaphysics).

A Turkish Bibliography Indian History and Thought

Bibliographical surveys are very important sources for the study of a given field, as they show what has already been done, what was said before and how the subject was treated by others. The present bibliographical survey attempts to provide a comprehensive, if not exhaustive, inventory of original and translated materials in Turkish on Indian history, religion and culture. In addition to the survey, an attempt will be made to place the views and constructions of the Turkish intellectuals about Indian religions and thought in a general framework.

The Beginning of the Demise of the Byzantine Empire

Eight centuries ago, Istanbul was the scene for one of the most important events in its history. The Crusades, which had originally begun in the name of taking the holy sites of Christianity from Muslim hands, then turned, in its fourth round, towards Constantinople, the capital of another Christian country. The crusaders invaded the city, and established a Latin empire. However, the life of this empire was not that long and ended in 1261, making the Byzantine once again the holder of its old capital. This paper presents a brief story of this event, and a brief exposition of its underlying causes.

Semavi EYİCE
Thomas Aquinas on Faith, Theology and Reason

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was one of the greatest thinkers of Medieval Christian thought. His main concern was to harmonise Greek and Muslim philosophy with the Christian faith. In this context, Aquinas tried to find answers to a number of questions. This article examines some of these questions within three headings. First, in addition to philosophical knowledge, whether there is a need to any sacred teaching. Second, what is the nature of this sacred doctrine which is called theology. Finally, whether theology can use philosophical arguments in establishing its main principles. This article concludes that, as a Christian thinker Thomas Aquinas stresses the importance of philosophical knowledge, but thinks that for different reasons philosophical way of reaching the truths is not accessible to the majority. For this reason there is a need to a sacred teaching. The science of this sacred teaching is called theology. For Aquinas, this is different from theology or metaphysics of the philosophers. It is the science that deals first with God and then with all other beings from the viewpoint of their relation with God. For Aquinas, since the source of both truths is God, there cannot be a contradiction between the truths that are reached through reason and the truths that are given through revelation. For this reason, philosophical arguments can be used, either for establishing the theological truths, or for clarifying the nature of faith through analogy or for rejecting the arguments that are contrary to the faith.


Book Reviews

Kalila wa Dimna: The Story of a Translation

Kalila wa Dimna is one of the most famous and world-wide read ancient works containing important insights and themes regarding ethics and politics. It is mainly a collection of critical advices to rulers presented in a witty manner. Through a number of fables, the book sets out how a good ruler should behave its people. The original name of the book in Sanskrit is Karataka Damanaka. When translated into Persian, its name has changed into Kalila wa Dimna. Then the book has been translated all over the world under this latter name. This study focuses on the translation of Kalila wa Dimna into Persian, Syriac, Arabic, and Turkish languages, and identifies it as an intercivilizational classic.

Is This the Best of All Possible Worlds? Notes on the Sources of the Dispute on “Laysa Fi'l-Imkân”

Ghazzâli's idea that a better, or more perfect, world than the actual one is an impossibility, which he mentions first in his Ihyau Ulûmi'd-Dîn and later on in his al-Imlâ fî Ishkâlâti'l-Ihyâ, finding its ultimate formulation in the expression laysa fi'l-imkân abda'u mimmâ kân, has generated one of the most enduring debates in the history of Islamic thought, beginning in Ghazzâli's own life time and continuing till the 19th century. Today, the most important figure analyzing the debate around the above-mentioned formulation in its entirety and paying due attention to all dimensions of the controversy is Eric Lee Ormsby. In his Theodicy in Islamic Thought: Dispute over Al-Ghazâli's “Best of All Possible Worlds”, Ormsby identifies 26 authors partaking in the debate, and 17 separate works devoted to this dispute. However, on scrutiny, one can detect that in Turkish libraries, and especially in the Suleymaniye Library in Istanbul, there are seven more treatises specifically devoted to the same dispute. Neither the past scholars who have written the history of the dispute, nor Ormsby, has had the information about these works. This study first presents a general exposition of the debate around laysa fi'l-imkân, and then introduces above-mentioned treatises existing in the Suleymaniye Library.

M. Cüneyt KAYA