Spiritual Dimensions of Society in Modern World from Gregory Skovoroda to Said Nursi
October 12, 2016
WORKSHOP ON 11-12 NOVEMBER 2016
Today when dealing with the spiritual crisis of humanity, we have to find a lot of answers for urgent questions of a philosophical nature. Most likely it is about trying to set up a way to function within thinking and explanations certain fundamental things directly connected with the deep historical layers of certain mentality, certain lifestyle.
Workshop on the subject of spiritual dimensions is a great opportunity to discuss and draw attentions how the views of individual historical figures reflect the views of modern society. We will explore some significant thoughts and ideas then might come to interesting conclusions. This scientific occasion will be the one that focuses and spins around factors which show some examples of representing valuable background by outstanding personalities.
Historical digging of religious and philosophical basics of Ukrainians and Turks can help to illuminate the spiritual dimension of chronic weaknesses and advantages, to show why coming back to the conceptual roots is so important. And maybe even inspire a modicum of understanding about why it’s become a question in the first place and how to recognize it by means of definite religious and philosophical thoughts as tools.
The National University of Ostroh Academy of Ukraine and the Istanbul Foundation for Science and Culture of Turkey are organizing a joint two-day workshop on the topic of «Spiritual Dimensions of Society in Modern World from Gregory Skovoroda to Said Nursi» on 11-12 November 2016 at Ostroh Academy. This workshop is a way to find out twenty-first-century situation in the light of mental conceptual heritage from Gregory Skovoroda to Said Nursi who both quite well reflects bases of different modern outlooks and traditional social perception.
Said Nursi (1876-1960) was Muslim theologian and scholar who dedicated his life to the service of both humanity and faith. Nursi was well-known for his excellent ability to acquire religious knowledge and excel in debates. He was an advocate of improving the state of education amongst the people of the Ottomans and cooperating religion with the natural sciences. Unfortunately, the rise of aggressive secularism in Turkey resulted in his persecution. He suffered years of exile, house arrest and imprisonment. It was during these years that Nursi sought to defend the faith by producing his Collections of the Risale-i Nur (Treatises Of Light). These treatises addressed the issues of primarily faith and reason, especially, the Resurrection, Life After Death, Divine Unity, Prophethood, Justice, Sincerity and Brotherhood, the Beautiful Names of God, the Human Ego and several others all connected to the Qur’an and its message to mankind. His aim was to clarify and address the doubts about Islam that were planted into peoples’ minds as a result of secularist philosophy and modernity. His Risale-i Nur focused on approaching religion with a clear mind and a view of constantly affirming and re-affirming faith (i.e. belief through investigation as opposed to blind imitation). First and foremost, his concept of «manevi jihad» (positive action), serving God in the cause of belief solely for God’s sake. Also he focused on sincerity, solidarity in brotherhood and enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s life and works, and his Risale-i Nur collection in particular, constitute an important means of providing answers to the modern problems of humanity.
Gregory Skovoroda (1722-1794) is regarded as a Ukrainian philosopher as well as a Russian philosopher, since his work influenced both cultures and fields of study. He was also a poet, teacher and composer. Skovoroda, of Ukrainian Cossack background, lived and worked in Sloboda Ukraine, a region of then newly formed Russian Empire, which is today divided between Ukraine and Russia. His significant influence on his contemporaries and succeeding generations and his way of life were universally regarded as Socratic and he was often called a «Socrates.» Skovoroda received his education at the Kiev Mogila Academy in Kiev. Haunted by worldly and spiritual powers, the philosopher led a life of an itinerant thinker-beggar. In his tracts and dialogs, biblical problems overlap with those examined earlier by Plato and the Stoics. Skovoroda’s first book was issued after his death in 1798 in Saint Petersburg. Skovoroda’s complete works were published for the first time in Saint Petersburg in 1861. Before this edition many of his works existed only in manuscript form.
It can be hoped that this international workshop will have a positive influence on the relations between Ukrainian and Turkish academics as well as people to people interaction between the two countries will improve. Academics, students, specialists, scholars, and writers of all disciplines are invited to participate at this workshop. The programme of the workshop will be announced later.
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