Three Eras One Faculty

A History of the First Faculty of Theology in Turkey (1900-1933)
DOI :10.26650/B/AA07.2022.008   
AuthorMetin ÜnverHüseyin Sarıkaya

The name Dârülfünûn was given to the university with a system similar to that of European models that was to be founded in the Ottoman Empire. This idea was introduced for the first time at the beginning of the Tanzimat, a period that can be considered the impetus for Ottoman modernization. In 1846, Board of General Education (Meclis-i Maarif-i Umûmiye) made the decision to set up a university, with Gaspare Trajano Fossati, a prominent architect of the time, being asked to design a massive building akin to European universities. The 1846 decision could not be implemented until 1863, and the first attempt at Dârülfünûn ended after two and a half years of free courses (serbest dersler). Afterward, the university building was allotted to the Ministry of Finance. The second attempt took place between 1869 and 1872 in the building that is now known as the Press Museum in Istanbul’s Çemberlitaş District, which had been built especially for Dârülfünûn. This second attempt also did not last long. However, the implementation of the General Education Regulations (Maarif-i Umûmiye Nizâmnâmesi) for the first time and the structuring of primary and secondary education in the following years in accordance with the aims of this regulation are included among the successful features of the second attempt. In fact, the fruits of this second attempt would be realized during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II (r. 1876-1909). In 1874- 1875, the third attempt occurred to found a university, this time under the name Dârülfünûn-ı Sultanî. For the first time, students at this new university, which included the Faculties of Law, Engineering, and Literature, were entitled to write a PhD dissertation in their field. Political instability generated by the period’s economic and social realities, as well as international pressure on the state, prevented this third attempt from producing the desired results. Nonetheless, while the expected outcome was yet to be realized, this third attempt paved the way for the establishment of independent educational institutions (i.e., modern schools). In 1900 and coinciding with the 25th anniversary of Sultan Abdülhamid II’s accession to the throne, the idea of establishing a university again came to the agenda, and the first university of the Ottoman Empire, Dârülfünûn-ı Şâhâne, finally began its uninterrupted education and training with five faculties: the Faculties of Literature, Science, and Ulûm-ı Âliye-i Dîniyye [Theology] and the previously established Faculties of Medicine and Law.



Type100th Anniversary
PublisherIstanbul University Press
Publish Date14.10.2022
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