İkinci maç Frederick Beiser’in Hegel felsefi biyografisiyle Jerry Brotton’un The Sultan and the
Queen kitabı arasında.
Hegel nispeten sakin ve akıcı bir üslupla felsefecinin dönemlerini ve felsefesinin değişik
vechelerini anlatıyor. Biyografik malzeme de mevcut ve kitabın girişinde Hegel neden hala okunmalı?
yazısı bu soruyu sadece benim sormadığımı göstermesi açısından güzel olmuş.
İkinci kitap 1. Elizabeth devrinin İslam ülkeleri politikasını, Osmanlı, Fas ve İran’la ilişkilerini
anlatıyor. Güzel bir tarih kitabı, o devirde Avrupa ve İngiltere toplumunda İslam ve müslümanların nasıl
algılandığı ile ilgili hayli anekdot mevcut.
İkinci kitabı çok sevsem de Protestan reformu sırasında neden İslam neden oralara yayılmadı?
sorusunun cevabını alacak kadar okuduğumu sanıyorum. Biz onlar için korkunç bir hayaletmişiz İncil’i bırakıp,
Kur’an-ı Kerim’i okumaları imkansız denecek kadar zormuş. O zamanlar da bu işler şimdiki gibi
Hegel’le ilgili bilmek istediğim daha çok konu olduğuna kanaat ettiğim için ilk kitap bir sonraki
Why read Hegel? It is a good question, one no Hegel scholar should shirk. After all, the burden of proof lies heavily on his or her shoulders. For Hegel’s texts are not exactly exciting or enticing. Notoriously, they are written in some of the worst prose in the history of philosophy. Their language is dense, obscure and impenetrable. Reading Hegel is often a trying and exhausting experience, the intellectual equivalent of chewing gravel. ‘And for what?’ a prospective student might well ask. To avoid such an ordeal, he or she will be tempted to invoke the maxim of one of Hegel’s old enemies whenever he lost patience with a tiresome book: ‘Life is short!’ 1
Hegel has now been adopted by some prominent philosophers in the analytic trad- ition, who study him not for historical but philosophical reasons. 3 They recognize they share some of the same problems as Hegel, and that he has something interesting to say about them. How is it possible to avoid the extremes of conventionalism and foundation- alism in epistemology? How is it possible to combine realism with a social epistemology? How is it possible to synthesize the freedoms of liberalism with the ideals of community? How is it possible to adopt the insights of historicism and not lapse into relativism? How is it possible to avoid dualism and materialism in the philosophy of mind? All these questions are very much on the contemporary agenda; but they were crucial issues for Hegel too. It is no accident that many philosophers now see Hegel as the chief antidote and alternative to many outworn and problematic posi- tions, such as Cartesian subjectivism, naive realism, extreme liberal- ism and mental-physical dualism, or reductivist materialism. So here is another reason for reading Hegel: he still remains, despite his damnable obscurity, an interesting interlocuter to contemporary philosophical discussions.
In his 1786 Letters on the Doctrine of Spinoza Jacobi argued that reason – if it is only thorough, honest and consistent – does not support but undermines morality and religion. It is fair to say that Jacobi’s sensational attack on reason had a more powerful impact on his age than Kant’s sober criticisms in the first Critique. The core of Jacobi’s attack on reason rests on his identification of rationalism with a complete scientific naturalism, and more specif- ically with the mechanistic paradigm of explanation. Jacobi saw Spinoza as the paragon of this new scientific naturalism, because Spinoza had banished final causes and held that everything in nature happens according to mechanical laws. The fundamental principle of Spinoza’s philosophy, Jacobi argued, is nothing less than the principle of sufficient reason. Spinoza is to be praised because he, unlike Leibniz and Wolff, had the courage to take this principle to its ultimate conclusion: a complete scientific natural- ism. This principle means that there must be a sufficient reason for any event, such that given that reason, the event must occur and cannot be otherwise. If this principle holds without exception, Jacobi reasoned, then there cannot be (1) a first cause of the uni- verse, a God who freely creates it, and (2) freedom, the power of doing otherwise. For Jacobi, the first result means that Spinozism leads to atheism, the second implies that it ends in fatalism.
Hegel’s metaphysics is often summarized and labelled with the phrase ‘absolute idealism’. It is striking, however, that Hegel himself rarely uses it. This is only in keeping with his general dislike of abstract slogans and phrases. Understandably, Hegel feared having his philosophy reduced down to a single phrase.
For all Hegel’s thinking essentially proceeds from an organic vision of the world, a view of the universe as a single vast living organism. Hegel saw the absolute as the ‘one and all’, the Hen Pai Kan, of the pantheistic tradition. But, like Herder, Schiller, Schell- ing and Hölderlin, he understood this structure in dynamic, indeed organic, terms. The absolute develops in the same manner as all living things: it begins from inchoate unity; it differentiates itself into separate functions; and it returns into itself by re-integrating these functions into a single whole
Soon after Hegel’s death in 1831, a fierce dispute arose about the religious dimension of his thought. 1 Left-wing Hegelians saw Hegel as a covert atheist or humanist, or at best a pantheist having only nominal affinities with official Christianity. Right-wing Hegelians embraced Hegel as a defender of the Christian faith, and indeed as an apologist for the Prussian Church. In their view, Hegel did for modern Protestantism what Aquinas had once done for medieval Catholicism: he too gave a rational foundation for the faith. 2
The Sultan and the Queen
Despite the extensive nature of such exchanges, Elizabeth and her subjects would not have recognized the term “Muslim,” which was first used in English in 1615, defined as “one that is instructed in the belief of the Mohammetanes.”8 The first mention in English of “Islam” appears in 1625, when the travel writer Samuel Purchas quoted a Javanese prince as saying that the “religion of Islam doth not agree with the Christian Religion.”9 Various terms were used by the Elizabethans instead: “Mahometans,” “Ottomites,” “Saracens,” “Persians,” “Moors,” “Pagans” and “Turks”—a catchall term for anyone who would be recognized today as a Muslim. These terms conjured a range of beliefs and assumptions, from horror and disgust to wonder and curiosity. Few people attempted to understand Islam on its own theological terms at the time. Instead, throughout the Tudor period a powerful set of misrepresentations, misconceptions and misunderstandings developed that defined relations between the two faiths. The amicable relationship that prospered under Elizabeth arose not from a principle of tolerance but as a result of political expediency.
Even the rise of the Ottomans—thought to be descendants of the Trojans or Scythians—and their conquest of Constantinople in 1453 were regarded as divine punishment for Christianity’s inability to unify its eastern Orthodox and western Latin churches.15 What Christians saw when they looked at Islam was not a rival religion but a distorted image of themselves.
Jenkinson concluded his awed account by observing that Süleyman’s army, “intending to march into Persia, to give battle to the Great Sophie,” Shah Ismail I, would winter in Aleppo.
The title “Sophy” came from the Safavids’ founder, Safi ad-din Ardabili, and his self-proclaimed designation çafī-ud-dīn or guardian of “purity of religion.” But it was also combined in the Christian Renaissance imagination with the Greek word sophia, wisdom, which led many scholars to regard the Persian rulers mistakenly as venerable magi.
When Abdullah-Khan asked “whether we of England had friendship with the Turks or not,” Jenkinson’s response was consummate. “I answered that we never had friendship with them, and that therefore they would not suffer us to pass through their country into the Sophy his dominions, and that there is a nation named Venetians, not far distant from us, which are in great league with the said Turks.” Those awful Venetians had made a friend of the shah’s sworn enemies, the Ottomans, and were responsible for blocking the honest English from reaching their obvious allies, the Safavids. When combined with Jenkinson’s charm and plausibility, there was just enough truth in such claims given that the Venetians had a history of allying themselves strategically with the Ottomans, from just after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the renewal of trading privileges following the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517. Abdullah-Khan was persuaded that the Englishman not only was to be trusted but could even be an asset to his cousin. When he pressed Jenkinson further, “touching religion, and also the state of our countries” and “whether the emperor of Almaine [Germany] or the great Turk were of most power,” Jenkinson nimbly “answered as I thought most meet,” probably evading the (rather tricky) questions and turning discussion toward the prospect of meeting the Sophy “to entreat friendship and free passage.”
What followed next has became one of the most terrible and reviled acts in Ottoman imperial history:
That night his nineteen new brothers were conducted to the king Sultan Mehmed, they were the male children then living of his father, by several wives; they were brought to kiss his hand, so that he should see them alive; the eldest of them was eleven. Their king brother told them not to fear, as he did not wish to do them any harm; but only to have them circumcised, according to custom. And this was a thing that none of his ancestors had ever done, and directly they had kissed his hand they were circumcised, taken aside and dexterously strangled with handkerchiefs.2
The Venetian ambassador added to the horror with a story of even greater pathos. “They say,” he wrote, “that the eldest, a most beautiful lad and of excellent parts, beloved by all, when he kissed the sultan’s hand exclaimed, ‘My lord and brother, now to me as my father, let not my days be ended thus in this my tender age.’ The sultan tore his beard with every sign of grief, but answered never a word. They were all strangled.” Salomon acknowledged that such a brutal act of political succession “certainly seems a terrible and cruel thing, but it is the custom”; he also conceded that the sight of all nineteen coffins—some no bigger than a doll’s—when placed next to their father’s, brought forth “the tears of all the people.”3