An Example of Polemic/Apologetic Literature in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire


BILIG, no.82, pp.153-173, 2017 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 82
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Journal Name: BILIG
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.153-173
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


The dawn of Islam altered rapidly the balance among monotheistic religions. Their antagonism generated new genres of literature focusing on theological exegesis and polemic argumentation. Following this long tradition, similar texts appeared in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire. Although the aim is to produce argumentation against the thesis of the other side, these texts seldom appear to be in dialogue. However, the Debate held in 1662 between the illustrious leader of the Kadizadeli Vani Mehmed Efendi and the Grand Dragoman Panagiotis Nikousios on Christianity and Islam, is a very rare instance of a face-to-face dialogue. Albeit the banality of their theological points, both sides are very well informed on theology, languages, astronomy and other sciences. The Debate readdresses stereotypes on the Kadizadeli leaders' intellectual depth and depicts the common quests of ottoman Muslims and Christians. Finally, it reconstructs the ottoman intellectual milieu and the production and dissemination of knowledge.